Match: Leeds United v Luton Town
Date: 30th June 2020
Time: 19.45 GMT, 14.45 ET, 12.45 PST.
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
Streaming/TV coverage: LUTV
Over the course of the season, this looks like it should be a straightforward win for Leeds United. However, we have seen Leeds United make a meal of games like this repeatedly over the years, even under the guidance of Marcelo Bielsa.
Leeds United now sit top of the league with a three-point cushion over West Bromwich Albion, and more importantly and eight point gap to third place Brentford FC. Whereas Luton Town are in 23rd place, three points from safety, with the additional problem of a terrible -27 goal difference. It is not that simple though.
Luton Town changed managers during the forced break due to the coronavirus pandemic. Graeme Jones was removed as manager, allowing Nathan Jones to return. Jones lead them to promotion from League Two in 2017/18, and left with them 2nd in League One in January of the 2018/19 season to join Stoke City.
I have said previously that football pre-COVID and football now are different in a lot of ways and since football returned Luton have produced good results. A creditable 1-1 draw against Preston North End was followed up with 1-0 win away at Swansea City. Their decent form actually goes back further than that, with the Hatters having two wins and three draws in their last five matches.
While their squad doesn’t have many names that jump out at you, on-loan Chelsea (and former Leeds) attacking midfielder Izzy Brown is capable of being a creative force - although he is very inconsistent. They also have Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu in central midfield who is rated very highly. The centre-back pairing of Sonny Bradley and United States international Cameron Carter-Vickers are also both good players, and Republic of Ireland international striker James Collins was very lively in the reverse fixture at Kenilworth Road.
In the 1-1 draw against Preston, Luton lined up in Nathan Jones’ preferred formation of a 4-4-2 Diamond, with Izzy Brown as the number 10. However against Swansea, they switched to a 4-2-3-1 sacrificing a Striker for more solidity, I would expect them to do this at Elland Road. Against Swansea this formation also meant that Izzy Brown started on the bench, however he came on and got the assist on the winning goal, I expect him to start ahead of Jacob Butterfield.
Hernandez on media duty this afternoon. Says he's not 100% after his hamstring strain but is available to play tomorrow night. Not sure if he's starting yet. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) June 29, 2020
Luton lining up with one striker will mean Leeds stick with their usual 4-1-4-1 system and I would expect Pablo Hernandez to start on the bench again, following the former Spain international admitting he “is not 100%” following his Hamstring strain. We also do not know if one-time Portugal international Helder Costa will be available after he went off injured in the 3-0 win against Fulham. If he isn’t fit, I would expect Ezgjan Alioski to come in and Jack Harrison to move to the right wing, as it was successful in the second half against Fulham.
Leeds (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips; Harrison, Klich, Roberts, Alioski; Bamford
Luton (4-2-3-1): Sluga; Pearson, Carter-Vickers, Bradley, Potts; Rea, Mpanzu; Cornick, Brown, Lee; Collins
The last game was “must not lose” but this one is a “must win”. We are better than Luton Town and should be able to show it. I am really hoping for Leeds to get an early goal, which should open the game up and create a bit more space for Leeds to attack.
Luton won't be easy but when travelling they barely pick up results, massive result yesterday for them but the only similar team to us in the division (Brentford) hammered 7 past them not long ago, resurgence yes but coming up against Leeds, NO excuses.— Conor McGilligan (@ConorJHMcG) June 28, 2020
MUST be a win#LUFC
I am going for a 2-0 for Leeds United - Bamford and Klich with the goals (although if Pablo Hernandez is fit to start, it is not 100% certain that Bamford will start ahead of Wales international Tyler Roberts up front).
What do you think the result will be? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @ThruItAllLUFC.