Leeds (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

With the new season just over a month old, it’s fair to say things need to change – and quick.

No wins. More goals conceded than any other side (12), out of the League Cup, a manager blaming the local press for fan ‘negativity’ and our most important player already injured.

It’s a real shame Callum Wilson won’t make this one, as he could’ve hurt a Leeds side who have just ONE senior centre-back fit for this one, however that in itself should have Allan Saint-Maximin licking his lips.

With Leeds set to bring a big following up to St James’ Park and it always a rowdy atmosphere when the two sides meet, this has the potential to be a tasty game and meeting a pair of northern giants in dire need of points.

That said, will the players and Steve Bruce give us something to get behind? Or, as we’ve seen in recent weeks, will chants of “WE WANT BRUCIE OUT” be louder than our response to yet another defeat last weekend?

This is first of three winnable games before the international break – we have Leeds, Watford and Wolves to come between now and October 2nd – so it could be the perfect springboard for Bruce in his battle to steady a sinking ship or the moment he hits the iceberg.

Team news

  • Willock, Clark, Manquillo – All passed fit to play, despite picking up ‘knocks’ in the 4-1 defeat at Man Utd.
  • Ryan Fraser – ‘In contention’ after returning to training this week.
  • Karl Darlow – Fit again and could start for the first time since February if Bruce decides to drop Woodman.
  • Callum Wilson – Ruled out with a thigh injury. Expected to miss our next three games.
  • Jonjo Shelvey – Remains out with a calf injury.
  • Martin Dubravka – Could be back in training next week after an infection in his foot has cleared.
  • Paul Dummett – Has suffered a setback with a calf injury picked up over pre-season.

For the visitors, Bielsa has confirmed that Pascal Struijk, Robin Koch, Diego Llorente and Adam Forshaw are all out of tomorrow night’s game, leaving them with just one fit centre-back in Liam Cooper.

Patrick Bamford has been passed fit, however, despite rumours he could miss out with a hamstring problem.

Predicted line ups

(5-3-2): Darlow – Manquillo, Hayden, Lascelles Clark, Ritchie – S Longstaff, Willock, Almiron – Saint-Maximin, Gayle.

(4-1-4-1): Meslier – Dallas, Ayling, Cooper, Firpo – Phillips – Raphinha, Klich, Roberts, Harrison – Bamford.

We may have conceded a few poor goals and collapsed late on at Old Trafford, but I think Steve Bruce may just stick with the new-look defence that started at Man Utd.

This could mean Murphy, Schar and Fernandez remain on the bench for this one, however I can see Karl Darlow will come back into the side now he’s fit again and fully recovered from Covid.

Freddie Woodman struggled last weekend and has conceded twelve goals in four league games so far, so Bruce seems likely to go with the man that rarely let him down last season – especially in such a big game he know he needs to win.

I also think the midfield will be unchanged, providing we stick with a 5-3-2.

Willock and Longstaff did a lot of good work both on and off the ball at Man Utd, while Almiron could come to life against a Leeds side who give you space to get in behind their midfield if you break the press.

Up top, I can see Dwight Gayle replacing Joelinton.

The former has barely kicked a ball this season, but the big Brazilian isn’t an out and out striker who makes good runs into the box – which is exactly what we’ll need against a makeshift Leeds defence able to start just one senior centre-back.

Match prediction

I can see there being plenty of goals in this one.

No one has conceded more than us this season (12), yet Leeds have the second worst defence in the league four games in.

Mix that with the fact both sides will be gunning for all three points after winless starts to 2021/22, I think we could be in for plenty action at both ends.

Sadly, I think Ritchie could struggle badly with Raphinha’s pace and trickery and see Bamford’s movement as another area of concern, so fear we’ll end up on the wrong side of a five-goal thriller on Friday night.

Let’s hope the lads can prove me wrong and take us into the weekend with a much needed win!

Prediction: Newcastle 2-3 Leeds

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan, he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC!

11 thoughts on “Leeds (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

  1. Steve Bruce seems very stressed and his reaction to the press showed it. If anything, I think Ryder and The Chronic have gone easy on Bruce and the team. Bruce is saying the media are stirring up the fans. I think it is more the ****, negative football doing that and Bruce’s own pr!ckly and negative comments on zoom calls. Why still zoom calls anyway?

    I think Bruce’s attitude is filtering down to coaches and players alike. Some of his points may even be valid but he is no longer the put your arm around a player type Manager (if he ever was) and is now acting like a petulant child. Reading Charlie Bennet;s piece there seems to have been a bust up with Hayden, who did back off for that Fernandez goal. But, I bet the rate of scoring from there, 25 yards out, is about 10%. The goalie usually has time to get there or it ends up in the stands. Hayden still should have closed him down more to make it harder but there’s not much point in yelling about it.

    Then there was the running stats. Bruce saying we are not running as much as other teams. What does he expect when he sets up with 8 at the back about 25 yards out and bypasses the midfield with a Woodman hoof?

    We watch our games and a lot of the time the back 8 are shuffling from side to side trying to make a tackle or block and trying to keep the opposition from having easy chances. That’ll get you lower running stats. Maybe we should try a transition game and playing with our midfielders actually in midfield?

    I would also like to hear from a Villa fan to see if he got like this with them just before he got the sack. My guess is that he did because he is a charlatan. His nice guy act is just that, an act. As soon as he is under pressure you see the real Steve Bruce. A Manager out of his depth and blaming everybody else.

    I would really like Ryder to ask about the 30% win percentage just to wind Bruce up a bit more. I doubt if he is allowed at the press conferences now though 🙂 Plus, I just dont get attacking Wor Lee because he is one of the more positive journos and most of his stories are just bland. You just have to look at Lee’s player ratings to see he is usually supportive. He is usually one or two grades above what I would rate them. I think he even gave Donkey an 8 once 🙂


  2. I like to give Managers the benefit of the doubt when they first arrive. Yes, even Bruce. But after listening to him, it is hard to take him seriously. He bangs on about his experience, but he has experience of being ****. His NUFC win % is 30%, exactly what the average was for all the other clubs he has managed.

    He also tends to go on death spirals. We saw one last year and we may be in the midst of another right now.

    If he thinks a few chants of Bruce Out is negative he should check out some of the podcasts. They are all livid with him and if that is a guage of what is said in pubs then there is a massive reckoning for Brucie Boy soon.

    Again, like the media, I think the fans have held back for the most part and want to support the team, despite Bruce’s nonsense.


  3. Where do we find these Managers who say daft things in Press Conferences. It can’t all be Ashley as I dont think he has the contacts to recruit them. Bruce now has thrown the media, the fans and the players under the bus. Sounds like Pards when he was going through his greatest hits in his Big Book of Excuses. Then of course there was Kinnear and Ugly John Carver.

    When things went badly for McClaren he couldnt handle a press conference either. He looked like a deer in the headlights.


  4. Same **** different game really – in the sense our 8 players made a good fist of it – Joelinton was awful, Longstaff was poor & I thought Miggy struggled tonight as well – he can cut that diving **** out this season as well.


  5. Well a good game for the neutrals, end to end. Thought St Max was very good tonight and relieved to see Karl in goal, I am certain that Freddy would not of made the saves Karl did tonight, the kids too small and lightweight .
    Draw a fair result tbf.


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