Our fans’ panel have their say on Leeds United’s Yorkshire derby at Barnsley.
It feels good to be back after the disappointment of the Swansea defeat and Leeds have the perfect opportunity to put it right in their first Yorkshire derby of the season.
But it will be no easy task at Oakwell, a place that hasn’t proved the happiest of hunting grounds for the Whites in recent times.
In 2017, Thomas Christiansen’s side passed their way through a poor Barnsley side with goals from Samuel Saiz and Gjanni Alioski.
Marcelo Bielsa will be hoping the same tactics work on this occasion, but he’ll be all too aware of the threat posed by the Reds’ former Leeds players.
Mallik Wilks has impressed this season and he will have a point to prove, while Bielsa will hope his strikers will get the better of former centre-back Aapo Halme.
Barnsley’s former United contingent will give the game more of an edge but, if Leeds continue to play the way they have thus far, then it could be a long afternoon for boss Daniel Stendel’s men.
Prediction: Barnsley 1 Leeds United 3.
Defeat at home to Swansea halted us in our tracks and, with the international break then kicking in, we’ve yet to show how much of a derailment that was.
Last season’s issues haunted us as we bossed the game but failed to turn that superiority into goals while allowing the Swans to hit us with a sucker punch. So, we travel to Oakwell needing to get straight back to winning ways.
It’s a Yorkshire derby and there could be familiar faces in the home side wanting to prove a point.
Alex Mowatt, Clarke Oduor, Aapo Halme and, perhaps the one to really watch, Mallik Wilks, could all feature.
The Tykes have had a strange opening to this campaign. Off to a roaring start by beating much-fancied Fulham, they have since failed to win. Their home draw with Charlton looked decent but the 3-1 home reversal against Luton less so.
At our best we will win convincingly but those defensive frailties need sorting or Wilks will make us pay.
And the burning question for Marcelo Bielsa is whether he is yet ready to give Costa and Nketiah their chance.
Prediction: Barnsley 1 Leeds United 3.
For all we are doing superbly well in the league, and the knock-back against Swansea should be seen as a simple blip by now, it’s slightly concerning that I’m grateful we are playing away this weekend.
And at Oakwell of all places, a ground where I have enjoyed (or endured) some of the most miserable United performances in my lifetime. That goes to show just how unsure of ourselves we seem at home. A nervy crowd, bizarre refereeing and a lottery in front of goal at both ends seems to be the order of the day at Elland Road and we’re going to need to break that trend as soon as possible.
Thankfully, we look more composed and ruthless on the road and it’s about time that we went to Barnsley in a confident mood. They are still a threat but not one we should dwell on.
We’ve had some great news over the international break with Phillips, Dallas and Cooper all signing new contracts, and I’m in the camp that doesn’t care if it’s Costa or Harrison, Bamford or Nketiah. We should have more than enough either way come Sunday lunchtime.
Prediction: Barnsley 0 Leeds United 3.
Leeds face their South Yorkshire cousins in the first Yorkshire derby of the season and Barnsley isn’t one of the grounds where we have had great success in the past.
Barnsley will include at least a couple of the players that left United in the summer ‘cull’ that saw over 30 players leave.
Aapo Halme, for me was a surprise as I saw him as an option at centre-back after Pontus Jansson left Leeds. Mallik Wilks had good things said about him during his loan spell at Doncaster Rovers but Marcelo Bielsa saw them as surplus to requirements and you can’t second guess a football genius!
But this season, Leeds’ away form has been superb and, on most coupons, they will be clear favourites. Despite the defeat last time out against Swansea, it might still be the same XI on duty at Barnsley.
Bielsa is loyal to his players but there is increasing clammer for Helder Costa and Eddie Nketiah (who continued his goal steak with efforts for England U-21s in the international break) to get their chance now.
Jack Harrison and Patrick Bamford could be benched to accommodate the pair. Barnsley are many people’s favourites to be relegated but, as previous years have shown, they are always ‘up’ for games at Oakwell for their games with Leeds.
Form goes out of the window when Yorkshire pride and bragging rights are there.
A tough game but one that should provide a few goals for the sell-out crowd. I’m tipping a draw.
Prediction: Barnsley 2 Leeds United 2.
Always a tricky one, especially returning from an international break.
The Tykes sit just above the Championship drop zone with five points.
A plethora of former Whites players will be doing their best to show United why they should be still at LS11. The potentially most dangerous of this group will be Mallik Wilks who had a good season at Doncaster before making the short journey to Barnsley.
He has scored one of Barnsley’s four goals this season and will probably have to resign himself to another winter of struggling.
Make no mistake, whatever the circumstances, this should be a routine win for Leeds.
Assuming that all our international players have returned unscathed from their exertions, there is no excuse for not bagging the three points here, local derby or not.
Britain’s last hangman, Albert Pierrepoint, used to run a pub called ‘Help the Poor Struggler’ but United should avoid helping this particular struggler.
Prediction: Barnsley 0 Leeds United 2.
Whether it be against the rules or not, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith might well have phoned Kalvin Phillips this summer trying to turn his head.
Tapping up they call it. Some players, had such a phone call taken place, might have accepted the 40 pieces of silver. Phillips returned to Thorp Arch and knew that Elland Road was the only place for him.
In £25k per week for five years, the lad will not starve but Leeds have bucked the trend in selling their best players. Some of his team-mates will be surprised he did not grab his chance but the cynical put aside, they will be inspired by the young man’s determination to stick with the club he lives and represents so amicably. He is one of several in the squad who have risen beyond what others expected.
The team as a whole will do the same. Barnsley away is a fixture that has instilled dread in previous squads. This one will see it as another chance to show how determined they are to achieve. Phillips is here to reclaim Leeds’ status. His team-mates will deliver.
Prediction: Barnsley 0 Leeds United 4.