Leeds United head to Bramall Lane on Saturday lunchtime, giving the footballing word the first opportunity to see how the Whites will look under the management of Paul Heckingbottom.
Heckingbottom inherits a side in 10th and without a victory since Boxing Day, which has seriously dented Leeds’ play-off push.
A report from Leeds Live yesterday indicated that Heckingbottom could ditch Leeds’ 4-2-3-1 formation, with the 40-year-old favouring a 4-1-4-1 system during his days at Barnsley.
With that in mind, here at FLW we take a look at Leeds’ tactical view heading to Bramall Lane and how Heckingbottom could set his side up in both defence and attack.
It would be a surprise to see Leeds move away from a four-man defence ahead of Felix Wiedwald, and with numbers stretched, Laurens De Bock, Pontus Jansson, Matthew Pennington and Vurnon Anita are likely to feature from left to right.
If Leeds switch to a 4-1-4-1 formation, it will be the midfield that looks different, with one sitting centrally and two slightly further ahead of him, making a compact three. The trio we are expecting to see are Adam Forshaw, Kalvin Phillips and Pablo Hernandez, with Forshaw the deepest of the three.
Stuart Dallas and Ezgjan Alioski, should they feature on the wings, will be tucked into that midfield unit, leaving Pierre-Michel Lasogga as Leeds’ lone striker.
That compact unit will look to nullify Sheffield United’s attacking strengths, but when Leeds have the ball, the players ahead of Forshaw should have a licence to support Lasogga in attack, with Dallas and Alioski pushed much further forward out wide.
Centrally, a 4-1-4-1 formation will allow Phillips more freedom to add to his five goals this season, whilst £2.25m-rated Hernandez should have the opportunity to get forward into his favoured number 10 role when Leeds are in possession.
Leeds fans… Let us know your thoughts!
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