YEP Jury: Table-topping Leeds United have the chance to lay down early-season marker

Our fans’ panel have their say on tomorrow’s clash between the Championship’s top two – Leeds United and Swansea City.

Thursday, 29th August 2019, 3:12 pm
Centre-back Ben White, above-middle, and defender Stuart Dallas, above-right, have been in outstanding form for Leeds so far this season, as has captain Liam Cooper, above-left.

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Borja Bastón of Swansea celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot against Queens Park Rangers. (Picture: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)


Well, we’ve already reached the end of the Championship’s opening month, and what a month it’s been.

Just as they did at the end of August last season, following a 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough, United sit top of the tree.

A win against tomorrow’s opponents Swansea, who have surprised the pundits by starting brightly, would better Leeds’ points haul from this time last year. However, claiming the three points will be no easy task.

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Picture: Tony Johnson.

The Swans are the league’s top scorers with Borja Baston and Bersant Celina weighing in with seven of the club’s 11 goals thus far. But that shouldn’t faze a Leeds defence that includes Ben White. The youngster has taken Championship football in his stride under Marcelo Bielsa, while Stuart Dallas has also started brightly.

If Leeds pick up the three points here they will put any lingering doubts about their title prospects to bed.

The performances are there, now it’s time for the Whites to signal their intentions to the rest of the league.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Swansea City 2.


The young Leeds team that outplayed an experienced Stoke side on Tuesday shows we have some real depth to our squad this season. The result was a disappointment, almost unfair, but it was great experience for them. But we all know the Carabao Cup is a mere side show.

Tomorrow we get back to the main event and, just five games in, we have a top-of-the-table clash against a Swansea side that has matched our results so far.

A closer look at the Swans’ opponents suggests a marginally easier start than Leeds’; the Swans have beaten Hull, Preston, QPR and Birmingham, and drew at Derby who are yet to find their form. Nevertheless, any win in the Championship is hard earned so we cannot underestimate the Welshmen.

Leeds, at their best, will have too much for Swansea and with well-earned rests this week for Hernandez, Klich, Alioski, Bamford, Dallas and Cooper, if all are fit I’m expecting another three points. To go into the international break unbeaten in the league will match the start we put together last season.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 Swansea City 0.


Tomorrow brings another unbeaten side to LS11. Swansea have changed their squad significantly from last season, Dan James and Olly McBurnie sold on for much-needed revenue.

They have been praised for their free-flowing football and, despite the young age of their defence, have conceded only seven goals in five Championship fixtures. They are only behind Leeds courtesy of United’s better goal difference (1).

Liam Cooper’s form has brought a call-up for Scotland’s games in the first international break of the season. Hopefully, the skipper will be back in the starting XI tomorrow but his deputy, Gaetano Berardi, ‘filled his shoes’ very well at Stoke, so Cooper may have to wait to be recalled. It looks like another sell-out at Elland Road to see the top two battle for first place before the infuriating break stops domestic football for two weeks. I’m not the only one who thinks that this is too soon into the season; in United’s case they have momentum and are playing superbly.

Let’s hope they sign off with a win!

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Swansea City 1.


After the excitement of Tuesday night against Stoke City in the cup and the affirmation that Helder Costa and Eddie Nketiah are among the best substitutes in our history, we entertain Swansea.

Elland Road will be packed to the rafters again as United face their biggest test so far this season.

The Swans have got off to a flying start despite the loss of Oliver McBurnie and Dan James. Scoring goals does not seem to be a problem for them as they have this season’s leading scorer in Borja Baston.

The Spaniard has netted five goals; one more than Patrick Bamford.

Second in the table, equal on points and a slightly inferior goal difference means that this should be a fascinating encounter.

It could also produce a few goals and it will be fascinating to see if Marcelo Bielsa’s ‘A’ squad can keep up their great defensive record.

With the Elland Road faithful roaring them on, I’m backing the Whites to edge this top-of-the-table contest.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Swansea City 2.


Some people are building up this one as a six pointer – a seven pointer if you add the one it’s going to give us to the rest of the season.

Swansea are this year’s Norwich, some say. ‘They’re going to be the ones who threaten’. I say, stuff and nonsense. I have proven already this season that my visions of the future are the only ones worth paying attention to.

All my score predictions have been ‘morally’ if not technically’ correct so far and, though it will be a tough game, I cannot see any reason why the Welsh cannot be sent home with their tails between their legs.

The Swans play similarly to us but, come on, with the lights turned off in a dark room, I look quite similar to George Clooney. So, another victory and a morale-boosting one at that.

The second half against ‘big-bucks’ Stoke has whetted the appetite of our lads and I can see us turning on the style with the return of the ‘grown ups’ to the side.

Having said all that, Kiko Casilla still may have to make a save.

Prediction: Leeds United 3 Swansea City 2.


Poor team selection, poor defending and poor refereeing all contributed to a needless exit from the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night. Not that you’d realise we’d gone out at all based on the jovial atmosphere at Elland Road even after penalty kicks had been taken. There’s a clear, collective decision that the league is all that matters this season.

That means tomorrow matters more than most games. We’ve had two top v bottom games in a row and now face an early first v second clash for the season. It might not mean much at this stage but the league table suggests that Swansea will provide the toughest test so far.

I’m not totally convinced that we’ve banished the Elland Road nerves that set in at the end of last season. A late winner against Brentford aside, we’ve looked unsure in front of our own fans and you could easily see the penalty defeat unsettling a side that is, so far, undefeated.

I expect to see Marcelo Bielsa name the same side that played the first game against Stoke a week ago and I’m hoping for a similar positive result, though it clearly won’t be as easy.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 Swansea City 1.