Everything you need to know about Sheffield United's visit to Leeds United

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Sheffield United and Leeds United face each other in competitive action for the 82nd time at Elland Road this afternoon, with the visitors hoping to secure the victory which will see them draw level with their opponents in the head to head stakes.

Marcelo Bielsa’s employers have won 30 of their previous encounters with United who, now under the stewardship of caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom, make the short journey to West Yorkshire on 29.

The Star’s James Shield identifies some of the major figures set to be involved in today’s Premier League fixture and studies some of the facts and figures surrounding both teams.

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THE TEAMS: Leeds - Meslier, Ayling, Struijk, Llorente, Alioski, Harrison, Dallas, Phillips, Raphinha, Roberts, Bamford. United - Ramsdale, Ampadu, Jagielka, Stevens, Baldock, Osborn, Norwood, Fleck, Lundstram, McGoldrick, Brewster.

THE REFEREE: Graham Scott, who averages 2.76 cautions per game this term, takes charge while Jarred Gillett is the VAR. Scott oversaw United’s visit to Aston Villa in September, when four players were booked and John Egan was sent-off early on.

THE FORM GUIDE: United enter the game on the back of three straight defeats, after beating Aston Villa at Bramall Lane at the beginning of last month. They have conceded nine goals and scored only once - David McGoldrick’s winner over Villa - during that run. Leeds have drawn two, lost one and drawn one of their most recent four matches, conceding four goals and scoring twice. Both of those efforts came during their victory over Fulham before the international break.

THE MANAGERS: Heckingbottom spent four months in charge of Leeds in 2018, winning four and drawing four of his 16 matches at the helm before being replaced by Bielsa. The Argentine, who has managed both his own country and Chile at international level, boasts a win ratio of more than 50 percent since arriving at Elland Road following a brief spell at Lille.

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THE HISTORY LESSON: United have won their last two visits to Elland Road, with Chris Basham scoring the only goal of the game during what proved to be a pivotal encounter in the race for automatic promotion from the Championship two years ago. The last draw between these two rivals came in April 2006, when then United manager Neil Warnock was escorted from the touchline by police after reacting furiously to Gary Kelly’s tackle on Craig Short. His former assistant at United, Kevin Blackwell, was in charge of Leeds. Earlier that term, the two clubs eked-out their last draw at Elland Road.

Chris Basham celebrates scoring Sheffield United's winning goal on their last visit to Elland Road: Simon Bellis/SportimageChris Basham celebrates scoring Sheffield United's winning goal on their last visit to Elland Road: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Chris Basham celebrates scoring Sheffield United's winning goal on their last visit to Elland Road: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

THE LAST TIME OUT: Patrick Bamford scored a controversial late winner at Bramall Lane in September, heading home the only goal of the game in the 88th minute after United felt a foul should have been awarded during the build-up. Both goalkeepers excelled during the contest, with Leeds’ Illan Meslier producing a superb save to deny John Lundstram.

THE DETAILS: Leeds United versus Sheffield United kick-off 3pm today. Pre-match, in-game and post-match analysis are available via The Star, with more to follow in Monday’s print edition.