YEP Jury: Leeds United should have way too much for the erratic Wigan Athletic

Wigan Athletic danger man Charlie Mulgrew.
Wigan Athletic danger man Charlie Mulgrew.
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Our fans’ panel have their say on Leeds United’s Championship clash at Wigan Athletic tomorrow.

ANDY RHODES

Marcelo Bielsa watches from the sidelines at Salford City.

Marcelo Bielsa watches from the sidelines at Salford City.

It’s hard to believe that this weekend’s game at Wigan will be Leeds’ fourth competitive fixture of the season.

The games are coming thick and fast but I’m yet to see another side that looks particularly threatening in the Championship. Wigan, though, beat a well-fancied Cardiff City side on the opening weekend and have made some shrewd signings over the summer.

Leeds fans will remember the goals Charlie Mulgrew scored for Blackburn at Elland Road last December and Paul Cook will be hoping he can make the difference at the DW.

For large spells of that game and many others last season, Leeds struggled to break down a compact defence. But the performance against Salford on Tuesday demonstrated a change in style. The additions of Eddie Nketiah and Helder Costa will help, and their quality showed in midweek. Similarly, Ben White continues to show promise at the back.

Gaetano Berardi celebrates scoring Leeds United's second goal at Salford City.

Gaetano Berardi celebrates scoring Leeds United's second goal at Salford City.

If Leeds get on a roll, it will take something special to stop them.

Prediction: Wigan Athletic 1 Leeds United 3.

DAVID WATKINS

It is hard to know what we will face at Wigan; they started the season with an eye-opening 3-2 win against Cardiff but then got walloped 3-0 at Preston and this week bowed out of the Carabao Cup at home to Stoke, who we will now face in the next round.

Keep in mind though that Wigan changed virtually the whole side for the cup game.

Maybe it’s a case of not worrying about them at all and focusing instead on ourselves. Leeds will be supremely confident on the back of dominant displays against two of the best in the Championship. Okay, we couldn’t put our chances away last week and dropped two points, but it’s hard to put Wigan in the same quality bracket as those first two opponents and I’d expect Leeds to have too much for the erratic Latics.

We saw some decent performances at Salford from the likes of Costa, Nketiah and Berardi who will all be knocking on Bielsa’s door; Bielsa is notoriously loyal to a winning team but will the missed chances against Forest give him some food for thought.

Prediction: Wigan Athletic 1 Leeds United 3.

MATTHEW EVANS

Tuesday’s 3-0 scoreline made United’s progression in the Carabao Cup look like a formality but it disguises a first half that was full of frustration, misplaced passes and sloppy play.

It was probably the worst half of football I have seen under Marcelo Bielsa. Thankfully, the unfamiliar team clicked just before half-time with Eddie Nketiah’s debut goal and it was plain sailing from then on.

Tomorrow’s starting XI will change again, probably back to the same side that started against Forest, but you get the impression that Nketiah and others are already pushing for a starting place.

We should be winning games like Wigan away. That’s something we’ll be saying before most games this season but, as the new Amazon documentary that’s out today will testify, it’s points dropped in games like this that will cost us promotion.

The fact Wigan hammered our top-two hopes with a fortunate win at Elland Road earlier in the year should give us the extra incentive tomorrow.

Take our chances and we’ll be home and dry.

Prediction: Wigan Athletic 1 Leeds United 3.

KEITH INGHAM

After negotiating the first round of the Carabao Cup comfortably, Leeds now turn their thoughts to another trip to Lancashire, this time Wigan.

Wigan have been to the Premier League, won the FA Cup but have also seen the downside of success by getting relegated. A ‘homely’ club that have come a very long way since Leeds played them back in 1987 at their Springfields Stadium.

Marcelo Bielsa has a squad! On other occasions, especially cup competitions, the players who were given the opportunity to ‘shine’ either wasted it or weren’t up to it.

That can’t be said of the seven that came in on Tuesday; all of them contributed towards the excellent win – ‘Berra’ and Nketiah getting a goal apiece and Shackleton, Clarke and Costa slotting in superbly.

Marcelo has a slight headache now; Nketiah, for me, did enough in his first game to challenge Patrick Bamford for the striker’s role, and Costa could move to the right wing with Pablo Hernandez moving inside to the number 10 role.

I’m not going to second guess the head coach, I’m just saying he has options in attack.

Over 5,000 travelling fans will be in attendance tomorrow – myself amongst the ‘army’. I don’t get to many away games so this is one I’m really looking forward to watching.

It won’t be easy and another draw wouldn’t be a disaster, but I’d love to travel home with three points in the bag.

Prediction: Wigan Athletic 1 Leeds United 1.

MIKE GILL

The performance against Salford was a lesson in how a team should play against a tricky lower-league side determined to spoil the party.

It would be sensible to treat the Forest result as an aberration rather than a throwback to last season’s lack of chance-taking. Most fans will not need to be reminded that our last encounter with the Latics was when last season’s wheelnuts started to loosen before the wheels fell off altogether.

Having opened this season by beating Cardiff 3-2, Paul Cook’s men lost to Preston 3-0 before exiting the Carabao Cup to Stoke City 1-0. Their home form last season was one of the factors which saved them from relegation but it was United that ended their unbeaten run. Wigan are likely to set up to sit back and defend, relying on set-pieces and counter-attacks, so the Whites will need to be patient.

Marcelo Bielsa is unlikely to make many changes from the draw with Forest but one feels they hold the keys to unlocking this game, especially using some of the talent that will be sitting on the bench.

Prediction: Wigan Athletic 1 Leeds United 3.

SHAUN SMITH

Anyone watching last week’s Championship game against Nottingham Forest at Elland Road would agree wholeheartedly that a 3-1 win to Leeds United was, morally, the correct score and, therefore, I maintain my 100 per cent score prediction record for the season so far.

So, it is with some degree of assuredness that it’s off to somewhere in Lancashire for an unprecedented 3pm kick off on a Saturday.

Even Sky aren’t interested in Wigan.

They have conceded six in three outings and beat Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City on the opening day so some kudos there.

But, I suspect this could be one encounter where Leeds United find the back of the net relatively easily. I’m tempted to go for a 6-3 scoreline with goalkeeper, Kiko Casilla, scoring the opener.

But, with many readers seeing me as the ‘Leeds oracle’, I’m going to tone it down to a 4-1 win in Leeds United’s favour.

Wigan away is always a good one for fans of guide dogs celebrating and do keep an ear out for Rita barking in each goal.

Prediction: Wigan Athletic 1 Leeds United 4.