Leeds United started the season in impeccable form and, despite a slight dip in form from the end of September into October, have been there or thereabouts ever since. What’s your take on what you’ve seen so far?
It’s been very much split in two so far this season. Leeds went seven games unbeaten at the start and were top of the league in the middle of September, but are sitting on five defeats from seven and I think the league table is probably disguising the downturn that has followed the bright start. That’s pretty much the situation; the league table looks good and they’ve been in the top six for most of the season but there are issues of confidence and form. In the grand scheme of things, you can’t deny that they’ve got themselves in contention very early on. But they are in a questionable position at the moment and people are waiting to see how both Thomas Christiansen and the team react.
Much to Brentford fans dismay, Leeds managed to secure the signing of winger Stuart Dallas in 2015. How has he got on this season?
He’s been in and out really. He missed a couple of games recently due to a bereavement back home but overall, he hasn’t played as much as I thought he would. His first two seasons here – and I think he’d say it himself – were a bit underwhelming, and though it’s evident there is a really good player there, he’s never been a guaranteed starter. The coaching staff were extremely impressed with him over the summer and his performances were probably the reason why they didn’t bring in another winger. He’s been on the bench more often than not, but with results going awry, he seems to me like the sort of player they should turn to.
What should Brentford expect in terms of the way Leeds set up?
Unless Christiansen goes for a completely changed attack, they’ll go for a 4-2-3-1, which has been the way Leeds have lined up right from the start of the season. The only way that’s altered is that Saiz was playing as a number ten but Kalvin Phillips has been playing there in the last couple of games just to add a bit more muscle and create space for Vieira – an out-and-out defensive midfielder – to return. There’s been no sign of a switch in formation, but you do wonder if Christiansen’s going to think about doing that if the form continues the way it’s going.
What’s your score prediction for today’s game?
My heart says it could suit Leeds in that they’ll be able to play on the counter, but Brentford’s intensity might be a little too much and my head says there’s a likelihood of a home win. I’m going to go for a 2-1 Brentford win.
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