Leeds are looking to get their season off to the perfect start in a bid to avoid the nerve-wracking sorts of stakes that last season involved at Elland Road.
Jesse Marsch managed to guide the side to a 17th-placed finish in 2021/22, but after some heavy spending funded by major outgoings, the club look to be in a more stable position heading into Premier League campaign number three.
They face Wolves in their first game, with Bruno Lage’s side having a relatively quiet transfer window, that hasn’t been by a major injury blow to Raul Jimenez shortly before the start of the season.
The visitors still pose significant threats to the Whites, and here, we look at two players that the hosts simply have to get the better of if they want to come out on top today…
In terms of attacking threat, Leeds have been done a favour by the lack of transfer activity at Molineux, with the visitors only having Hwang Hee-Chan as a striker option with Jimenez out and Fabio Silva on loan Anderlecht.
The threat will come from their tricky attacking midfielders and wingers, though, and Pedro Neto is the man to watch out for.
A serious knee injury ruined his 2021/22 campaign, but he’s back up to speed and will be looking to recapture the form that made him one of the best young wingers in the league.
Leeds’ issues with the full-back positions under Marsch will be tested significantly in this game, and with Neto looking to get in behind, that’s where we need to be much tighter than what we’ve seen in pre-season.
It shouldn’t be at the expense of our full-backs attacking as desired, but we need to be more street-wise than we look right now.
Another player who looks simply priceless in that Wolves team is Ruben Neves, with the midfielder a cut above his peers.
His passing range and ability to dictate games is something we’ve witnessed first-hand on a handful of occasions when we’ve played Wolves.
Marsch’s Red Bull press will look to suffocate the areas where Neves resides, and this will naturally lead to us having an advantage in snuffing out his influence, but the quality he possesses makes it a huge task to pull off consistently.
Packing the midfield is one thing, but being effective at stopping him having anywhere to go is the real solution for us.
Should Leeds fail to get a grip of the midfield, Neves and co could easily take full advantage.
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