Leeds United v Wolves: Key battle, key opposition man and YEP prediction with star duo out

The new Premier League season is finally upon us and the YEP has looked at some of the key components of Leeds United’s curtain-raiser against Wolves.

By Lee Sobot
Friday, 5th August 2022, 3:50 pm

Here, Lee Sobot takes a look at a likely key battle, a Wolves key man and provides the YEP’s prediction for the first game of the new campaign.

Date: Saturday

Time: 3pm

KEY MAN: Wolves midfield star Ruben Neves, who boss Bruno Lage values as a £100m player. Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images.

Competition: Premier League

Venue: Elland Road

Odds (best available): Leeds win – 7-5, Draw – 12-5, Wolves win – 23-10Last time the teams met at Elland Road

Saturday, October 23, 2021: Premier League: Leeds United 1 (Rodrigo pen 90), Wolves 1 (Hwang 10).Key battle: Patrick Bamford v Nathan Collins

Bamford endured a torrid time with injuries last term but the Whites no 9 came through his first 90 minutes since last September in Sunday's final friendly against Cagliari and Leeds are an altogether different and improved side with a firing Bamford in the team.

The Whites no 9 looks sure to start against Wolves and his movement and finishing will be key against a side who are traditionally solid at the back and now have a new £20.5m defender in Nathan Collins.

Twenty-one-year-old Ireland international centre-back Collins joined the club from Burnley this summer and partnered Max Kilman in a back four for the final Wolves friendly against Sporting Lisbon as Conor Coady had to settle for a place on the bench.

The battle between Bamford, and also Rodrigo, versus the Wolves back line and keeper Jose Sa will be key.Wolves key man: Ruben NevesPortuguese international midfielder Neves joined Wolves when they were a Championship side for a league and club record fee of £15.8 from Porto in July 2017.

Five years later, boss Bruno Lage slapped a £100m price tag on the 25-year-old star at the back end of last season.

Manchester United have reportedly been eyeing up Neves for some time and the industrious Portugal international is clearly a key cog at the heart of the Wolves midfielder that Leeds will need to deal with.

With main striker Raul Jimenez and also Adama Traore out injured, another Portuguese international in Pedro Neto is likely to be the main dangerman upfront, fresh from netting three times in pre-season along with fellow forward Daniel Podence who is yet another Portugal international.

Lee Sobot's verdictUnited's first two seasons back in the Premier League began with trips to Liverpool and Manchester United but a home clash against Wolves ought to offer some opening day relief, not that Bruno Lage's side should be taken lightly at all.

That said, tenth-placed finishers Wolves ended last season by taking just two points from a possible 18 and Leeds are facing them at a time when key men Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore are out injured.

The Molineux outfit had a solid enough pre-season and solid also describes them as a team but Leeds created a host of chances against Cagliari as front four Jack Harrison, new signing Brenden Aaronson, Rodrigo and Bamford all thrived, albeit against a pretty poor Cagliari side.

Wolves will be a completely different proposition at the back and a much tighter affair is expected but if Leeds take their chances then an opening day victory ought to be on the cards for the Whites faithful at Elland Road.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Wolves 0.

First scorer: Patrick Bamford.