27 min I’d completely failed to notice that Leeds are playing with a back three of Ayling, Koch and Cooper. Dallas is in midfield in what looks like a 3-1-4-2.
26 min Phillips’ dipping free-kick from the right is headed over by the leaping Bamford. He couldn’t quite get over the ball.
22 min Some action! Burke does well to keep the ball in play and find Osborn, whose dangerous cross is cleared at the far post by Harrison.
22 min Sheffield United look low on confidence going forward, which I suppose is unsurprising given their recent form.
15 min It’s all been a bit tame so far. No goals, no strong tackles, no 21-man punch-ups.
13 min Klich’s through ball towards Bamford is intercepted by Ampadu. Leeds are probing incessantly.
7 min Phillips was booked for fouling McGoldrick in the build up to that Lundstram shot.
6 min Sheffield United’s first good attack. Burke plays a nice disguised pass down the inside-left channel to Lundstram, who sweeps a first-time shot wide of the far post.
4 min Ayling surges forward from right-back, twists Osborn inside out and hits a fierce shot from 20 yards is pushed away by the diving Ramsdale. A good save, though one he’d expect to make. Leeds have made a very fast start.
3 min Lovely play from Leeds. Bamford, on the halfway line, lays the ball off neatly to Klich, who curls a beautiful long pass inside Baldock to find Harrison on the left side of the box. He decides not to shoot and cuts the ball back towards the penalty spot, where it’s cleared by Basham. Harrison took the wrong option but the build-up was superb.
1 min Peep peep! Sheffield United kick off from right to left on a windy afternoon at Bramall Lane. They are wearing red and white stripes; Leeds are in green and dark blue stripes.
The players are ready. As a neutral, I cannot wait for this.
“I find the Bielsa nickname of ‘El Loco’ disappointingly unimaginative,” says Ian Copestake, “and wish he could be reanointed as ‘Bob’. This would allow him to be referred to devilishly as Bielsa Bob.”
It would ruin that episode of Blackadder though.
Ethan Ampadu replaces suspended Jack Egan in the Sheffield United defence, and Tyler Roberts comes in for the injured Pablo Hernandez in the Leeds midfield.
Sheffield United (3-5-2) Ramsdale; Basham, Ampadu, Robinson; Baldock, Lundstram, Berge, Osborn, Stevens; Burke, McGoldrick.
Substitutes: Foderingham, Jagielka, Lowe, Fleck, Norwood, Sharp, McBurnie.
Leeds (4-1-4-1) Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips; Costa,Roberts, Klich, Harrison; Bamford.
Substitutes: Caprile, Struijk, Alioski, Davis, Shackleton, Poveda, Rodrigo.
Referee Paul Tierney.
I’ve seen a few excerpts from Paddy Kenny’s book, including a great story about Branislav Ivanovic having two QPR players in a simultaneous headlock during a tunnel ruck, and it looks highly entertaining.
Morning. We’ve missed the fans at every single game since lockdown, but we’ll really miss them today. Bramall Lane would have been a crucible of ferocity for the visit of Leeds. This is the first Yorkshire derby in the Premier League since 2001, and the first between these sides since March 1994, a time when Doop by Doop was giving us all an unwelcome earworm.
There is added fascination today because of the contest between two of the Premier League’s most free-thinking managers, Chris Wilder and Marcelo Bielsa, and because Sheffield United pipped Leeds to promotion 17 months ago. Leeds made it at the next attempt, and so far they have exceeded the stratospheric expectations with two wildly entertaining 4-3s – a defeat at Anfield and a win against Fulham.
United have started with two defeats, though they were a bit unfortunate at Aston Villa on Monday when John Egan was absurdly sent off in the first half. They need points today to get their season up and running. But most of all they need them because they’re playing Leeds.
Kick off 12pm.