Our fans’ panel have their say on Leeds United’s Championship clash at Wigan Athletic.
Leeds go to Wigan facing yet another defensive reshuffle with Luke Ayling now out for eight weeks.
Fortunately, Barry Douglas came through his run-out with the under-23s okay so, if Marcelo Bielsa doesn’t want to change too much, he could merely go with Stuart Dallas at right-back. I’d like to see Jack Clarke start, but that would be at the expense of Gjanni Alioski who has played every league game so far.
Wigan had a decent start to the season but recently they’ve been the most inconsistent side in the Championship; eye-catching results like their 3-0 win at Stoke and a 1-0 victory over West Brom interspersed with a 4-0 hammering at Preston. They shipped four more in defeat at Sheffield United last time out too. In fact, they sit third from bottom in the six-game form table with only four points from 18.
I’d be more confident if I knew Clarke was starting but still reckon Leeds have enough to see off the Latics as long as we can defend at corners for a change!
Prediction: Wigan Athletic 0 Leeds United 2.
ANDY RHODES Sunday will see the team with the best away record travel to face the team with the best home record in what promises to be another open Championship encounter.
In their seven home games so far, Wigan have picked up 17 points and conceded just five goals.
Unlike Leeds, however, their away record shows that they are susceptible to shipping goals.
It’s getting towards that part of the season where the games come thick and fast, something which may be both a blessing and a curse for Marcelo Bielsa.
Being the perfectionist he is, Sunday will give him the opportunity to improve on the Forest result and pick up all three points, but with Leeds’ injury list mounting it will give him a growing headache.
Right-back is now a problem area with Gaetano Berardi and Luke Ayling both out, while a fatigued Samu Saiz was dropped last weekend too.
Bielsa will be hoping that Leeds have the strength in depth to overcome the Latics.
Prediction: Wigan Athletic 1 Leeds United 3.
There’s no denying that United are playing some attractive football this season, and nobody would have complained about our early-November league position back in August.
The thing that will be on Marcelo Bielsa’s mind now is the real slowdown in the rate we are accruing points. For me, we’ve had a similar start to this year as we did in 17/18 in coming out of the blocks with speed and an element of surprise. Since then, other teams have realised that targeting us at set-pieces, grabbing an early goal and frustrating the flow of the game can grab you a point or three.
Patience and perfection in the final third has not proved to be an effective antidote to that but we’ve coped with these spoiling tactics under Bielsa far more comfortably than under Thomas Christiansen.
To break the pattern we need some more direct play. Adam Forshaw has looked a good choice in the last two games and it can only be a matter of time before Jack Clarke earns a start. Wigan will be another test and, if nothing changes, I can’t see past another score draw.
Prediction: Wigan Athletic 1 Leeds United 1.
Leeds travel to Wigan Athletic on Sunday lunchtime to face Wigan Athletic, another game changed for our ‘overlords’ Sky TV.
Wigan Athletic are just outside the top 10 after their promotion to the Championship. Already they’ve beaten fancied teams and will see Leeds as a challenge but one they will think they can overcome with their work ethic.
The last trip over the Pennines was a disappointing one for Leeds so ‘Bielsa’s Boys’ will want to get a better scoreline than the one they ended up with at Blackburn.
The game against Wigan will bring memories back of two games for me. The first, also on a Sunday lunchtime, saw Leeds beat their rivals 2-0 in an FA Cup sixth-round tie at the old Wigan ground.
The other was another FA Cup tie when Gary Kelly scored a cracker of a goal to equalise for Leeds.
Leeds have drawn a few too many recently, but this game might be one that is regarded as a positive result at a team that is generally pretty useful at home.
Prediction: Wigan Athletic 2 Leeds United 2.
On Sunday, United make the short trip across the Pennines to visit Paul Cook’s Wigan Athletic.
The Latics are another recently promoted side who will present the Whites with a potential ‘banana skin’.
Along with Birmingham, they share the distinction of being unbeaten at home. Indeed, they would be in serious difficulty were it not for their home record.
Luke Ayling is the latest casualty, leaving Marcelo Bielsa with another selection problem to solve. The length of recovery time required for both Ayling and Gaetano Beradi means that a quick fix will not suffice.
A solution which lasts until January is the minimum requirement. However, our head coach’s propensity for ‘thinking outside the box’ means that our more-positive fans are less worried than they would normally be.
Barry Douglas should make a welcome return and, with a resurgent Adam Forshaw, Leeds should be capable of winning this one as long as they stop conceding goals from set-pieces.
Prediction: Wigan Athletic 1 Leeds United 2.
I was in the garden on the night of Halloween with my eye of newt and toe of frog, for there be a curse on Leeds United full-backs and, on the night when the barrier between the here and the hereafter thins, I felt it my duty to try and lift the hex.
Be warned, however, I am all out of spells now and leave it to the medical team and our on-pitch wizard, Pablo Hernandez, to start restoring natural order and winning ways.
Yes, a win is needed and where better to start a run than Wigan, a football enclave in a rugby league empire where the natives aren’t known for taking to football. With more Leeds fans than locals in the stadium it seems only polite to hurt the feelings of the minority. Good manners are all well and good but United’s insistence of an ‘After-you-Claude’ attitude when it comes to scoring first must come to an end.
Indeed, if Leeds score first in the majority of their games, the open-top bus can be booked, the curse lifted. One little Harry Potter to watch out for this weekend is young Jack Clarke. Magic.
Prediction: Wigan Athletic 0 Leeds United 2.