Date: 22nd February 2020
Time: 15.00 GMT, 10.00 ET, 08.00 PST.
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
Streaming: iFollow, LUTV (outside the UK).
Leeds United welcome Reading FC to Elland Road on Saturday. The pressure will be upped before the match as both Fulham (Friday night) and Brentford (Saturday lunchtime) play before Leeds. If their results are good, pressure on Leeds - if their results are poor, pressure on Leeds.
"It will be the same squad" Marcelo provides an update on his team for Saturday's clash, Reading and the influences of both Mateusz and Pablo— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 20, 2020
Since Leeds’ poor run of form we have seen two much improved performances; for the draw at Brentford FC, and the home win over Bristol City. Reading sit in 15th following a 3-0 win at Hillsbrough against Sheffield Wednesday - although that win followed a run of 7 league games without a win.
As usual with Leeds, there isn’t much to say regarding Marcelo Bielsa’s team selection. Leeds played well so unless someone gets injured it will be the same team against Reading. As of right now, there is no news coming from Kiko Casilla’s hearing regarding the allegation of racism levelled at him so we have to assume he will be available for now. If that changes, France youth international Illan Meslier will come in and that will ok/an improvement depending on your current view of Kiko Casilla.
Reading played a 4-2-3-1 in their win at Hillsbrough, but over the previous few games they have also played 4-4-2, 3-5-2, and 4-5-1. That they lined up with a deeper midfield against West Bromwich Albion suggests they could do the same against Leeds as they won’t expect to have much of the ball. However, coming off a win, I do expect them to stick with a 4-2-3-1.
"The intensity that the play at, and the questions that they ask you - it's never ending."— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) February 20, 2020
The boss previews a visit to @LUFC this weekend...
Watch in full on YouTube https://t.co/x6i7Xtybsj pic.twitter.com/ygv7cZ2YhN
Reading do have options in attack. Romania international George Puscas signed in the summer for €8m from Inter Milan and has had some impressive moments despite lacking consistency - a look on Twitter suggests Reading fans don’t fancy him as a lone striker. They also have Yakou Meite, Lukas Joao, and Sam Baldock. 19-year-old Danny Loader is very highly rated too but he hasn’t been used much.
Slightly concerned at Bowen's lack of plan B, it's been 4 league games where it hasn't worked. It's clear that Baldock and Puscas can't play up front by themselves, they were both poor tonight. Only decent players on the pitch tonight were probably Olise and Morrison. #readingfc— Harrison Mitchell (@harrison1871rfc) January 28, 2020
They have a couple of good players in central midfield, John Swift is a consistent option in the middle of the pitch who’s passing is very impressive. He has five goals and nine assists from central midfield and has been a bright spot for Reading this season.
They also have midfielder Ovie Ejaria on loan from Liverpool, and that deal will become permanent in the summer. Ejaria is very skillful and was by far the most impressive Reading player when Leeds won 1-0 at the Madejski earlier this season. He could occupy the “number 10” role or play out wide if Reading play a 4-2-3-1.
18-year-old Michael Olise started at number 10 against Wednesday so could keep his place - I have never seen him play so I can’t really comment.
Andy Rinomhota has shown some potential in central midfield. The excellently named Pele, on loan from AS Monaco is also a decent option. Leeds struggle to defend set-pieces so they could try and use Charlie Adam to make the most of that.
Robert Huth on Charlie Adam:— RFC Latest (@RFCLatest) February 13, 2020
"He certainly didn't live a professional life. He's a quality player, quality lad and great to have around. But when you look at him, you clearly go `could you be another stone lighter?’”.#readingfc pic.twitter.com/jNoiO4wmYY
Defensively, one time Leeds (more accurately Paul Heckingbottom) target Andy Yiadom is ok at right-back. Omar Richards will probably play left-back, but Tyler Blackett could also be there as a more defensive option. Blackett could also play centre-back but Michael Morrison and Liam Moore are the likely partnership. Liam Moore I think should have ended up at a higher level than he is based on how good he looked earlier in his career.
Leeds (4-1-4-1): Casilla; Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips; Costa, Hernandez, Klich, Harrison; Bamford
Reading (4-2-3-1): Cabral: Yiadom, Morrison, Moore, Richards; Swift, Rinomhota; Meite, Olise, Ejaria; Puscas
Leeds are the better side here and should win. However, Reading are very inconsistent and with that has come some very impressive performances. Their confidence should also be up following a good win last weekend. Despite that, I am still going for 2-0 to Leeds.
What do you think the result will be? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @ThruItAllLUFC.
**I am still going to keep plugging it. Paul Wilson is playing live in the Fanzone before kick-off. If you can go, please go.**