Leeds and Brentford were billed early in the season as the teams to watch – with their high intensity passing game and flair football. A couple of months into the season, Leeds are riding high in The Championship whereas Brentford are 6thafter an indifferent set of matches over the past few weeks.
Billy Grant caught up with Thomas Bradley (@TBradley23) from I’d Radebe Leeds (@radebe_leeds) to get the lowdown on their injury problem, ex-Bees Dallas and Forshaw and Bielsa’s Plan B – which is doing Plan A better
Coming into this match, Leeds have a load of injuries to key players at the moment. Do you think this will this affect things?
Missing Pablo Hernandez, Kemar Roofe, Patrick Bamford, Barry Douglas and Gaetano Berardi looks bad on paper but Jack Harrison, Tyler Roberts, Pontus Jansson and whoever replaces Douglas (possibly Tim Pierce or ex-Bee Stuart Dallas? – Ed), will certainly put in a shift. Results show that we’ve been able to cope with missing key players, so I’m hoping our style of play and good performances continue.
Bielsa has seemed to have made a huge difference to Leeds this season. What is he like as a manager. Do you think he and his style of football can last the season?
We’ve made a terrific start under Bielsa, and some of the results have been eye-catching, like the 4-1 win over Derby County. We lost to Birmingham and for the first time saw the Bielsa plan tested and defeated. However, we’ve come back strong and should have beaten Sheffield Wednesday, whilst overcoming Hull City will little difficulty despite the 1-0 scoreline.
Stuart Dallas and Adam Forshaw are the only ex Bees in the Leeds squad at the moment. Forshaw was a bit of a Brentford hero in our Division 1 promotion season. How are they getting on?
Dallas appears to be an important player for Bielsa, despite not featuring heavily in the starting eleven. He’s a reliable squad player and one that may well get his chance in the team in the coming weeks. Adam is one of our best players when he’s fit. He’s lively in midfielder and clearly brought a lot of quality to the side when we signed him from Middlesbrough. Unfortunately, he’s struggled with injuries. But Bielsa claimed he was our best player in pre-season so I’m excited to see the role he will play once he gets his chance.
The Championship is mighty congested at the moment with only 7 points separating Leeds in 1st and Bolton in 15th place. Do you think this is an average league this season or is it so man teams are evenly matched?
The Championship is always intense and you tend to see a gap in league places around Christmas time. There’s some very good teams in the league this year. I’m excited to see how it all unfolds, especially when you see teams like Stoke underperforming, but the likes of Sheffield United overperforming again.
I think we will be in the top six for once, and hopefully that ends in promotion for us. We’ll never have a better chance than we do now under Bielsa.
This game was billed early on as the two teams to play a similar attractive attacking style of football. Will this suit Leeds or will they try and go more defensive to curtail our game?
Bielsa is quite open about the fact that he only has a Plan A. He won’t change his style for any team, unless it is quite clearly not working as the game goes on. We’ll set up in the normal way, but I’m intrigued to see how Brentford approach the game. Often two sides that attack well leave themselves open at the back, so hopefully it’s The Bees that become vulnerable.
I’m a big fan of Ollie Watkins. I think he’s a cracking young talent who is excelling himself at Griffin Park. If he’s available (he didn’t play against Birmingham in midweek and we really missed him – Ed) I think he can cause us problems.
Give us a score prediction
Got to fancy my own side as the table-toppers. It will be close but I feel like Leeds United 2 Brentford 1 is a fair prediction.
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