Ahead of this week’s League Cup clash, we talked to Pete Schlenker of SB Nation’s Leeds United blog Through It All Together. Pete was kind enough to answer our questions on all things Leeds.
Hopefully his answers should tell you all you need to know about our opponents, and you can see what they wanted to know about Leicester City here.
Leeds have the feeling of a club moving in the right direction. Is promotion on the cards this year?
I think Leeds United fans are cautiously optimistic this year. The club looked the like the best team in the Championship for about a month, including a 5-0 victory over Burton Albion that honestly wasn't that close. However, Leeds had lost three matches in a row before this past Saturday's 3-0 victory at Bristol City, including a bad loss at local rivals Sheffield Wednesday. The club has a good chance to get in the automatic promotion places and an even better chance to get into the playoffs, but I don't think anyone is looking forward to the playoffs, after a number of disappointments in the past. I think Leeds fans aren't going to believe anything good will happen until it actually does.
With just 10 places between the two sides in the league, would you consider a win here an upset?
Considering the gulf in income from the Premier League and the wages it affords, I think it would still count as an upset, although a lot of it will go down to who Leicester City and Leeds United plays. If Leeds trots out a strong side, while Leicester plays the kids, it would be much less of an upset than if Vardy, Mahrez, etc are in the side.
How would you describe Leeds' overall style of play this year?
Leeds, for the most part, has eschewed the long-ball tactics employed by previous manager Garry Monk, choosing to put the ball on the floor and pass it around. Of course, Leeds looked a lot more direct last weekend against Bristol City and won, so perhaps the new manager, Thomas Christiansen has a plan B. Leeds played some rather attractive football early in the season, but looked greatly exposed against Cardiff CIty, Wednesday, and Reading FC. Felix Wiedwald, the German keeper brought in during the summer, is very comfortable with the ball at his feet, but is starting to look like he can't catch a cold, so Andy Lonergan, who previously played for Leeds and was brought in to be the new backup, has gotten the past two starts. If Wiedwald plays, expect to see him play like a sweeper-keeper and keep the ball on the floor.
Which Leeds player are we going to come away from this game talking about?
If the lineup is similar to who was played against Burnley, Conor Shaughnessy. The young defender has earned himself a new contract filling in at centreback while Liam Cooper, Matthew Pennington, and Pontus Jansson have been injured or suspended in the early parts of the season. He's gone from someone that literally no-one expected to be in the senior squad to getting a decent shout to earn a starting spot.
Jay Roy Grot is a monster of a man, only 19, but is about 6'5" and can move. He's kind of crap right now, but if he ever puts it all together, he'll be a fantastic player.
If he plays, Samu Saiz is the best player that Leeds brought in over the summer, and is so good that we all wonder how Leeds got him.
Predict the score
2-1 Leicester City. Christiansen played his backups against Burnley, and with the emphasis on making it to at least the playoffs, I don't see a full-strength lineup making an appearance on Tuesday night. It would be great to go further, but I don't think anyone is really counting on another Cup run.