Date: 16th July 2020
Time: 17.00 GMT, 12.00 ET, 10.00 PST.
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
Streaming/TV coverage: Sky Sports, LUTV.
Four points from three matches. It sounds so easy. But...
Leeds United - There are only 8 games left which matter (3 Leeds, 2 West Brom, 3 Brentford). Each of these have 3 possible outcomes, so there are 6561 permutations (3^8). Leeds finish the season at least 1 point clear of 3rd place in 6446 of them. @AllStatsArentWe @analytic_footy pic.twitter.com/E0qXyg1n69— 8Yards8Feet (@8Yards8Feet) July 15, 2020
Leeds United face bottom of the league Barnsley at Elland Road in their second Thursday 5pm kick-off in as many weeks. A win would put Leeds incredibly close to Premier League football. However, Barnsley are fighting to stay in the division and will not make it easy.
The xG table is, of course, far from the be all and end all of performance. However, expermental361’s table has them in 11th place suggesting they are a better side than the table suggests.
Adding to this is the form of the side since Gerhard Struber took over at Oakwell. While they haven’t pulled up trees like we have seen with Wigan Athletic of late, they are 15th in the table since the Austrian took the job.
Barnsley have played a similar 3-4-1-2 to the one Swansea City have played in most of their matches since the restart, so Leeds could run into some similar issues as we did on Sunday, particularly in the first half. The formation could lend itself to allowing Leeds’ centre-backs to have the ball - before quickly pressing once it goes into midfield or out wide.
Barnsley’s main goal threats are forwards Conor Chaplin and Cauley Woodrow. Woodrow is a good player but has been being used as a number 10 rather than up front, and now hasn’t scored in his last eight matches, although he does have 14 league goals this season.
@Patrick_Bamford has scored three goals in six games since the restart and will be looking to add to his tally against Barnsley tomorrow evening.— Leeds United StatZone (@lufcsz) July 15, 2020
Ahead of the match, we compare the striker's stats to Cauley Woodrow's. #EFL #MOT @TechbuyerGroup pic.twitter.com/GM2aS4fAsz
Leeds did not drop into the 3-3-1-3 against Swansea in the way they usually would against two strikers, but as Ben White is replacing Kalvin Phillips following his injury we will have the option to do so. Even if we stay with a back four (which I think is likely), White has generally played much deeper than Phillips in the DM role anyway so we could end up with close to a back three by default. If Marcelo Bielsa is playing Ben White in midfield, he probably won’t want to overcomplicate his role while he is in an unfamiliar position. Gaetano Berardi will probably take Ben White’s position at centre-back.
Its not the Ben White in Phillips role im worried about its the not having Ben White in the Ben White role im worried about #LUFC— ROSSii (@MrROSSii1990) July 14, 2020
I would expect Barnsley to defend solidly and try to keep it tight, but as a draw isn’t enough for them it could open up late on if it is still 0-0. Leeds need to be careful at the back because going behind will allow Barnsley to put 10 men behind the ball and sit deep.
Selection wise we have covered KP’s absence. The only other question surrounds the availability of one-time Spain international Kiko Casilla following his eight-match ban for racially abusing Jonathan Leko. Bielsa was not drawn on the subject in his press conference which is rare for him - but I would be amazed if Casilla plays. I do not expect to see him involved for Leeds United again. As it has worked so well so far, and it protects his fitness, I expect Pablo Hernandez to start on the bench once again.
Leeds (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Dallas; White; Costa, Klich, Roberts, Harrison; Bamford.
Barnsley (3-4-1-2): Walton; Solbauer, Andersen, Williams; Ludewig, Ritzmaier, Mowatt, Oduor; Woodrow; Brown, Chaplin
Leeds seem to do better when I am more pessimistic, so screw it - 1-0 to Blackburn, from an xG of 0.2, Leeds will have an xG of 2.5. Worked last time - Leeds seem to do better when I am pessimistic, so screw it - 1-0 to Stoke. Can’t change it now - 1-0 to Swansea.
Ain’t broke don’t fix it - 1-0 to the Tykes.
What do you think the result will be? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @ThruItAllLUFC.