Date: 9th 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.
Leeds United will play last of the promotion chasing teams with a Thursday 17.00 kick-off at home to Stoke City. It is something Leeds need to get used to as they will continue to be the last to play going forward due to the TV scheduling. In truth, it should not matter when the games are played - provided the performances are up to scratch.
After you, Brentford. And again...and again... https://t.co/6draJDeOUn— Graham Smyth (@GrahamSmyth) July 7, 2020
Leeds were far from perfect last time out, but were the better side and came away with a 3-1 victory at Ewood Park against Blackburn Rovers. Stoke had been poor since the restart, with only one point from three games, but run was ended with an emphatic 4-0 win over Barnsley FC.
The points could change based on matches that haven’t happened at the time of writing, but Stoke are only just above the relegation zone. As they are trying to stay ahead of those in the drop zone, a draw is a great result for them - I would not expect them to push forward in the same way that Blackburn did.
Stoke have been much better since former Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill replaced Gary Rowett, and their xG data shows they could easily be much higher up in the table than they currently are, it has not helped them that former England (and ex-Leeds) goalkeeper Jack Butland has had a really poor season. You would expect Stoke to be doing much better given what their squad looks like on paper.
I expect Stoke to line up in a 4-2-3-1 as the two holding midfielders make it easier for them defensively. If they can being Leeds on to them they can them look to exploit the spaces that Leeds leave in transition if they win the ball from us. Leeds may well need to be patient in this game, and not get frustrated if they find it hard to create early openings.
Leeds were not done any favours with both Brentford and West Bromwich Albion winning their midweek matches, as with every game now - it’s a must-win. In the press conference Marcelo Bielsa said that he expects Stuart Dallas and Helder Costa to play - whether they start I am less sure. My gut says Costa starts and Dallas won’t be 100%, but I have no evidence to back that up, so we could see Jack Harrison revert to the left side.
Leeds (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Ayling, White, Cooper, Douglas; Phillips; Costa, Klich, Roberts, Harrison; Bamford.
Stoke (4-2-3-1): Butland; Smith, Batth, Chester, Martins Indi; Cousins, Clucas; Campbell, Powell, McClean; Vokes.
Worked last time - Leeds seem to do better when I am pessimistic, so screw it - 1-0 to Stoke.
What do you think the result will be? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @ThruItAllLUFC.