Tomorrow night sees Leeds United back on the road in the Sky Bet Championship, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side facing Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
Leeds head to the Mad Stad on the back of a victory over Luton Town on Saturday, with Patrick Bamford proving to be the difference for the Whites at Kenilworth Road to help his side back into second in the table.
Like Luton, Reading offer Leeds an interesting challenge; they’re inconsistent and lacking confidence as a group, but it has to be said that Mark Bowen’s side are one of the Championship’s most unpredictable.
Bielsa will know his side have to be at their best, and he’s confirmed that he’s set to travel to Berkshire with an unchanged group of players after seeing off Luton.
With that in mind, we detail how we expect the Whites to line-up…
As our graphic shows, it is the same personnel that started at Luton, but with Liam Cooper coming back into the defence in the place of Gaetano Berardi.
However, we’ve opted for a slightly different formation, with it our view that Bielsa will look to play a 3-4-3 shape to combat Reading’s system.
The Royals are likely to line-up in a 5-3-2, which is similar to how QPR played in their clash with Leeds earlier this month.
That afternoon, Bielsa allowed Stuart Dallas and Kalvin Phillips to man-mark Ilias Chair and Eberechi Eze, which could be a tactic revisited by the Argentine as he looks to deal with John Swift and Ovie Ejaria.
As Bielsa mentioned in his pre-match press conference, Swift and Ejaria are Reading’s key men, and much like he did with Chair and Eze in the win over QPR, Bielsa will be focusing on stopping them getting on the ball.
A compact midfield three of Phillips, Dallas and Mateusz Klich allows that to happen, with the back three of Cooper, Ben White and Luke Ayling then able to focus on the threat of George Puscas and whoever his strike partner is.
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Then, it’ll come down to Jack Harrison and Pablo Hernandez to man the flanks, which shouldn’t leave too much risk of Leeds being overrun, as Reading are likely to line-up with only wing-backs.
Centrally, Tyler Roberts will be supporting Bamford, who is looking to build on goals in his last two outings.