Leeds United v Sheffield United

Leeds United v Sheffield United

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Pablo Hernandez scored the winner when these two teams met in December, one of his 10 goals this season

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder believes his side are taking on “arguably the best team in the division” when they visit second-placed Leeds on Saturday.

The Blades trail Marcelo Bielsa’s side by two points in the Championship.

“The manager has worked at the highest level and they’ve gone all out to get him to turn their club around,” Wilder told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“He’s sprinkled his magic dust and they’ve got a good group of players.”

Leeds boss Bielsa, who is in his first season coaching in England, praised his Bramall Lane counterpart.

“I have learned a lot from Sheffield United, they are the one of the teams from which I have learned the most this season,” the 63-year-old Argentine said.

“They have a new style of playing and they have been faithful to that all season, each player is giving the best of themselves.

“When we played against them it was a hard win (1-0 in December) and probably we didn’t deserve to win. It’s a big challenge to try and beat them.”

‘The biggest game of our lives’

Leeds defender Pontus Jansson posted on social media that for a lot of the players Saturday’s match would be “the biggest game of our lives”.

However, with eight games left after the Yorkshire derby, Wilder thinks both teams will face further challenges in their push for automatic promotion along with leaders Norwich.

“I respect what he has to say as an international footballer and it gives a big boost to whoever gets the result but it’s not season-defining,” the 51-year-old added.

“I think that shows a total lack of respect for the teams we’ve got left to play. If we won it would claw back the deficit that we are in behind them and if they win then they stretch that lead.

“The way the Championship is at the moment all of the teams have got something to play for.”

Sheffield United will be without striker Gary Madine after he was shown a straight red in the first half of Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Brentford.

Skipper Billy Sharp and fellow forward David McGoldrick are likely to come back into the starting line-up.

The Whites could name the same XI that started the 3-0 win at Reading on Tuesday.

Winger Jack Clarke may come back into the squad having missed the past six games after being taken ill in the draw at Middlesbrough in February.

Match facts

  • Leeds United have not completed a league double over Sheffield United since the 1991-92 season, when they won the top-flight title.
  • Sheffield United are looking to win consecutive away league visits to Leeds for the first time since March 1961.
  • Just six of the 15 goals Leeds have conceded in the Championship at Elland Road this season have been from open play.
  • Sheffield United are the only Championship side to have had a larger share of possession in a game against Leeds this season, enjoying 56% in the reverse fixture; since that game, Leeds have had at least 60% possession in 15 of their 17 Championship games.
  • Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp has scored three goals in four away league appearances at Elland Road – as many as he managed in 18 appearances for Leeds at Elland Road during the 2014-15 season.
  • Pablo Hernandez is the first Leeds United player to register both double figures for goals (10) and assists (11) in a Championship season since Robert Snodgrass in the 2011-12 campaign (13 goals, 13 assists).

Soccer News

via BBC Sport – Football https://ift.tt/OHg7x6

March 15, 2019 at 05:09AM

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