9 min: “If they were getting £14.95 for every viewer of this one, I’m sure they could afford another 50p for the light meter!” writes Michael George.
Credit where it’s due, this one is on the small fortune I already pay Sky each month.
Meanwhile, you don’t need an extra halogen bulb to see that Helder Costa, trying to twist past Moutinho, throws himself to the ground in an effort to win a penalty.
7 min: Leeds work a clever corner that’s headed through to Bamford by Harrison from the edge of the box. He converts but is well offside.
5 min: Now Phillips slips Ayling away with a quick free-kick but his cutback from the byline is defended. Leeds have come to look the sharper.
4 min: The play speeds up and Costa, once of Wolves, wins Leeds the game’s first corner. England’s Kalvin Phillips will outswing from the right … and it’s nodded away at the near post but not cleared completely, Leeds working the ball back into the box and Rodrigo knocking on neatly for Bamford, who slices wide.
3 min: An unremarkable start, Wolves attacking briefly in the first minute and then Leeds keeping possession. The Elland Road pitch doesn’t really seem the best-lit, although perhaps that’s just by modern standards. Or maybe my eyesight is going.
Peeeeep! Off we go!
Wolves, wearing … crimson? … and shooting right to left, get us going.
Out come the teams – soon we begin! You’d love a crowd for this one, on a Monday night at Elland Road …
A big blow for Leeds – their captain Liam Cooper pulls out in the warm-up. Pascal Struijk is in for only his ninth senior game.
Here is Ben Fisher’s report from that tie at the Hawthorns:
“Between Bielsa being depicted in a mural as Christ the Redeemer and Espirito Santo being Portuguese for ‘holy spirit’, this is shaping up to be symbolic clash of heavyweights. God knows what will happen on the pitch,” writes Peter Oh.
It would be “holy” inappropriate to speculate.
Nuno speaks: “Joao and Ruben both keep good possession but we go to Joao because we want him to develop his talent in higher parts of the pitch, so let’s try it. [Leeds are] a very good team, fantastic manager, the only thing we miss is the atmosphere bit it’s a very tough game for us.”
Bielsa spoke too, via his interpreter, but it wasn’t much of a line – he is pleased they have stuck to their principles since coming up.
Tonight’s referee? It’s David Coote, who was in charge of VAR at Goodison on Saturday. I’ll say no more because elements of the pile-on since then have been ridiculous.
By the way, the score in this evening’s other top-flight game was … wait for it … West Brom 0-0 Burnley. Own up, any of you spend £14.95 on that?
Phil Russell emails on Wolves:
“For all the talk of Wolves missing Doherty and Jota its probably the injured Jonny they’ve missed most this season. Goes under the radar but provides width and balance down the left. Semedo looks like he could be an upgrade on Doherty and in Podence, Neto and Traore, with the new signing Silva as well, the front line is well stocked. Left wing-back seems to be picked out of a hat at the moment though, and the lack of quality there reduces the attacking options. Anyway should be a belting game, one where you really miss not having a crowd to watch it.”
Before the show starts you can squeeze in a very decent chunk of the new Football Weekly – reviewing the controversial, sublime, ridiculous weekend that was.
So, Joao Moutinho replaces Ruben Neves in Wolves’ starting lineup. Adama Traore remains on the bench. Rodrigo and Harrison return for Leeds, who contested that ragingly fun draw with Man City last time out.
Leeds: Meslier, Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Dallas, Phillips, Costa, Klich, Harrison, Rodrigo, Bamford. Subs: Casilla, Alioski, Struijk, Roberts, Hernandez, Poveda, Raphinha.
Wolves: Patricio, Semedo, Boly, Coady, Kilman, Saïss, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Neto, Podence, Jiménez. Subs: Ruddy, Hoever, Marcal, Neves, Silva, Traore, Otasowie.
Grab something from the fridge and I’ll be back in a bit to digest all that.
Revitalised old power meet … revitalised old power. Time was, and not so long ago, when Leeds and Wolves met regularly in the Championship. They faced off at that level 10 times earlier this decade and only missed each other by a whisker in League One, too. But it always felt like a matter of when and how, rather than if, these two got their acts together. They’ve done it – and in style!
We’ve seen Leeds this season. It’s Bielsaball as you always dreamed it: ambitious, flawed, rattling good fun. It will be enough to carry them to a good league finish, I’m sure of that, and perhaps even better given the brain-scrambling start to the season we’re all enjoying.
Can they perform with their usual gusto against tactically-savvy Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves, who have shown the way for well-resourced sides that come up from the second tier over the past two years. Wolves haven’t quite hit it off so far, and I do wonder if selling *both* Diogo Jota and Matt Doherty was a good idea by whoever deals with the transfers there even if you allow that a team always needs some sort of evolution. They don’t want the kind of drubbing they took at West Ham, that’s for sure.
Feels like a close one though, this, between two genuinely fine sides. Leeds will climb as high as third if they win; Wolves would go fourth if they won by, errrm, eight but would probably settle for the kind of result that would suggest they are back in business.
Should be fun. Could be *very* fun. Enjoy!