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12 Aug 2015 12:22pm, by Gary Shaw



On Saturday, Leeds kicked the season off with a 1-1 draw at home to Burnley, the result and performance where both impressive and should give fans confidence that Leeds will at least be able to get themselves into the top half this season, maybe a little higher even, you never know with the championship. Chris Wood made his competitive debut and whilst is link up play seems good I wasn’t that impressed. I will give him at least ten games until I make a proper judgement on whether he is a good or bad signing. On the other hand it was the best game I have seen Mirco Antenucci play for Leeds, his goal was superb and he could have had a second. What also pleased me was that he proved that he can link up well with the midfield.


Doncaster Rovers

I have mentioned before that I would like to see a different team to the one we saw against Burnley, mainly for fitness reasons, however, also to give other players a chance to push for the first team for our league games. The likes of Silvestri, Byram, Bamba, Bellusci, Antenucci, Cook and Mowatt. I would like to see rested as in my opinion we pretty much know already what all of these players will bring to the team. Luke Murphy, I would also like to see rested as he played Monday night for the under 21’s and I am hoping he will be able to play against Reading. Chris Wood and Stuart Dallas, I would like to see get some game time, however, I don’t really want them to start the game, as it may affect their fitness for Reading and Bristol City.

The team I would pick (4-3-3): Turnbull, Berardi, Wooton, Cooper, Taylor, Adeyemi, Phillips, Sloth, Erwin, Walters, Doukara.
Most popular team (According to forum): Turnbull, Berardi, Wooton, Bamba, Taylor, Adeyemi, Cook, Mowatt, Byram, Antenucci, Wood/Erwin.

My prediction: Doncaster, are a good team with experienced players such as: Chaplow, Wellens, Coppinger, Butler, Jones and Tyson. I think it will be a good game and I think we will just about get the win I am going for a 2-1 win for Leeds. It will not be easy, however, I still have dreadful memories of the Bradford game from just under a year ago. Of course, the result I think will depend on what sides both teams put out. At this moment in time I hope we will have learned from that Bradford game last season and will be able to get the win.


Reading

Reading are a team who I think will improve this season but I still don’t think they are good enough to reach the play offs this season. The strengths of the team are: the team has plenty of players with championship experience, they have a good mix of experience and less experienced players and I think they will be desperate to improve on their home form from last season.

The team I want to see us play and also think we will play against Reading is 4-3-3: Silvestri, Berardi, Bellusci, Bamba, Taylor, Cook, Murphy (if fit enough to start if not Adeyemi),Mowatt, Byram,Wood and Dallas. If any players play particularly well against Doncaster, then I would also like to see them play on Sunday as well, I suspect Antenucci is also very close to the starting 11 as well.

My prediction: I have to be honest but at this stage, I don’t see Leeds winning the game. I predict it will be a 1-1 draw, which is a good result for us. I think we have enough to get a draw from the game at the moment. If we put on a good show verses Doncaster then yes we could win the game, if we lose to Doncaster, then maybe it could be a first league defeat of the season.


Question for readers: Does Mirco Antenucci deserve to start against Reading on Sunday?

05 Aug 2015 09:14pm, by Gary Shaw



Today marks the start of a new season and new hope at Elland Road. The new start could not really have a more difficult beginning. A home game against a team, Burnley, who kept three clean sheets in their final three premier league games last season. However, in my opinion if Leeds are going to improve this season they cannot afford to lose games like this and should be looking to even get a win. Burnley are a good team there is no doubt about that, they have in my opinion everything they need to launch a bid for the top six, maybe not top two; A calm and positive manager, A variety of playing styles and plenty of players with championship experience. They certainly surprised me two seasons ago and were more than worthy of promotion two seasons ago.

But this Leeds United team has grown in confidence especially over the last week. A fantastic win verses Everton last weekend started this new confidence off, where in the end I felt Everton where lucky we didn’t win by more than two goals. Stuart Dallas from Brentford also appears a good signing, we will have to hope he can bring his Brentford form to the team, whilst Sol Bamba appears to be a very popular choice of captain and did a good job in my opinion when he was captain last season.

The strengths of this Burnley team are; The strike force they have so many options i.e. Barnes, Vossen, Vokes, Sordell, Jutkiewickz and Long. They also have three very impressive wingers in Michael Kightly, Scott Arfield and George Boyd who I think could cause us problems defensively. The team as a whole is strong and very well balanced with players such as Matthew Taylor and Michael Duff helping this.


My Predictions for Burnley

I think it will be a one all draw. Two weeks ago I would have predicted Burnley to win this game comfortably. However, Leeds confidence over the last week has doubled in my opinion and the whole performance vs Everton means I don’t think we will lose the game. I think it will be a very tight game it may even be 0-0. 1-1 would not be too bad a result, we cannot afford to lose the game in my opinion.

My Predicted Leeds team (4-3-3): Silvestri, Berardi, Bellusci, Bamba, Taylor, Adeyemi, Cook, Mowatt, Byram, Wood, Dallas.

My Predicted Burnley team (4-4-2): Heaton, Darikwa, Keane, Duff, Mee, Arfield, Ulvestad, Jones, Boyd, Vossen, Barnes.


What I expect from Leeds this season?

I think the minimum target needs to be a top half finish and if we make the top ten I would be delighted. I have confidence in Uwe Rosler and believe that he should be given time, our start to the season is very difficult in my opinion and I hope all Leeds fans will be patient with Uwe. Some fans I spoke to believe that we may be able to have a serious push for the top six, Looking at our fixtures if we can get to 14-15 points before the start of October then I believe we would have a reasonable chance. With games such as Burnley, Derby, Ipswich and Middlesbrough to start with it will make it very difficult to make that good a start, however, this is the championship and anything is possible. Overall, there are 8-10 teams better prepared, in terms of squad size and strength, for a top 6 push than us, therefore, top ten is the most realistic target for the season. I just hope fans aren’t going to judge Uwe Rosler on whether he gets us into the top six or not.

Key Player- Chris Wood; Leeds main problem last season was the strikeforce not getting enough goals, however, the addition of Chris Wood I hope and believe will be a good solution to this problem. Didn’t have the best time at Leicester in my opinion, however, there were a lot of potential reasons for this. His previous experience in the championship shows there is a good chance he can find his goal scoring touch again at Elland Road. Alex Mowatt will be key again to our chances as well.

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