Leeds United fans on rotation, Daniel Farke's late changes, promotion chaos and Blackburn Rovers ‘threat’

Leeds United’s penultimate game of the season at Elland Road will see Blackburn Rovers in town and Whites fans have made clear what they want to see on Saturday.
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An opportunity missed for Leeds United on Tuesday, with the 0-0 draw against Sunderland stopping them from taking advantage of dropped points for Leicester City and Ipswich Town. Blackburn Rovers are the visitors to Elland Road on Saturday and our YEP jury have had their say on matters including rotation, Daniel Farke’s late changes and the away side’s key player.


Following three recent below-par, frustrating performances, Leeds really need the three points from this game. Blackburn, however, are not as desperate and may view this game as a one-point opportunity and follow the Sunderland blueprint aiming to prevent Leeds scoring. Blackburn, however, possess a proven goal scorer in Sammie Szmodics and Leeds must be aware of his threat on the break.

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Recent frustrations lead me to conclude that the team needs a freshen up. I would play Willy Gnonto in favour of Dan James and also try Joel Piroe in place of Georginio although keeping the displaced on the bench. Mateo Joseph should also, in my opinion, get a longer run out, possibly replacing Patrick Bamford much earlier than recently. Rotation of Sam Byram at right-back may also give a different dynamic.

In terms of build-up play, Leeds are becoming predictable – slow and left-side biased. This is not helping the cause and requires addressing. However, despite the negatives above, Leeds are capable of winning the game and I fully expect they will.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Blackburn Rovers 0.


Once again in the Championship, we’ve seen a week which doesn’t make much sense. Never mind last weekend’s results, Leeds, Leicester and Ipswich were all shut out by their opponents in midweek, perhaps allowing us to keep the faith.

United, though, cannot afford to drop points and, with Saturday’s visitors Blackburn fighting relegation, this will be no easy task. Their recent form has been baffling, winning 5-1 at Sunderland but losing 5-0 at Bristol City in the week. Leeds’ success here will hinge on a number of key things. Their play on Tuesday was criticised for being too tentative and lacked any real creativity. The pressure is, perhaps, having an effect on the squad at this stage, which is to be expected.

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The Whites will also need to keep the league’s top scorer, Sammie Szmodics quiet. When he plays well, Blackburn play well, but the same can be said of Leeds and their star players. Push is now coming to shove and, at this stage of the campaign, good form is vital.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Blackburn Rovers 1.


This Championship season continues to defy all logic! On Tuesday, I’m sure Leeds fans lumped plenty of dosh on us to beat a Sunderland side with little to play for. We couldn’t do it. On the same night, Leicester were beaten at Millwall 1-0, perhaps not such a surprise given the recent run of the Lions under Neil Harris. 

It was doom and gloom though for Leeds as we rued another missed chance to steal a march on our rivals. We should have known better; the Tractor Boys could only match our result so, at the end of the round, Leeds had gained a point on a rival! It is folly trying to predict results in the Championship, particularly at this time of the year. Leeds play Blackburn, still fighting relegation and coming to Elland Road on the back of a 5-0 walloping at Bristol City.

Does that help or hinder us? At the very least, it tells us they have a fragile defence but we need to remember they thrashed Sunderland 1-5 recently! Ipswich play Middlesbrough, still in the hunt for a play-off spot, while Leicester face the long trip to Plymouth on Friday night! Where’s your money folks?

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Blackburn Rovers 0.


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For the fourth time since the international break, Leeds just weren’t ‘at it’ against a pretty poor Sunderland side and registered just one shot on target. The 0-0 stalemate was even more frustrating because Leicester, surprisingly, lost at Millwall. Many are pointing the finger at Daniel Farke, despite him taking Leeds to second in the Championship. Continuing with out-of-sorts players when others may offer more seems daft and unwise.

Both Bamford and Georginio, to name two, seem to be struggling and, if you listen to the phone-in on Radio Leeds post game, most think they shouldn’t be in the team. For me, neither has produced ‘anything like’ recently and should be dropped. Also, Farke’s lateness in using his bench, when clearly ‘it isn’t happening’, is really frustrating.

What now? Has Farke the confidence to change his team? For me, Gnonto, Piroe and Joseph simply have to come in for the Blackburn game. If he persists with the same front four against Rovers, he might feel the wrath of the Elland-Road crowd. I’m hopeful that, after a poor recent run, Leeds win because, goodness me, if they don’t, you can start to plan for the play-offs  – it’s that simple. Farke, be brave!

Prediction: (with changes) Leeds United 2 Blackburn Rovers 0.


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After the meagre points return from games since the international break, United are back at Elland Road against draw specialists Blackburn. Last time out, Rovers gave the impression that if not on the beach, they had already boarded the plane as they were hammered 5-0 by Bristol City. This is surprising as they are only three points above the drop zone and, as we know, strange things can happen in the Championship.

The Whites need to return to form quickly and, if this is accompanied by a bit of improved luck and some decent refereeing, then so much the better. Surely Daniel Farke must be tempted to shuffle the pack a bit and make a couple of small changes. Tactically as well, the obsession with keeping possession at the cost of stifling creativity and chance taking seems to be restricting the scoring opportunities available. 

The results of our nearest rivals in midweek show that United are not alone in feeling the heat of the final run-in. I'm backing the Whites to return to the form that gave them the chance to compete for an automatic promotion place.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Blackburn Rovers 0.