Leeds United v Barnsley: YEP jury predictions

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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s home clash with Barnsley.

DAVID WATKINS

Sam Winnall.

Sam Winnall.

My overriding feeling after the defeat at Bristol was one of what might have been.

Leeds were not firing on all cylinders at Bristol for some reason; didn’t quite find the fluidity we saw against Ipswich and that, coupled with a dire and inconsistent referee and a decent, confident Bristol side meant we didn’t have quite enough to beat them. As so often though, there was nothing between two competent, if not awe-inspiring teams and one poor referee’s call to allow a rash tackle on Hernandez was probably the difference.

Confidence is everything in the Championship so we need to find that Ipswich mojo again quickly and go into the next international break on a high reflecting on an excellent month and not moping about not performing again in another Yorkshire derby game at Elland Road.

Barnsley are an unpredictable outfit and come into this game with no win in three having lost to Reading and Brighton and then drawn this week at home to an improving Aston Villa. Prior to that though they were perhaps the surprise team in the division and had a tremendous run of four wins in five similar to our own recent form.

I am convinced that at our best we will have too much for the Tykes but we also need to remember that they, like Huddersfield, always seem to find a few extra yards, extra spirit and extra belief when they turn out at Elland Road.

An expectant big crowd will also no doubt add to the pressure on Leeds’ players’ shoulders as it always does.

Surprisingly, Barnsley have scored more goals than any other side in the Championship this season, so it will be a big blow to Leeds if our new Swedish superhero, Pontus Jansson, is not fit to resume at centre back to repel them. At the other end, only six sides have conceded more than the lads from Oakwell.

Therefore expect plenty of goals in this one and I’m thinking (hoping!) we can finally find our shooting boots to add to our paltry 10 league goals. The Tykes have already got double that number and an incredible 11 different goal scorers, so we need to remember they have players all over the pitch capable of hitting the target.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Barnsley 2.

KEITH INGHAM
Leeds’ winning run ended at Bristol City as the hosts claimed a 1-0 victory at Ashton Gate, the first time they had lost there since 1977. Next up is 10th-placed Barnsley tomorrow at Elland Road.

More worrying than the unlucky defeat was the injury to Pontus Jansson, the hamstring strain looks like it could keep the popular centre-back out of the line-up until after the international break. Another worrying story concerning our owner Massimo Cellino was revealed by the Daily Telegraph yesterday. This comes the day after Sam Allardyce’s sacking from the England post.

With doubts over Pontus Jansson it seems certain that Liam Cooper will come into the side. He replaced the Swede during the interval at Bristol. The rest of the team picks itself but Hadi Sacko and others will have to ‘chip’ in with goals because it can’t be left to Chris Wood to do it all!

Barnsley arrive after a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at Oakwell – striker Sam Winnall getting a last-minute equaliser for the home side. The striker will be one that Bartley and Cooper will have to be wary of in tomorrow’s West v South Yorkshire derby.

We’ve not had the best of results against one of our ‘nemesis’ teams but we need to get back ‘on track’, hopefully we could just do it.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Barnsley 1.

STEPHEN CLARK

A Leeds defeat is normally met with doom and gloom but even in the loss to Bristol City on Tuesday night there were positives to take from the game. For long periods of the match Leeds were the better side and with a bit more composure in front of goal, a point at the very least could have been taken. Only Newcastle have left Ashton Gate with all three points, so the loss was no disgrace.

The only worry is that Leeds at the moment look like they need to keep a clean sheet to take anything from a game, and whilst the defence has improved immeasurably, we need to start doing more at the other end.

At the moment Leeds are getting into promising positions, but not really creating any end-product. If we can start turning attacking potential into goals, we will be a much harder side to beat. Hadi Sacko looks exciting and infuriating in equal measure. The same could be said for Chris Wood also. Fine tuning in attack should be the next priority for the coaching team.

Barnsley visit tomorrow, and they have been a nemesis in the past. However the bogies were laid to rest last time we met, and with their fantastic start to the season beginning to trail off, I fancy us to pick up another home win.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Barnsley 0.

GARY NEWBOULD

After a rare and unlucky midweek defeat United return to LS11 on Saturday afternoon when they take on perennial “bogey” side Barnsley in a West Yorkshire derby. The Whites will be hoping that they can call on a fit again Pontus Jansson for a game that United are more than capable of winning provided they maintain their recent high standards, especially in terms of work ethic.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Barnsley 1.

MIKE GILL

Four wins in succession and three clean sheets. Leeds had every reason to go to Bristol full of confidence.

For the first 45 minutes on a balmy night, the defence looked impenetrable. Later when City scored, United were still playing well but could not get the ball in the net.

As for Barnsley? Another stiff test is certain. Forget all this ‘we’re a bigger club’ stuff, they have three points more than us and have returned to the Championship full of confidence. Leeds have to score more often, especially if Jansson is out of the side for any length of time and it has to start tomorrow. I’m all for keeping the current formation but I would like to see Antonsson appear when the goals are not coming.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Barnsley 0.

MATTHEW EVANS

It’s a refreshing change for United to lose a game and it not feel like the world has ended or is about to end. Bristol was a narrow away defeat with a competent performance and, far more important, is the reaction against Barnsley.

We set a much higher standard against Ipswich and we need to at least match that against Barnsley tomorrow. There will be a bigger crowd and they’ll be expecting it.

Pontus Jansson is a crucial member of the squad so it would be good to have him fit but, even if not, you would hope and expect that United will be too strong for Barnsley at Elland Road.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Barnsley 0.

Liam Cooper in action for Leeds United last season

Cooper returns to ease Leeds United’s defensive concerns