With the international break finished, we can finally get back to proper football. A weekend without playing could be just what our players need after their first defeat of the season against QPR. Since that loss we’ve seen the transfer window slam shut, Leeds didn’t take part in any business on deadline day, and it looks as if we’ve got to look into the emergency loan market in order to strengthen once again.
Brian McDermott will take his men to the Reebok Stadium where they face a Bolton side who’ve endured a difficult time so far in their second successive season in the Championship. 0 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats leave Dougie Freedman’s side stuck at the bottom of the table.
For me, they’re in a false position. Looking at their team on paper it’s one of the strongest in the division. The likes of Jay Spearing, Stuart Holden and Chris Eagles could arguably walk straight into any Championship team. Jermaine Beckford hasn’t scored against us since leaving Elland Road, playing against us on 3 occasions. Let’s hope that continues beyond Saturday.
Eagles didn’t start in that 4-1 defeat to Blackburn, but I’d expect him to come into the starting XI for the visit of Leeds, probably replacing Pratley. Apart from that I can’t see any other changes.
I can’t see McDermott changing much of the team that lost to QPR. At the time of writing this we’ve still not got no wingers, so I’d expect us to continue with the diamond formation. Paul Green had an outstanding game against Brighton but has been poor since then, I think he’ll be dropped for the game. Competition for that role is high with Michael Tonge capable of filling in, but I’d much rather see Alex Mowatt start again, he was outstanding against Donny in the Cup and I don’t think he’s far off a League appearance.
Apart from that, maybe Tom Lees will come back into the defence in place of Pearce. Noel Hunt hasn’t done much since joining in the Summer so McDermott might give another forward a go, the other three would each give us a different dimension. Matt Smith would win the majority of aerial balls, Dom Poleon would give us extra pace to run the channels and get in behind the Wanderers defence, although Diouf’s ability to keep hold of the ball in difficult situations might be the best choice, especially away from home. Maybe Diouf could slot into the attacking midfield role and push McCormack up front. Personally I’d rather see Poleon given a game.
Head to head and form
Some stats from previous games involving Leeds and Bolton, and current form of both sides.
Despite where Bolton are in the table, and having not won a League game yet this season, SkyBet are offering 2/1 on a Leeds win. Bolton themselves are 5/4 whilst the draw is available at 23/10. I’m definitely considering a cheeky bet on Leeds to win, but the draw seems fairly appealing.
In terms of the correct score. The odds on a 1-0 away win are 15/2, but you can get a home 1-0 win at 13/2. A goaless draw is 9/1, 1-1 is 5/1 and 2-2 14/1. 2-1 – a result we’ve seen in more Leeds games than any other this season – is 8/1 (Bolton win) and 9/1 (Leeds win). You can get the BTTS bet at 8/11, whilst neither or one team to score can be got at evens.
SkyBet are also offering ‘group’ betting, where you can bet on one of three scores to come in. Say you thought Bolton were going to win either 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1. You could get that at 9/4. Leeds to win by any of those can be found with odds of 3/1.
Judging by the league table, we should win this game comfortably. Look at the team-sheets on paper, they’d probably be made favourites.. Then again, we’ve only played 5 league games. A win for Bolton could move them up 8 places into 16th place, a win for Leeds could push us up to 3rd – if results go our way that is. I think it’ll be a close game, but I’ve got a feeling we’ll take all 3 points back to Yorkshire. I’ll go with a 2-1 Leeds win.