We are very close to the start of the new season, highs and lows are imminent and it all begins this Sunday in Bolton. Bolton are beatable, on paper we should win this game but this is the Championship and paper will never win a game. We need to learn from our mistakes of last season and turn up on opening day, Queens park Rangers embarrassing us at Loftus Road last season, the side clearly unprepared and left looking very daft in London.

Here is my eleven for Sunday. Much thought has gone into it and there are some easy decisions and some very difficult decisions. We have also been left with little choice in two areas, and although we can cover them it’s not ideal and there is little movement in the transfer market currently after a very fast start.

Goalkeeper – Felix Wiedwald

Wiedwald is almost certain to start at Bolton and be the number one going forward. Unfortunately the way we are going to play doesn’t suit Green and that seems unfair after his performances last season but it is true. Wiedwald is clearly a sweeper keeper who likes to be an option on the ball for defenders. We haven’t seen him in action in terms of shot stopping yet but the Bundesliga is a top league and it does look like a very good signing.

Right Back – Vurnon Anita

The toughest call in the team. I think we need Anita in the team for his experience in a high-pressure situation. There will be a hectic feel to the game, the Sunday kick-off, opening day so Bolton players and fans will be up and we need to keep our heads. Anita will give us that, he won the league last season and that shouldn’t be understated. I also feel Ayling may need to come on at centre back if Cooper and Pennington are looking shaky and we are better making one change than two.

Centre Back – Matthew Pennington

The two centre backs are nailed on for Sunday with the suspension of Pontus Jansson and our poor speed in finding another player to play in this position in the transfer market. Pennington has looked good so far although was shaky in his first outing at Elland Road before settling in well and actually having a very good game. His task will be tough on Sunday, Adam Armstrong and Adam Le Fondre very nippy.

Centre Back – Liam Cooper

Cooper isn’t a starter for me at all if Jansson is fir. To be honest I was tempted to put Ayling in at centre back but realistically Cooper will play in there. Defensively he can be good at times but more often than not he is exposed during games at this level. Hopefully he can put in a good performance and quit the relentless diagonals that barely ever work.

Left Back – Gaetano Berardi

Nailed on at left back after another good pre-season. Berardi is now a hero in the stands at Elland Road and the fans love his passion and desire to play for Leeds United. Not great at going forward but will do his job defensively.

Centre Midfield – Ronaldo Vieira

I am slightly worried that he didn’t even get off the bench on Saturday against Oxford but I can only hope he was being rested by Christiansen after a grueling summer that saw him head to the Toulon Tournament for England, and win, playing every single game before returning and basically getting straight back into pre-season.

Centre Midfield – EunanO’Kane

The best player on the park against Oxford even in a very poor first half performance for the majority. He will be the one getting us started from deep and deciding where to start the attacks. Can slow the play down if we need him to. Has really forced his way back into the starting side over the last few weeks and is one of the first names on the team sheet since Sunday.

Right Wing – EzgjanAlioski

Even after a poor game against Oxford I think he will start and it has to be done. The sooner he can get into this league the better it will be for us, a key player this season going forward. I was very impressed with his work rate and he has had some impressive displays in pre-season. Getting him on the ball early will help, get him running at the Bolton full backs.

“Number 10” – SamuSaiz

I am dead against starting Pablo Hernandez especially after the comic performance he put in against Oxford. He was truly awful and it sums up the majority of games he has had in a Leeds shirt since the turn of the year. Saiz looked quick, strong and very confident. He also got in and around the box and made things happen, he wasn’t trying to nutmeg players in his own half.

Left Wing – Kemar Roofe

Roofe has grown into the pre-season and was very impressive in the final game against his old club Oxford. Direct and creative as well as very unpredictable he was one of the stand-out players. He has improved a lot since arriving at the club and I can see him going from strength to strength this season. I expect him to be aiming for 10+ goals.

Striker – Chris Wood

Wood has actually performed poor in pre-season but he is by far and away one of the best strikers in the league on his day. If we are to win he will be key and hopefully a goal in the first couple of games will settle him again. Looked good New Zealand in the Confederations Cup and a key player in our season. I don’t see him scoring as many, but 20 would be a great return, others must chip in.

Subs

Rob Green

Luke Ayling

Liam Bridcutt

Mateusz Klich

Stuart Dallas

Hadi Sacko

Caleb Ekuban

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Author

Born in Gibraltar, raised in Scotland from a very young age. Been a huge fan of Leeds United since I could walk and talk, thanks to my Dad, the English half of me. After a few years in Australia I moved to Leeds, the trips from Scotland down to the city a few times a season didn't cut it. Love the city. Love the people, and the 12 hour round trip to Elland Road is about a 20 minute round trip. Love writing about the club, the more I write the more I feel comfortable doing it. As long as it's enjoyable I'll continue to do so, keep looking to step it up and progress as well. Leeds United is more than just a football team for me, as is it with so many others.

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