Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds United: opposition view, star man and score prediction

Sheffield Wednesday travel to Leeds United's Elland Road this weekend in a crucial clash for both teams’ hopes of reach the play-offs and automatic promotion places respectively.

By Nancy Frostick
Wednesday, 10 April, 2019, 16:35

Ahead of the all-Yorkshire clash, we spoke to the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Joe Urquhart for the lowdown on Marcelo Bielsa’s men...

What can Sheffield Wednesday expect from Leeds?

Adam Reach scores against Leeds earlier this season. Pic Steve Ellis

When Leeds are at their Bielsa ball best they have swept a number of teams away with their high intense pressing - the 4-0 demolition of West Brom at Elland Road immediately springs to mind.

After a disappointing showing at Birmingham last weekend, where they failed to hit anywhere near their usual vigour, Leeds were back at full flow on Tuesday at Preston.

Possession based football can be expected along with a commitment to keeping the ball on the floor and attacking at will. Leeds like to dominate at every opportunity.

Bielsa's philosophy is very much attack at will which can usually leave United exposed to counter attacks, especially at home.

How have Leeds changed since Wednesday faced them earlier in the season?

Not a lot, really. The reverse fixture at Hillsborough was a hard-fought draw with two unbelievable goals from both teams. The strike from Adam Reach is one of the best I have seen live while Mateusz Klich's curling effort wasn't far behind.

Wednesday defended really well that night in the latter stages and deserved their point. Leeds, though, will look to assert themselves on the game from the first minute much like that evening.

How has 'spygate' impacted Leeds since it all came out?

It was a little bit of a distraction off the field as the EFL waiting to hand out their judgement but in all honesty it didn't really impact United's performances on the pitch.

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If anything, the incident brought the whole club closer together an create a "us against the world" mentality.

Who is Leeds' star man?

Pablo Hernandez. Many in West Yorkshire were left scratching their heads at how he failed to make it into the EFL Team of the Year.

The Spaniard has been directly involved in 23 of United's 68 goals this season, scoring 12 and assisting 11. When Pablo is on form, so are Leeds. He is Bielsa's wizard.

Are there any key absences in the team?

Marcelo Bielsa hasn't had a fully-fit squad at his disposable for a single game this season and Saturday will be no different. United left-back Barry Douglas has been ruled out for the season and is now the only major absence for the Argentine. The Scot damaged knee ligaments in the dramatic 3-2 victory over Millwall two weeks ago.

One player to watch in the squad

This is a tricky one... I'll go for Kalvin Phillips. The 23-year-old is just as crucial to Bielsa's system as his attacking players. Phillips has had a breakout season with the 63-year-old turning him into one of the best defensive midfielders in the division.

With United's commitment to attacking football he is the man who breaks up opposition counter attacks as the enforcer in front of the defence in the 4-1-4-1 formation. Keep an eye out for his range of passing, too.

Score prediction

I'll go with Leeds to sneak this one 2-1, although I have been impressed by Wednesday since Steve Bruce took over and their recent run of form has seen a play-off spot become a real possibility.

I wouldn't be surprised at a draw but with Leeds chasing the top two a win is a must for the Whites.