Wolves v Leeds United: YEP Jury verdicts

Liam Bridcutt.
Liam Bridcutt.
0
Have your say

Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s Championship clash at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

GARY NEWBOULD

After a defeat and a draw that felt like a defeat due to the late, late nature of Wigan’s midweek equaliser, United will be looking to return to winning ways tomorrow when they head to the West Midlands to take on Wolverhampton Wanderers.

As ever in football, and in particular Leeds United, Tuesday’s display and result raised more questions than answers and, like most in the near 20,000 crowd, I was somewhat confused by the substitutions.

Whilst Garry Monk claimed fitness played a part in two of the three changes the message that it appeared to send out very much handed the initiative and attacking momentum back to a visiting side who were (and still are) located in the division’s bottom three.

Quite apart from his fantastic goal, I thought Chris Wood had one of his best matches in a white shirt with his work rate and movement much improved from earlier in the season, and whilst Hadi Sacko and Pablo Hernandez didn’t have their best games they would have definitely forced the visitors more on the back foot than those who replaced them.

However, tomorrow sees United face Wolves, now managed by Walter Zenga. Indeed, the former Italian stopper has been linked with the Whites on several occasions.

Neither team has won in almost a month, but anyone who saw Wolves totally dominate Aston Villa recently away from home will know that this will prove a stern test for United at one of their least lucky away venues.

Just when United appear to be curing their long-term defensive woes, with Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley looking the best central defensive partnership United have possessed in years, it’s the midfield that is now their Achilles heel.

It was abundantly apparent on Tuesday evening how much United miss Liam Bridcutt in terms of someone who can both seize and retain possession and see a lead safely home to a victory, even when the team is not at its very best.

It’s also extremely unfortunate that just when he was starting to get into full swing for the season Stuart Dallas has also been afflicted by injury.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar line-up to the one that started against Wigan with the one possible difference being Matt Grimes, Alex Mowatt or possibly Ronaldo Vieira replacing Kemar Roofe, who was once again not at his best on Tuesday evening.

United are a single point and two places better off than their hosts on Saturday and let’s hope that can remain so by the end of the 90 minutes.

Prediction: Wolves 1 Leeds United 1.

KEITH INGHAM

A sad note before matters from the ‘Theatre of Eternal Hope’, Leeds legend Gary Sprake passed away on Wednesday at the age of 71. He played from 1963-1973 and made over 500 appearances. The thoughts of Leeds fans everywhere are with his family.

A late, late Wigan equaliser denied Leeds all three points on Tuesday, a frustrating evening for over 19,000 fans as Leeds failed to take advantage of a first-half Chris Wood goal. Leeds need to learn that if you have a team on the ‘back foot’ they need to finish them off.

Kemar Roofe did okay in Stuart Dallas’ absence. Hadi Sacko, on the other wing, made the goal but wasn’t as prevalent as in other games at Elland Road. Much has been made about the late substitutions and many blamed Garry Monk for interrupting the team balance to give Wigan their late leveller. I’d question more the attitude of the players coming on than his decision to use them.

Tomorrow, Leeds travel to indifferent Wolves who lost their last game 1-0 at Brighton and sit 15th. New owners would have expected much more.

Last season saw a cracking game in which Leeds won 3-2 in front of the Sky cameras.

I’d settle for a 1-0 win but I think there once again might be a few goals in this fixture. Hopefully with Leeds back to winning ways.

Prediction: Wolves 2 Leeds United 3.

DAVID WATKINS

Attempting to predict scores in the Championship is difficult; predicting Leeds’ results is impossible. But a quick look through Wolves’ record suggests they are even more unpredictable than we are. Currently without a win in four, their most recent three games saw narrow one goal defeats to in-form Brighton and Norwich, either side of a decent draw at Villa. The fourth game was a 2-1 defeat to Wigan and we know all about them. Wolves also followed up a 4-0 thrashing at home by Barnsley with a 2-0 win at Newcastle, so be careful with your cash if betting on this game!

For Leeds, this is another good signpost for the rest of the season. We cannot keep believing we have a promotion capable side at the same time as seeing us losing points to sides struggling in the division. The absence of Stuart Dallas is not helping our cause at the moment and unless Garry Monk can come up with something that better works without him, the best I can see us doing at Molineux is draw.

Prediction: Wolves 1 Leeds United 1.

MATTHEW EVANS

The failure to pick up more than a point in the previous two games is down, in large part, to the opposition doing their homework on Garry Monk’s setup.

Both Derby and Wigan worked hard to put pressure on our play from the back, they put bodies in the midfield and were careful to stymie any potential counter attack. Both also exploited our seemingly perpetual inability to defend corners.

There has been great progress made in recent months but what the team needs now, more than anything, is a plan B. Unfortunately the trio of Grimes, Mowatt and Antonsson proved a very ineffective alternative on Tuesday night. We’ll do okay at Wolves but I think another draw beckons.

Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Leeds United 1.

STEPHEN CLARK

Watching Leeds United certainly tests its supporters levels of optimism and pessimism. Results such as the draw against Wigan on Tuesday should make us all take a breath and look at some realism.

In its current state Leeds United are a mid-table outfit but one which certainly has potential. The last two results have been hugely disappointing but the performances give me more reason to look at the future with a glass that is half full.

More aggression in an attacking sense is what is needed as despite dominating possession in phases against both Derby and Wigan, the number of chances that have been created are few and far between. But ripping up the plan and starting again on the back of a last-gasp equaliser is not the way forward.

Wolves will certainly offer a stiffer test than Wigan and it will be interesting to see if their more attacking style will offer Leeds the chance to exploit any gaps that they leave as they push forward. Personally, I would stick with the side that started against Wigan and hope that Kemar Roofe gains in confidence from being given the chance to start games. Wolves are a punter’s nightmare to predict so with a huge dollop of realism thrown in I’ll be happy with a point away from home.

Prediction: Wolves 1 Leeds United 1.

MIKE GILL
After a fundamentally sound, but ultimately disappointing performance against a very ordinary Wigan side, Leeds need to press on.

The fact that, had they held out on Tuesday, they would have been one point away from the play-off places speaks volumes about the tightness of the Championship.

Roofe looked a livelier prospect than Mowatt out wide and it is hoped that he gets another start.

Wolves are also a “work in progress” but should prove tough opposition.

Prediction: Wolves 1 Leeds United 1.

Leeds United Under-23s coach Carlos Corberan.

Leeds United: FA to investigate violent scenes at United Under-23s’ game at Rhyl