Yorkshire derby to deliver action but few goals
Marcelo Bielsa's free-scoring Premier League newcomers Leeds United make the short trip south to face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Chris Wilder's men have yet to get going this season, but should now begin to be less charitable to their opposition, starting with Sunday's lunchtime clash. Read our preview here:
Charity ends at home
After two matches, the Blades have scored and accrued zero goals and points respectively. They were far too vulnerable on the counter-attack against Wolverhampton Wanderers in their opening game, and were on the back foot almost from the outset away at Aston Villa; centre-back and defensive lynchpin John Egan's 12th-minute dismissal saw them bravely hold out for over an hour of play, but they were unable to muster much in the way of attacks themselves after conceding the only goal of the encounter. Thankfully, they have the precociously talented Ethan Ampadu to deputise for Egan, and the Welsh youngster's range of passing will be key in making the inevitable pressing by Leeds less effective. Oli Norwood should resume his place in midfield, and his accurate through balls will make Bielsa think twice about pushing up his defensive line too much.
Defensive frailties need curtailing
In sharp contrast, Leeds have shared 14 goals in their first two matches back in the top tier for over a decade, being on both the wrong and right end of 4-3 scorelines against champions Liverpool and fellow newcomers Fulham respectively. Bielsa has always espoused an attacking approach throughout his illustrious managerial career, but he will be only too keenly aware that his charges will not be able to score three or four every game. One of the easiest ways to prevent chances being created against them is to retain possession much better in their own half. Kalvin Phillips is best placed in midfield to make that task his own whilst feeding the wingers with his accurate diagonal balls.
A more miserly outcome in the offing
Two differing but progressive tactical systems facing off against each other ought to make for a fascinating fixture this weekend. Wilder comes into the encounter off the back of five successive defeats in all competitions (the only time this has happened in his time at the helm). That said, he has proven himself as a great innovator on and off the pitch, and will doubtless be looking for a performance free of self-inflicted errors. Goals have not been hard to come by for Leeds thus far, but they'll find themselves pitted with a side that will happily sit and soak up the pressure, as well as attempt to break the press if hemmed in too much. For these reasons, I anticipate under 2.5 goals at odds of 1.75 with 888sport.