Bolton Wanderers v Leeds United: YEP Jury predictions

Felix Wiedwald.
Felix Wiedwald.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s Championship opener at Bolton Wanderers.


Ezgjan Alioski looks to tackle Liam Bridcutt.

Ezgjan Alioski looks to tackle Liam Bridcutt.

The first game of the season is always hard to predict and this is no exception.

If Leeds United play the side that started against Oxford United then it’s basically a team we saw last season but adding Felix Wiedwald in goal, Matthew Pennington at centre-back and Ezgjan Alioski on the wing.

Last season we were competitive without ever being dominant, so are those additions enough?

We look stronger on the bench now of course with Samuel Saiz, Mateusz Klich and Stuart Dallas pushing for a start and, once his ban is over, Pontus Jansson back in defence.

Matthew Pennington.

Matthew Pennington.

What of Bolton? Well, they are currently under a transfer embargo that has left their squad wafer thin, but they have players like Adam Le Fondre, Darren Pratley, Gary Madine, Sammy Ameobi and Will Buckley, several of whom have hurt us in various incarnations in the past.

I’m being cautious to begin with and saying, draw!

Prediction: Bolton 1 Leeds United 1.


The 2017/18 Championship season opens with a great deal of optimism, certainly more than for many seasons in recent memory.

Attitudes to the early results of our campaign will be key and, after last year’s false start, the United fanbase knows more than most what can grow from a poor first month. Patience is a virtue.

Thomas Christiansen has a big and varied squad to choose from and, on paper (as well as YouTube), we have made some very good signings.

The truth is that nobody will really know what the season holds until October at the earliest and, against a backdrop of increasing professionalism and ambition in the Leeds backroom, all that we can do is wait in hope.

Sunday’s game at Bolton Wanderers feels entirely unpredictable but let’s hope for a significantly better time than last year.

Prediction: Bolton 0 Leeds United 2.


It’s only three months (it will be when the Championship kicks off) and it’s hard to believe the changes that have happened at Leeds United, new owner so Massimo Cellino is finally gone and the ground purchased finally by the new owner Andrea Radrizzani.

Improvements on the dated stadium, new players (nine, up to present) and again we start the season with a new coach after Garry Monk made his move to Middlesbrough.

We welcome Thomas Christiansen and his backroom staff.

The challenge before him is the same as the others that have previously had the job in 13 unsuccessful seasons.

We’ve been close a couple of times but still we stay in football’s second tier. I’m not known as a very positive fan; I’m a realist and I see many players in the squad that have not played in the toughest leagues in the world.

But there is still enough within the squad to at least equal last season’s top-10 place and if they ‘hit the ground running’ maybe they can challenge again for a top-six place.

The absence of Pontus Jansson for two games is a blow, the centre of defence is very light in numbers and another centre-back is definitely needed, maybe a left-back too to bolster the squad.

A lot will be on the square shoulders of Chris Wood to get the goals, although Christiansen has Ekuban, Doukara and Antonsson as other options.

Another striker wouldn’t be a bad idea if either ‘Ant’ or ‘The Duke’ are moved on to pastures new.

The biggest question for Sunday is who starts in goal? Robert Green was very impressive, apart from a couple of mistakes in the early part of the season.

He became one of the most consistent performers in the team.

This season he has Felix Wiedwald to compete with for the number one jersey; it will be interesting to see who is picked on Sunday.

Prediction: Bolton 1 Leeds United 1.


Since the arrival of Andrea Radrizzani a wave of positivity has swept through our beloved club.

He is a man of action who delivers rather than making extravagant promises.

The appointment of Thomas Christiansen is, of course, a gamble, but he has impressed our owner and deserves backing from the fans.

Christiansen also has a couple of advantages over former coach Garry Monk at this stage of the season.

Leeds will be starting this time round with the core of last season’s side, with the exception of the excellent Kyle Bartley.

At this point last term, neither Pontus Jansson, Luke Ayling, Eunan O’Kane or Pablo Hernandez had signed.

It’s too early to judge our new signings but Matthew Pennington stood out against Oxford United.

Bolton have done well to escape League One at the first attempt and remain solvent – just. Phil Parkinson will wheel and deal and his aim will be Championship survival.

Prediction: Bolton 0 Leeds United 2.


At 4.30pm on Sunday afternoon, (once again courtesy of Sky) it will very much feel like a new era when Leeds United (owned by Andrea Radrizianni and managed by Thomas Christiansen) take to the field against Bolton Wanderers, following their promotion last season.

Many have arrived and some (thankfully) have left but let’s concentrate on those who remain!

The Whites will be backed by around 4,000 loyal hordes, which will quickly bring home the responsibilities on the two new custodians and, after a close miss with the play-offs last season, expectations are high as confirmed by record season-ticket sales.

Trying to predict this season’s opening line up will be about as easy as trying to herd cats.

However it looks likely that Felix Wiedwald is very likely to start the season as “der stopper”.

Fasten your seatbelts and get ready for another nine months of thrills, spills and re-arranged kick-offs.

Prediction: Bolton 2 Leeds United 2.