- Premier League
- EFL Championship
- Other Top Clubs
- Scout Reports
New year, new manager, but the ambitions and the hopes remain the same for Leeds United – promotion to the Premier League, when they kick off the 2017/18 EFL Championship campaign with a trip to Macron Stadium to take on Bolton Wanderers on Sunday.
It has been a summer of chopping and changing at the Yorkshire based club, starting with the owners, to the manager, and the squad too has gotten a strong makeover. New boss Thomas Christiansen hasn’t shied away from dipping into the transfer market and has brought in a horde of new faces into the team. The bare minimum target for the Whites this season will be a place in the playoffs after their implosion towards the business end of the last season.
A good pre-season has set the early tone for Christiansen’s side and they need to capitalise on the momentum from the get-go and start the season with a positive result.
Defensive stalwart Pontus Jansson will be unavailable for selection as he serves out a two-match ban. Mateusz Klich is also unlikely to start as he isn’t 100% match fit yet. But he may find himself on the bench.
There’s been a lot of debate over Green’s No.1 status following the arrival of Felix Wiedwald, but the veteran deserves to start in goal ahead of the German, purely because of his excellent contributions last season.
A bit of a no-brainer here. Ayling has been a consistent performer at right-back and provides a great outlet down the right-hand side. Sure starter.
With Jansson unavailable, the loan signing from Everton, Matthew Pennington should get the nod at centre-back.
Pennington will be partnered by vice-captain Liam Cooper. The 25-year old will need to step up in a big way this season and a good start against Bolton will go a long way in helping that target.
With Charlie Taylor gone, the former Switzerland international Gaetano Berardi becomes the natural first-choice at left-back.
Another player whose place in the side has been a subject of debate, O’Kane has had a very impressive pre-season and with Klich not 100% fit, O’Kane should start the game in the middle of the park.
The 21-year old is another one who enjoyed a very strong pre-season and on form alone, he deserves a starting berth at the Macron Stadium.
The former Oxford United man will be keen on nailing down his place in the side with a strong performance in the season opener on Sunday.
The summer arrival from Spain may get a nod ahead of compatriot Pablo Hernandez, given that the 30-year old did not have the best of away forms last season.
The Macedonian looks to be a very exciting addition to the squad and has displayed glimpses of brilliance already. Surely, he will start on the left flank – expect him and Roofe to exchange positions every now and then.
Leading the line will be last season’s top-scorer in the Championship, Chris Wood. The New Zealand international will once again have a huge role to play if Leeds are to challenge for the title.