How both teams currently stand
Fresh from their exciting 2 – 2 draw at Swansea on Tuesday, Championship leaders Leeds face another away game at Norwich on Saturday. The West Yorkshire side has been the talk of the English footballing fraternity so far this season. The Whites have adopted a high-intensity attacking gameplan, which is the hallmark of their legendary Argentinean head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
The Leeds fans have dubbed their side’s new attacking philosophy ‘Bielsa-Ball’. This new approach has given rise to a level of optimism throughout the club and the city that has been lacking since the early 2000’s. Critics of Marcelo Bielsa’s style believe that his rigorous demands on his players will lead to a sharp decline in the level of intensity and work rate when Leeds reach the crucial months of the Championship season in February and March. In his press conference on Thursday, the ex Chile and Argentina head-coach declared that he has no plan B or C and if he abandoned his strategy when times are tough, his players will lose faith in him and his philosophy. The resilience shown by the Leeds players in coming from behind twice at the Liberty Stadium showcases the mental strength that Bielsa has instilled in his team.
Norwich won the first game of the season against Preston on Tuesday night. Two late goals in the final ten minutes were enough to seal a much-needed win and ease the levels of anxiety amongst the Canaries fanbase. Norwich’s German head-coach Daniel Farke will be hoping that the scrappy win over Preston will be the catalyst for an upturn in results for the East Anglican outfit. Former Dutch internal goalkeeper Tim Krul played a pivotal role in securing the three points on Tuesday, making some fantastic saves to keep the game scoreless for 79 minutes. The Norwich fans have been critical of the side’s style of play so far this season. There has been an absence of pace and guile in Norwich’s attack in the first four league games, and they will need to improve their performance levels vastly if they are to take something from Saturday’s match at Carrow Road.
Leeds captain Liam Cooper limped out of the warmup at Swansea and is now on the injury list for the next three weeks. Swedish centre-back Pontus Jansson who also missed the draw in Wales will undergo late tests to prove his fitness. Leeds top-scorer Kemar Roofe is expected to start ahead of the recent £10 million forward Patrick Bamford who performed well of the substituted bench on Tuesday.
Daniel Farke is expected to make some changes to the eleven who started against Preston. German defensive midfielder Tom Trybull is likely to be named alongside Alex Teety at the heart of the midfield. Argentine winger Emiliano Buendia who signed from Spanish side Getafe in June could be set for his first ever start for the Canaries.
Norwich City: DLWLW
Leeds United: WWWWD
Head to head:
Norwich City wins: 22
Leeds United wins: 19
Previous meeting at Carrow Road:
Saturday 28th April 2018
Both sides have averaged over 50% possession and a minimum of 13 shots on goal so far this season A free-flowing attacking game looks to be on the cards. Leeds has scored at least two goals in each league so far this season and now possess a set-piece specialist in new signing Barry Douglas. Defending set-plays have been an issue for Norwich in the first four league matches, so this an avenue Leeds will likely look to exploit throughout the ninety minutes. Leeds injury crisis at centre-half meant that regular full-backs Gaetano Berardi and Luke Ayling started in the middle of the defence at the Liberty Stadium. The absence of a commanding central defender was exploited by Swansea’s tall, gangly forward Oliver McBurnie, who scored a brace.
If Pontus Jansson fails to start the game, then Norwich’s bulky Finnish attacker Teemu Pukki will be looking to take advantage of the missing players in the Leeds central defence. Leeds will be desperate to keep their unbeaten run going, and they possess better-attacking options in the final third in comparison with Norwich. A 2-1 win for Leeds is the predicted scoreline with Kemar Roofe scoring at least once for the whites.
This article is written by Robert Giles. Rob is a thirty year old, long-suffering Leeds United fan from Dublin.