In exactly two weeks Leeds United will be kicking off the new campaign tab Elland Road against a strong Stoke City side. Today marks the third pre-season game for Marcelo Bielsa and it’s expected the original team from the Forest Green game will be the majority involved at Roots Hall.
I expect a 4-1-4-1 formation given the first team that was used at Forest Green. I think there may be a couple of changes from that side so players can get used to each other again but it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see the same team as that trip.
GK – Jamal Blackman – Unless there is an injury to Blackman it’s a bit of a surprise he hasn’t started yet. He needs to get used to playing with the defenders in front of him.
RB – Luke Ayling – Ayling is up there with the most obvious names on the team-sheet these days and will be when the Stoke game rolls around. The only question is whether it’ll be a back three or four.
CB – Gaetano Berardi – The competition at centre-back was underlined on Thursday as Ronaldo Vieira, Mateusz Klich and Laurens De Bock all lined up in a back three. Berardi is now competing with Cooper and Jansson for the role.
CB – Liam Cooper – A certainty to start and someone who is now looking likely to play this season despite having a very poor time last season. Seems to have impressed Bielsa.
LB – Tom Pearce – Stuart Dallas played left-back last week but is he the answer for the season? He does a good job and maybe with some good coaching he can play there on a consistent basis but we need Pearce to be getting some game time in the first-team this summer.
DM – Kalvin Phillips – Played the anchor role last week which meant Adam Forshaw could play more advanced and in with Samu Saiz in an attacking role.
CM – Adam Forshaw – He looked very good in the attacking midfield role, linking the team and keeping the side ticking over. Interesting move by Bielsa to put him there.
AM – Lewis Baker – The three attacking players behind Roofe all floated around, Alioski tried but naturally stayed wide. It would be good to see Baker play in a side with Saiz and Hernandez given how close the season is.
AM – Samu Saiz – Looked like he was enjoying himself for the first time in 2018 at Forest Green. Got on the ball and made things happen. It was nice to see.
AM – Pablo Hernandez – Same as last week, switching positions and floating around the forward lines.
ST – Kemar Roofe – The only realistic and viable option we currently have. Got into good positions on Tuesday and scored just the one.