The Premier League will brace itself for an enticing encounter as Leeds United play hosts to Wolves at Elland Road on Monday.

A tactical battle is set to transpire on Monday as Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United take on Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves at the Elland Road. The hosts are coming into this game on the back of a supreme start to the campaign, following their promotion to the Premier League this summer.

The Whites have won two of their four matches against Fulham and Sheffield United respectively, while their performances over Premier League giants Liverpool and Manchester City raised a lot of eyebrows. In fact, they managed to hold Man City to a 1-1 draw in their last match and are ahead of Wolverhampton Wanderers heading into this game.

Wolves, however, have also secured two victories so far this campaign. Incidentally, both of their wins have also come against Sheffield United and Fulham, much like weekend opponents. They were poor against Manchester City, though, slumping to a 3-1 defeat earlier in the campaign.

That said, the West Midlands outfit has started to show a bit of promise, of late and will be desperate for their third victory of the season as they look to push further up the table. And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will take a look at both these sides ahead of this fascinating encounter in the Premier League on Monday.

Tactics & Team News

Leeds United

Bielsa was dealt with two major blows last week as both Diego Llorente and Liam Cooper picked up injuries during the international break. The former has been ruled out for a few weeks while Cooper is a doubt and is unlikely to feature on Monday.

Leeds United have extended the contract of Gaetano Berardi this week, but he too remains sidelined, meaning we could Bielsa recalling Pascal Struijk back into the starting lineup. The youngster may feature alongside Robin Koch and Luke Ayling, with the home side likely to opt for a three-man backline against Wolves.

In midfield, Pablo Hernandez is available once again after missing out the past few matches due to injury. He could be an option for Bielsa in the second half, with the Argentine most likely to deploy Kalvin Phillips in the holding midfield role, with additional support from Mateusz Klich and Stuart Dallas.

Dallas, in particular, was impressive against Manchester City in the last game. The left-back can feature in central midfield, so we may see him operate alongside Klich, thus allowing Jack Harrison to occupy the left wingback role, though the Manchester City winger would ideally operate as a left-winger, with Dallas dropping back in defence.

Helder Costa, meanwhile, will be desperate to make an impression against his former side on Monday. The Portuguese should operate at right wing-back, looking to provide support to the offensive duo of Rodrigo Moreno and Patrick Bamford.

New signing Raphinha could make his Leeds United debut from the bench while the likes of Ian Poveda, Ezgjan Alioski and Tyler Roberts are all options for Bielsa in the final third.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2):Β Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Struijk; Costa, Klich, Phillips, Dallas, Harrison; Bamford, Rodrigo.

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Wolves

Nuno Espirito Santo has confirmed that Marcal has returned to training and could be available on Monday. It could serve as a massive boost for Wolves, were forced to play Romain Saiss in the left wingback role in the last game.

We expect Marcal to return to the side on Monday, thus allowing Saiss to shift back into his preferred centre-back position, at the expense of Max Kilman. He is set to form the three-man backline alongside Willy Boly and Conor Coady, with Rui Patricio starting in between the sticks.

Moving forward, Nuno has a lot of options in central midfield but is likely to opt for Ruben Neves and Leander Dendonkcer, with Joao Moutinho set to be given a breather following the international break. Neves is also better fitted to cope with Leeds United’s high press, especially Pedro Neto providing additional support in the number ten role.

Elsewhere, Wolves could persist with new signing Nelson Semedo ahead of Adama Traore, though the latter is almost guaranteed to come in during the second half. Marcal should be a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank, as mentioned earlier.

And finally, the Wolves attack is likely to be spearheaded by the offensive duo of Daniel Podence and Raul Jimenez. New signing Fabio Silva is another option for the visitors.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2):Β Patricio; Boly, Coady, Saiss; Semedo, Dendoncker, Neves, Marcal; Neto; Jimenez, Podence.

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Key Stats

  • Wolves could win four consecutive league meetings for the first time since a run of five between February 1958 and April 1960.
  • Patrick Bamford has been involved in four goals in his four league starts against Wolves, scoring three and setting up one.
  • Wolves have lost three of their last five league away games, as many as they had in their previous 16.
  • Leeds United had faced a Premier League-high 73 shots after the first four rounds of fixtures.
  • This is only the third Premier League encounter – the home side have won both previous games.

Player to Watch

Robin Koch

With experienced defensive figureheads like Cooper, Llorente and Berardi likely to be out, Robin Koch will be handed an enormous task of marshalling the Leeds United defence on Monday.

The ex-SC Freiburg centre-back hasn’t had the best of starts to his Premier League career, notably conceding two penalties in the first two matches. However, he has done a remarkable job since and is evidently starting to acclimatize himself under the tactical setup of Marcelo Bielsa.

On Monday, the onus will be on him to provide that solidity in the defensive unit. His ability to read the game, combined with his aggression and passing could be critical as Leeds United look to continue on their promising start to the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.

Prediction

Leeds United 1-1 Wolves

Leeds United have performed well against well-drilled opponents this season and there should be exceptions this time around. The Whites are missing a few of their key players, but have a solid attacking unit and it won’t be surprising to see them snatch yet another point on Monday.

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