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Match Preview: Sheffield United v Leeds United. A Yorkshire Derby in the Premier League.

There have been a couple, but Middlesbrough and Hull barely count, so it’s nice to see a proper Yorkshire Derby in the top-flight.

Sheffield United v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Match: Sheffield United v Leeds United

Date: 27th September 2020

Time: 12.00 GMT, 07.00 ET, 05.00 PST.

Venue: Bramall Lane, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England

Streaming/TV coverage: BT Sport, LUTV.


This match sits somewhere between the first two in terms of stress levels for me. Liverpool away is one you expect to lose, Fulham at home is one you really should win. Sheffield United away is the sort of match you hope to win, but know it will be difficult.

Last time Leeds United played at Bramall Lane they returned with an excellent 1-0 win through a Pablo Hernandez winning goal, but we lost 1-0 in the return match at Elland Road in a game that really swung the promotion race towards the Blades. One of the interesting things about both games is that you could argue the poorer side won on each occasion.

Sheffield United play a 3-5-2 with the left/right centre-backs pushing forward to help with build up play and often overlapping into attacking areas. they will be missing John Egan through suspension who is a key part of this back three, I expect Chelsea loanee Ethan Ampadu to come in to the side.

Manager Chris Wilder is unlikely to change this system and it poses a lot of problems for Marcelo Bielsa’s man marking system. It will result in a lot of work for striker Patrick Bamford who will have to chase down the central centre-back and the deepest midfielder with the wingers marking the left and right centre-backs, chasing them back as they push forward.

This problem of Leeds’ striker having to play in a deeper role could see an interesting team selection. When Leeds won at Bramall Lane, Pablo Hernandez was employed as a false nine to make the man marking system easier. I do not expect Bielsa to drop Bamford, and I wouldn’t either, but there is an argument for starting Rodrigo as he likes to drop off the front anyway and could suit the role better in this fixture.

As Sheffield United play two up front, Leeds will start in a 3-3-1-3 system. With the signing of Diego Llorente Leeds have a third senior centre-back, but I only expect him to be on the bench if he is involved at all. The way Leeds set up will be interesting in this regard as there are several ways they could go. Last season Liam Cooper moved left, with Ben White central and Luke Ayling playing right-centre-back. Meaning Stuart Dallas and Barry Douglas/Ezgjan Alioski played the wing-back roles. Of these players we have lost White, but gained Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk (he was here, but not yet established), plus the aforementioned Llorente.

This means Ayling could play RWB, with Dallas LWB and Leeds could plug Struijk into a back three. If Ayling plays RCB, Dallas can play RWB leaving an opening on the left which I would expect to be taken by Alioski - Barry Douglas appears to be very out of favour. Whoever comes in to form the back three, I expect the extra man to replace Rodrigo in the starting lineup.


PREDICTED LINE-UPS

Sheffield United (3-5-2): Ramsdale; Basham, Ampadu, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Berge, Fleck, Stevens; McBurnie, McGoldrick

Leeds (3-3-1-3): Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Cooper; Dallas, Phillips, Alioski; Klich; Costa, Bamford, Harrison

If Leeds employ this line-up it allows Leeds to change to a 4-1-4-1 if required with Alioski as a central midfielder, he came on and did fine in that role against Fulham.

Tough game but a winnable one. I think Leeds may struggling to maintain their man-marking system, but I expect us to be able to get a Sheffield United when we get on the ball particularly if Helder Costa/Jack Harrison are able to counter-attack well. Surely it can’t be another seven-goal thriller?

Sheffield United 2 - 2 Leeds United.

What do you think the result will be? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @ThruItAllLUFC.