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Sunday, 5th August 2018 Kick-off 16:30
Match Preview: Leeds United v Bristol City
Tuesday, 14th Feb 2017 16:42 by @LucasMonk_
After a particularly unexpected and wholly galling defeat at the hands of Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon, Leeds United must now attempt to rediscover the valiant and venturesome spirit that has seemingly deserted them in recent weeks, as they do battle with Bristol City at Elland Road tonight in a 7:45pm kick-off.
The defeat to Cardiff was an omnishambles; abundant with perfunctory passes and defensive frailties that were mercilessly exploited by Neil Warnock’s charges. United were insipid, feeble in the challenge and innocuous in attack. Away apathetic aimless long balls were headed, abruptly halted were discombobulated wingers, discontented were the crowd. One with even a mere scintilla of intelligence can detect from the symptoms of Saturday’s debacle that it was a game that, although an aberration in the present season, was a stark reminder of the past.
Indeed, the inaccurate half-hearted hoofs, the lackadaisical tackles, and the ubiquitous discontent come the final whistle, were all reminiscent of a dark time when Mr Warnock himself held the managerial post at Elland Road, and frankly, this cannot continue if Leeds wish to stake a claim for a play-off berth. But scenarios of Saturday’s kind will eventuate with greater regularity between the present moment and the season’s end.
Low-lying sides, languishing in the mire of mediocrity, will come to our cherished part of West Yorkshire, and they will batten down the hatches and adopt a conservative and cautious approach, ceding large quantities of possession in exchange for a deep defensive blockade to shield their net. To this, Leeds must adapt - and quickly.
Bristol City are tonight’s opponents, and are an outfit who appear almost certain to adopt a mentality akin to that which I have described. Tonight’s match will be another stern test of United’s capabilities, and whether Garry Monk’s side will prove to be adept at adapting their style to suit differing forms of opposition is one that remains to be seen. All that matters in this match is the result. It was widely hoped that we would vanquish Cardiff in consummate style, but now we, perhaps even with an acute degree of apprehension, approach this match longing for victory, of any kind and in any manner.
At full-time will we be able to bask in a bout of glory having returned to winning ways? Or will we be nervously peering over our shoulder to find that Norwich are breathing down our necks? Whether or not the cultured Eunan O’Kane is recalled to central midfield, I feel, with have a significant bearing on the outcome.
Left-back Charlie Taylor remains afflicted with a hamstring injury he sustained prior to Christmas, while midfielder Liam Bridcutt is suspended having received two yellow cards in the disappointing defeat to Cardiff City on Saturday.
Bullish central defender Pontus Jansson was a notable absentee in the aforementioned match by way of illness, but he could return to the starting lineup tonight in place of Liam Cooper.
There are no injuries plaguing any members of the squad at Ashton Gate at present.
Lee Johnson will have the option of recalling right-back Adam Matthews and midfielder Korey Smith to his matchday squad, as the pair have both recently recovered from injuries.
Leeds United (4-2-3-1) - Green; Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi; Vieira, O’Kane; Barrow, Hernandez, Pedraza; Wood.
Bristol City (4-4-2) - Giefer; Little, Flint, Wright, Golbourne; Cotterill, Brownhill, Hegeler, Bryan; Taylor, Abraham.
Leeds United (5th)
Top Goalscorers: Chris Wood (21), Souleymane Doukara (5), Kyle Bartley (4).
Most Assists: Pablo Hernandez (6), Kemar Roofe (5), Hadi Sacko (3).
Highest Statistical Average Rating: Pontus Jansson (7.63).
Record in 2016-17 (League) - W: 17, D: 3, L: 11.
Goals For: 42
Goals Against: 32
Goal Difference: 10
Last 5 Matches: LWWLL
Top Goalscorers: Tammy Abraham (18), Lee Tomlin (5), Aaron Wilbraham (3).
Most Assists: Lee Tomlin (5), Gary O’Neil (3), Jamie Paterson (2).
Highest Statistical Average Rating: Aden Flint (7.21).
Record in 2016-17 (League) - W: 9, D: 5, L: 16.
Goals For: 41
Goals Against: 44
Goal Difference: -3
Last 5 Matches: LLDWD
Leeds have not suffered defeat to Bristol City at Elland Road since November 1979.
City's 1-0 victory at Ashton Gate in this season's earlier fixture brought an end to a run of eight league games without a win over Leeds.
Prolific hitmen Chris Wood and Tammy Abraham have scored the greatest proportion of their team's goals in the Championship this season (Wood 43%, Abraham 44%).
Memory Match: Bristol City 2-2 Leeds United
This enthralling encounter from the 2015-16 season saw the hosts mount a stunning fightback with United relinquishing what appeared to be an unassailable lead.
Writer’s Prediction: Leeds United 1-0 Bristol City
A marginal victory for Leeds. One that will be scrappy throughout with football that is aesthetically satisfactory proving a scarcity. I envisage that defeat is a calamity that cannot be afforded and such an outcome will most certainly derail our play-off bid.
Statistics derived from WhoScored.com
Photo: Action Images
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