Saturday, June 10, 2023

An Analysis Of Who Will Win Between Leeds United Vs Middlesbrough: Our Verdict Is 2-1

Must Read
Ayush Chaurasia
Sports Management Graduate. Wannabe sports manager/writer and researcher. If not found disscussing about sports, will be seen talking about movies or tv shows. Miserable rest of the times.

Middlesbrough will travel to Elland Road to take on Leeds United in a top of the table clash to decide which of the two sides would go into the international break on top. Both the teams are deadlocked on 13 points, and it is Leeds United’s better goal difference that separates them from Boro. The game is being built up immensely as a clash of the contrasting styles of play both the managers deploy. Let’s see what holds in store when the top scoring side of the league takes on the best defence of the league.

What to expect from Middlesbrough?

Pulis has built a career on dismantling free-flowing fluid teams, and it is clear that the Teessiders would go in as the underdogs for this game. This is something Pulis wouldn’t mind as he likes to take on the fight with dogged determination. The Boro would be defensively organised and will play the typical ‘sit-back and hit them on the counter-attack’ game. With two pacy forwards in Britt Assombalonga and Martin Braithwaite upfront, Bielsa would definitely be wary of such plans. Expect the Middlesbrough players to hassle the Whites players physically, as Pulis is known to demand his players to disrupt the game now and then. 

Middlesbrough are likely to deploy the 3-5-2 formation, but when off the ball, they would be more of a 5-4-1 with wingbacks falling back in defence. So expect things to be as tight as Newcastle United’s transfer budget under Mike Ashley. Pulis would drill the side well to deal with United’s dynamic movement, and the veteran manager’s Premier League experience will come in handy in games like these.

Many might expect them to play the long ball system, but there has been a clear indication that Pulis is trying to do something different in the new season as he doesn’t have a striker who is that big an aerial threat. Against West Brom, we saw them press high to hustle and disrupt play against Darren Moore’s side. But we don’t see something like that happening at Elland Road, and the Boro would be expected to sit back and soak up the pressure. Their major goal-scoring threats are likely to come from counter attacks, set pieces and crosses.

What would the Whites gameplan be?

Expect little change of approach from United as they would like to carry on what they have been doing well, i.e. press high and try to turn into attack quickly with precision when they win the ball. Bielsa’s men will press with intensity and the fullback will push on while going forward. However, they were tested when Swansea started to give United their own medicine, and they were found wanting on quite a few occasions as Swansea didn’t allow them to build from the back.

The goal scoring onus will be on Kemar Roofe, and if things don’t go right, they can always call upon former Boro striker Patrick Bamford who will have a point to prove after he was sold in the summer.

Maintaining a clean sheet will be the biggest concern for Bielsa. Middlesbrough would be expected to put in crosses, and the Whites were found wanting to similar tactic against Swansea. Defending set pieces will also be a major headache, and the likes of Dael Fry, Daniel Ayala and Aiden Flint will all be a massive threat while going forward. A little clarification that by set piece we don’t mean just corners and free kicks from around the penalty area, but set pieces from even around the halfway line. Pulis’ men are always good at winning the second balls (which doesn’t happen by luck but occurs by design) after the initial clearance has been made, so United would also need to look at that.

Final Verdict

Expect a tight game. However, an early goal is what the Whites will be looking for which will open the game up. Only time would tell what would happen when an immovable object meets an unstoppable force.

Our Prediction: 2-1 for Leeds United

Follow Our Tweets On Twitter

Latest News

Liverpool Are Being Linked To This Rising Spanish Star: Should Klopp Bring Him Aboard?

According to a report from Liverpool Echo, Liverpool's summer transfer activity is in full swing following the recent addition...

More Articles Like This