Leeds United: Jury Predictions: Goals should be imminent for the new year return

Leeds United goalkeeper Rob Green. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
Leeds United goalkeeper Rob Green. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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Thursday’s impressive 1-1 draw with Aston Villa was a little disappointing because the second half display warranted the three points.

It was mind you a great game of football for those witnessing it live or live on TV.

The one thing that was certain, Robert Green had his finest stint in the Leeds goalkeeper’s jersey with at least three superb saves in crucial times of the game.

Pontus Jansson – what more can be said of the Swedish centre back, leader, goal scorer and man of the match according to our dear friends at Sky. It’s pretty hard to give one player the plaudits when the entire team and the substitutes used played their parts in the game.

We leave 2016 in fine fettle, fifth in the Championship with a few points between ourselves and the team in seventh. This is just the start because I think this team can get even better if the necessary money is invested in the squad when the transfer window. Remember, we were in a good position before but because the owner then didn’t dip his hands in his pockets, our challenge fell short, because of it.

For me, it’s a very average Championship and there is no better time to get out of it and cautious investment has to be done if the owner is serious about continuing the challenge for a top-six place or even higher. After two trips away from Leeds 11, Rotherham United visit on the second day of the new year, bottom and now employing their third manager in the season. After United’s 2-1 win at the New York Stadium, then manager Kenny Jackett surprisingly left the club soon after the game.

Rooted at the bottom – they look a certainty to drop to League One in May.

These games can be one’s you slip up in and I remember Barnsley in the season we were promoted, desperate for points and they shocked us all with a 2-1 away victory. I’m pretty sure Garry Monk will be advising his charges that compliancy won’t be tolerated and be it Villa or Rotherham, the application should be the same.

Eunan O’Kane sits out another game and Charlie Taylor is rated 50/50. The starting XI at Villa did enough there to keep their places but Monk may decide to ‘freshen’ things up by including Pablo Hernandez and top scorer Chris Wood.

No games are certainties but I’m betting that most coupons will have this as a banker home win and to be honest so it should be. I think a few goals will welcome in 2017 at Elland Road on Monday.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Rotherham United 0.

KEITH INGHAM

A magnificent second half full of attacking verve should have harvested all three points from Villa Park and not just the one we returned with.

This team of ours is growing in confidence and looks more like a top side with every outing but, as Garry Monk reminds us, there is still much more to come.

Hadi Sacko is a dangerous man to have on the wing and he is always likely to get behind a defence but he’s still naïve and often makes the wrong call at the crucial moment; he is learning though and now gets more right than wrong. Against a struggling Rotherham he might just fill his boots.

For the first time in a while we now have options for team selection with both Chris Wood and Pablo Hernandez ready to resume from the start if that’s the way Monk decides to go.

Ronnie Vieira must be straining at the leash too and must also be in contention.

Whatever side we put out, nothing less than a convincing win will suffice if the good work of the previous Christmas games is to be consolidated.

Prediction: Leeds United 4 Rotherham United 0.

DAVID WATKINS

The predicted draw at Villa was disappointing only because United deserved a win. What Leeds must avoid against Rotherham is complacency; memories of the New York Stadium will banish thoughts of a pushover. Get the job done.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Rotherham United 0.

MIKE GILL

It’s been a while since United were such heavy favourites for a league game and that represents a different challenge for us.

We’ve shown we can match the better teams in the division and now we need to break down one of the poorer sides.

We weren’t at our best in the reverse fixture at the end of November but the chances created at Deepdale and Villa Park showed that there are goals in the side.

Thursday night felt like a huge disappointment because of the spurned chances and the nature of Villa’s equaliser.

There is unlikely to be a better chance to bounce back with all three points and this United side should win comfortably.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Rotherham United 0.

MATTHEW EVANS

The Whites are expected to have both Kyle Bartley and Eunan O’Kane available and I would expect Bartley to start, possibly as well as top scorer Chris Wood.

But anyone underestimating Rotherham would be a fool.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Rotherham United 1.

GARY NEWBOULD

If 2017 is to be the year when Leeds return to the Premier, then the type of display produced against Villa needs to be the norm and then the results will come.

The first visitors to Elland Road in this new year will be Rotherham and they come to a stadium that will be once again host over 30k people as belief begins to flow through the veins of the Leeds supporters. The last time we were in this position, in 2010, the ownership blinked and failed to back the manager in the January transfer window. A win against Rotherham will ensure that mistake cannnot be made again. We look forward to a transfer window with excitement rather than trepidation.

Prediction: Leeds 3 Rotherham 0.

STEPHEN CLARK

THAT'S BETTER: Gjanni Alioski, right, excelled for Leeds United in the 2-1 win against Middlesbrough.

Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1: Player Ratings - Alioski and Jansson back to form but Stroud loses control