It’s a big weekend for Leeds United in the Premier League as they head North to take on Newcastle United.
Leeds are amongst the division’s early season strugglers, having collected two draws from four fixtures, which have included humbling defeats to Manchester United and Liverpool.
Like Leeds, Newcastle have struggled to get going and there’s plenty of criticism heading Steve Bruce’s way.
That’s not a scenario at Elland Road, despite Marcelo Bielsa shouldering all the blame for Leeds’ slow start.
Ahead of a trip to Newcastle, the LeedsAllOver team – Kris (FA5, Toby (Neutral) and Alfie (N12) – share their predictions:
We’re not quite at must-win territory yet in my opinion, but if we’re looking at picking up our first win of the season, I’d be disappointed if this wasn’t the game we did that.
In Newcastle, we’ll be facing a side similarly down in confidence and needing a boost, so I can see this being a game they’ll be equally up for winning, even if Steve Bruce rarely shows it in his tactical setup.
While we have looked somewhat lacklustre so far this season, I still hold belief that there is plenty to be confident about this season, and that these four games are not the be all and end all of our campaign and what we can achieve.
Obviously, having one centre-back available is annoying and sets us back significantly, but I can only see this being an issue from set-pieces for us, and if we limit those, we have a great chance.
Leeds showed in both of these games against the Magpies that our threat from wide positions is simply too much for them to handle, and we’ve only got stronger in that department. I think if we’re going to win this, it’ll be through those same players on the flanks.
I’m confident here. 3-1.
It feels as though both sides are going to see this one as a big opportunity to get their first league win of the season on the board.
For Leeds, Newcastle’s poor form at the start of the season means that this is a game you certainly have targeted for three points, something they were able to claim the last time they made the trip to St James’ Park.
But with Leeds facing a defensive crisis of their own with Robin Koch and Diego Llorente injured, and Pascal Struijk suspended, Newcastle themselves will see this as a chance to make their mark, given that even with Callum Wilson absent, the likes of Joe Willock and Allan Saint-Maximin can still do plenty of damage going forward.
That, however, does not take away from the fact that Newcastle have conceded more goals than anyone else in the league this season, something that Leeds’ own attack will be relishing the chance to exploit.
Add to that the fact that a nervous and frustrated home crowd may well add to the pressure on the Magpies if they don’t start strongly, and Leeds may just have enough to get this one over the line one way or another. 2-1 away win.
My thoughts echo what Kris is saying right at the top of his segment. It’s not as such a ‘must-win’ for Leeds, but they could do with getting three points under their belt.
You can understand the concern that’s coming from some supporters and you feel that until Leeds post that first win, there will always be doom and gloom.
You’d be more concerned, though, if Leeds were playing well and not winning. The truth is they are in average form and getting what they deserve.
That, then, needs to change at Newcastle and isn’t helped by a crisis at centre-back.
However, with Bielsa, you always get this feeling that, eventually, everything is going to be fine. It would be typical of his Leeds tenure to go to St James’ Park low on numbers and deliver with Charlie Cresswell at centre-back.
Whatever the feeling we have right now as Leeds fans, you can put good money on the Newcastle mood being a lot worse. They’ve been sliding for a while now and I know which manager I’d rather have fighting my club’s corner.
Big weekend. Big performance needed. Big three points on the line. Scrappy game. 1-0, Leeds win.