Wolverhampton-Leeds United Preview

National Sports

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa admitted the recent weeks with the Whites have been some of his toughest ever as his side prepare to host Wolves.

Leeds have endured their worse start to a league campaign since 1988-89, collecting just six points from their opening eight games to sit in 17th – three points above the relegation zone.

Bielsa’s side have also lost their last five league meetings with the visitors and the Argentinian head coach openly commented on the struggles with his team’s recent form.

“Yes, one of the most difficult, perhaps there’s been five or six but this was one of the most difficult,” Bielsa started. “In a game like the one at Southampton, the distance between what we were looking for and what we achieved was very far, and that was deserved. So obviously for me it was a very sad week.

“If you discover or focus on the errors it’s the first step to correcting them and if you don’t individualise or recognise those errors, it’s very difficult (to make) any correction.”

Wolves heroically overturned a two-goal deficit away at Aston Villa last time, winning 3-2 to make it four wins in five top-flight games – as many as they had recorded in their previous 16.

Head coach Bruno Lage has overseen an upturn in fortunes and his away side will be boosted by the return of Francisco Trincao.

“Trincao has started with the team, he’s been training all week so that’s good news for us,” Lage said as he provided an update.

However, Wolves will be without star attacker Pedro Neto.

“All I know is from what the doctor said to me, he will travel next week to Portugal to work with Pedro,” Lage said. “Then after that maybe we’ll have some news on how much longer he’ll need to recover.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Leeds United – Raphinha

Raphinha has created the most big chances for Leeds (two), while laying on 14 regular chances to lead the club charts in that aspect, too. The Whites will desperately need their star man to deliver on Saturday.

Wolves – Roman Saiss

Saiss netted a rare goal against Villa on the road, though his defensive contributions have been vital for Lage’s side. He leads Wolves for clearances (40), 17 more than second-placed Conor Coady.

KEY OPTA FACTS

Leeds have faced more shots on target than any other side in the Premier League this season (48). Meanwhile, the Whites are averaging just 3.9 shots on target per game this season, compared to 5.2 in the competition last term.

Since their return to the Premier League in 2018, 66% of Wolves’ goals in the competition have come in the second half of games (94/142) – the highest ratio of any side to have had more than one campaign in the competition in that time.

No side has conceded more second half goals in the Premier League than Leeds this season (11). Meanwhile, Wolves have the second-highest ratio of goals scored after half-time this term (88% – 7/8) and the outright lowest ratio conceded in the second period (38% – 3/8).

All 11 of Rúben Neves’ shots for Wolves in the Premier League this season have come from outside the box, with the midfielder netting the winner against Aston Villa last time out. Only John McGinn (12) has had more shots in the competition this season without any being inside the box.

Wolves have won their last three away league games against Leeds without conceding a single goal. They had only won three of their previous 25 league games at Elland Road before this (D4 L18).

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