Leeds United will be dealt yet another tricky test as they face Hull City in the second round of Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

Leeds United’s return to the Premier League after 16 years was intense, to say the least. They showed remarkable courage, strength and determination – making the viewers almost forget the fact that their opponents were reigning English champions, Liverpool.

An unfortunate late penalty conceded by new signing Rodrigo saw the game come to a heartbreaking end as Leeds United ultimately fell 4-3. But their coach Marcelo Bielsa is not someone who clings on to the past, and that could be pivotal when they host Hull City, in the second round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

It is technically going to be Leeds’ first home game of the 2020/21 campaign, with the Whites also set to host fellow Premier League new boys Fulham on Saturday. Nevertheless, a win will be on the agenda for the home side as they look to advance further in the competition.

Hull City may have endured a rapid decline over the course of past few seasons, but they do have the pedigree as well as the quality to thwart teams like Leeds United, especially in a cup fixture.

The Tigers are coming on the back of a win over Sunderland in the previous round, though they had to rely on a penalty shootout. But, after a 2-0 victory over Gillingham in League One, coach Grant McCann will be hoping for a positive result. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this Carabao Cup fixture on Wednesday.

Tactics & Team News

Leeds United

Marcelo Bielsa, during an interview with Leeds Live, has confirmed that centre-back Liam Cooper is back in contention. The club captain had missed the Liverpool due to a muscular problem he picked up during the international break.

Cooper’s return could serve as a major boost for the home side, though it will force the young Pascal Struijk back to the bench. Robin Koch, therefore, is the one who could partner Cooper at the heart of the four-man backline.

Bielsa naturally doesn’t like to make too many changes and having dealt with the strenuous schedule of the Championship over the past couple of seasons, we expect the Argentine to stick with Luke Ayling and Stuart Dallas in the full-back positions.

Kalvin Phillips is another guaranteed starter in the holding midfield role, although there might be one change in the more advanced midfield slot. Pablo Hernandez may have to make way for Tyler Roberts, with Bielsa keeping one eye on the crucial Premier League game against Fulham on the weekend.

Mateusz Klich and Roberts should operate as the attacking midfielders, with Jack Harrison and Helder Costa assuming the wide offensive roles. And finally, the Leeds United attack could be led by Rodrigo, who is tipped to make his starting debut for the Whites.

Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1):ย Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips; Costa, Klich, Roberts, Harrison; Rodrigo

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Hull City

Hull City have no such injury problems heading into this fixture. They do have a relatively small squad, however, though that shouldn’t deter McCann from ringing in a few changes to the side that secured a victory over Gillingham.

The Tigers had been missing their long-standing number one goalkeeper, George Long, for well….long, but he is available on Wednesday. It could be an ideal opportunity for McCann to give him the nod over Matt Ingram in goal.

There might be a complete overhaul in the backline as well, with the likes of Lewis Coyle, Alfie Jones, Sean McLoughlin and Callum Elder replacing the current back-four consisting of Josh Emmanuel, Reece Burke, Jordy de Wijs and Brandon Fleming.

Daniel Batty appeared as a substitute in the last game and should feature in central midfield at the expense of Richard Smallwood, with Greg Docherty set to accompany him in the double-pivot. He is the only player to retain his place in the starting lineup for Hull City so far.

He isn’t the only one, however. Mallik Wilks is a key component of the Hull City attack and should once again feature as the right-winger. George Honeyman could also retain his role at number ten, though the same cannot be said for Keane Lewis-Potter, who might be replaced by James Scott, with Josh Magennis leading the Hull City attack.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Long; Coyle, Jones, McLoughlin, Elder; Batty, Docherty; Wilks, Honeyman, Scott; Magennis

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Key Stats

  • Leeds United have lost only one of their last eight games against Hull City in all competitions, with the sole defeat coming way back in December 2018.
  • Leeds United secured a league double over Hull City in the Championship last season. They won 2-0 at Elland Road before inflicting an emphatic 4-0 loss in the away fixture.
  • Hull City are one of the favourite opponents of Leeds United forward Tyler Roberts, with the Welshman scoring three goals in three appearances against the League One outfit.

Player to Watch

Robin Koch

Robin Koch endured an eventful Premier League debut, conceding a penalty against Liverpool within the first three minutes. It was an unfortunate game for the German international, who was coming on the back of international duty and had an inexperienced Struijk to partner him at the heart of the four-man backline.

This time, however, Koch will likely have a leader like Cooper alongside, up against a relatively inferior opponent in Hull City. Therefore, it could serve as an ideal opportunity for him to provide a strong performance and build up some confidence before he returns to Premier League action on the weekend.

Hull City, meanwhile, will be targeting Koch as the weak link in the Leeds United defence as he barely has any experience in English football and lacks communication with some of the more established players like Cooper, Ayling or Dallas. He is the one to watch out for.

Prediction

Leeds United 3-0 Hull City

Leeds United, under Marcelo Bielsa, have repeatedly shown that they only deserve to play at the highest level of the game and their performance against Liverpool on Saturday justified such status. So, the Whites shouldn’t find it all too difficult to secure a comfortable win against the third division Hull City this midweek.

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