Leeds United v Sheffield United: YEP Jury give their big-match predictions

It’s back to the Premier League tomorrow after a long international break and our fans’ panel are looking forward to Leeds United’s derby clash with Sheffield United.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 4:30 pm
RETURN: Sheffield United's interim boss Paul Heckingbottom will return to Elland Road tomorrow. Picture: David Klein/Sportimage.

ANDY RHODES

It feels like an absolute age since we last saw Leeds United play a Premier League game.

The international break is over and we can all turn our attention back to the matter at hand.

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BUSY TIME: Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips in action for England. Picture: Mattia Ozbot/Getty Images.

Eleven more points will guarantee United’s safety this season, while the same can’t be said for the Blades.

Sheffield United looked like a side already resigned to its fate at Leicester last time out in the league.

And, on paper, you can see this Yorkshire derby being another demolition job and, if Leeds can turn on the style, it might be just that.

However, there are lingering memories of the Blades being a difficult side to play against, memories that make this game harder than it looks.

ON THE RUN: Leeds United's Jack Harrison. Picture: Lindsey Parnaby/PA Wire.

Kalvin Phillips would normally be up for the fight but, after playing the most minutes of any outfield England player in the break, might he be due a rest?

This game has got ‘home win’ written all over it but it could be a potential coupon buster.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Sheffield United 0.

MATTHEW EVANS

NO LET UP: Leeds United head coach Marco Bielsa. Picture: Andy Rain/Getty Images.

We’ve not seen a Premier League derby between the Uniteds of Leeds and Sheffield since the 1990s and, it looks very likely that it won’t be repeated next season.

Our opponent’s second year after promotion is, perhaps, a warning to Leeds of what could happen as a sequel to a relatively comfortable return this term. You have to think that Messrs Radrizanni, Kinnear, Orta and Bielsa are savvy enough to avoid the pitfalls that have done for the Blades.

Half of the squad has had a decent two-week break while the other half has, generally, had a positive experience away on international duty. Kalvin Phillips bagged three wins and the most minutes of any outfield England player while Gjanni Alioski experienced a once-in-a-generation win over Germany for North Macedonia. We won’t mention Tyler Roberts.

On paper, this should be a comfortable win for the home side but the return of the monumentally useless Paul Heckingbottom to Elland Road is one of those moments where you wouldn’t bet against anything.

IN CONTENTION: Leeds United's Liam Cooper (left) is back to fitness. Picture: Julian Finney/PA Wire.

Prediction: Leeds United 4 Sheffield United 1.

DAVID WATKINS

There aren’t many Premier League games where we’d expect Leeds to win, certainly not this early in our re-acquaintance season, but the visit of Sheffield United is surely one.

The Blades are almost-certainly doomed to the Championship and, unlike Fulham who we beat last time out, have shown no late resurgence, losing six of their last seven.

Jettisoning Chris Wilder on March 13 hasn’t proven lucky and they’ve shipped seven goals in their two games since without reply.

It’s the familiar figure of Paul Heckingbottom who is now in charge and I’m sure he would love to claim the scalp of Leeds United in a Yorkshire derby to establish some degree of credibility to his reputation in the eyes of his new masters.

Indeed, it’s the one worry for Leeds that, confident as we should be after two good results before the break, this might just be the sort of game to spur the Blades to one, final hurrah; the wounded animal syndrome.

Leeds must be wary of that but anything less than three points for the Mighty Whites would be a real disappointment.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Sheffield United 0.

KEITH INGHAM

Sheffield United enjoyed a pretty good first season in the Premier League finishing in the top 10. This year, mind you the ‘Blades’ have turned into the ‘Blunts’ as they have occupied the bottom of the league for nearly the entirety of this current campaign.

Leeds in comparison look certain to be in the Premier League after their 2-1 win at Fulham and only a massive loss of form and an incredible run by the Londoners could alter this, which, to be honest, doesn’t look like it will happen.

Captain Liam Cooper should be fit as should Rodrigo, so Marcelo Bielsa could have a near-full squad to pick from.

The only player he cannot call upon is Adam Forshaw who continues to build up his fitness after a long-term absence. Gaetano Berardi is an option at left-back as he has come through some minutes with the Under-23s.

With tough games coming up away at champions-elect Manchester City, home games against Liverpool and Manchester United it might be good to start the month of April with three points.

I’m not expecting a classic, they rarely are, but a few have been good for Leeds, including a 4-0 win in 1989/90 when the late, great Gary Speed “got one for himself” as United cruised to a much-needed win over their promotion rivals.

Last time out at Bramall Lane, only a late goal from Patrick Bamford separated the two teams, and it could be the same tomorrow.

I think both teams will score but Leeds to clinch it with the same goalscorer netting.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Sheffield United 1.

JACOB STARR

I can’t say for sure, but I am 99 per cent confident I speak for everyone when I say I am glad to see the back of an utterly thrilling international break as we return to Premier League football with a contest against bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United.

Luckily, Kalvin Phillips & Co came back unscathed.

The Blades’ relegation fate was sealed a long time ago, so Chris Wilder’s disruptive departure won’t have much of an impact this season, but Paul Heckingbottom will surely not be in contention to take up the role on a full-time basis. His only league game in temporary charge ended in a 5-0 drubbing at Leicester.

That result doesn’t come as a surprise, as his abysmal spell in the Leeds hot seat brings unwanted flashbacks.

The Whites go into the game two unbeaten, and three points would be welcome bearing in mind the tough-looking run of fixtures coming our way.

It will be fascinating to see who Marcelo Bielsa pairs at centre-back, with Robin Koch now seemingly fully fit after his cameo against Fulham.

United have been live on Amazon Prime twice so far this campaign, with us scoring five on both occasions.

It really isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that we could make it three in a row against a side in freefall.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Sheffield United 0.

MIKE GILL

On paper, this should be three points in the bag at the beginning of a period which boasts several tough challenges.

The true reason for the departure of Chris Wilder is unlikely to be known but it seems that the man himself wanted to be on his way before Christmas.

One positive is that his replacement harbours no illusions that he will be able to turn the bus around.

What Paul Heckingbottom’s motive was for taking the job is puzzling.

His reputation as an up-and-coming, young manager has already been dented following his tenure at Elland Road and taking the Blades’ hot seat is unlikely to improve his profile. So, it’s all set up for a potential banana skin, then? We certainly hope not and United need to make sure to wear their non-slip boots.

The Whites should be able to field a strong side and should have too much for their Yorkshire neighbours.

Previous encounters with the Blades have been close but an emphatic win to celebrate Easter would be just the ticket.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Sheffield United 0.

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