Whites watch: A behind the scenes look at Wolves’ next opponents

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BirminghamWorld spoke to YorkshireEveningPost’s Lee Sobot to get the full background check on Wolves’ next opponents

Wolverhampton Wanderers travel to Elland Road on Saturday looking to make it four wins in a row against an injury stricken Leeds United.

Bruno Lage’s side go into the game in by far their strongest form of the season and following last weekend’s thrilling 3-2 victory away at Aston Villa, morale is higher than ever.

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They face a Leeds team, whom, on paper at least, are really struggling so far in the new campaign.

Just one win to their name and one point above the drop zone, things haven’t been all that rosy in these early stages for Marcelo Bielsa’s men.

It looks, from the outside looking in, to be the perfect time to travel to Elland Road but this is the Premier League and nothing is ever that simple.

BirminghamWorld spoke to YorkshireEveningPost’s Leeds United writer, Lee Sobot, to learn more about Wanderers’ next opponents.

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Getty Images

Leeds have just one Premier League win to their name this season - are things as bad as they look on paper?

I think there’s a feeling that Leeds were a bit unlucky in some of the earlier games at the start of the season - the Newcastle and Burnley games could easily have yielded three points on other days.

That, together with the fact Leeds had hard games to start with - Man U and Liverpool especially - meant perspective was needed, and still is.

But the injuries are now mounting up and Leeds were uncharacteristically poor in Saturday’s defeat at Southampton which was undoubtedly one of the worst displays of Marcelo Bielsa’s tenure. Not a single shot on target all game.

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Key players were missing - probably United’s three best in Raphinha, Phillips and Bamford, but it was worrying all the same. If they play like that, Wolves could run riot.

What would be considered a successful season at Elland Road?

Staying up first and foremost. Leeds might have finished ninth last season but nobody got carried away about that and it was regularly stated throughout the summer just how difficult the second season back would be.

You’d like to think a mid table finish would be possible but making sure the Whites stay in the division has to be the first port of call. I think most fans would gladly take 17th.

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MANAGER: Marcelo Bielsa. Picture: Getty ImagesMANAGER: Marcelo Bielsa. Picture: Getty Images
MANAGER: Marcelo Bielsa. Picture: Getty Images

Wolves are on a good run of form - are Leeds fans expecting much from this one?

Given the injuries and the display at St Mary’s, I think everybody realises this will be very difficult indeed given Wolves’ form. But you just never know with Leeds who have a habit of bouncing back after poor displays.

If Raphinha is back, as he should be, then hopes will be massively raised. And again if Phillips plays.

Key player(s) Wanderers need to look out for?

It has to be Raphinha. He just looks a class act and it’s no exaggeration to suggest that he could become a genuine superstar. Leeds missed him hugely at St Mary’s after his exploits with Brazil.

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The same with injured duo Bamford and Phillips but Raphinha is a magician who was awesome for Brazil in the international break, linking up brilliantly with Neymar.

Rodrigo desperately needs to have a good game upfront, assuming Bamford is once again missing. Dan James has also been pretty good in spells, he just needs more of an end product but his lightning pace often causes bother.

MISSED OUT - Raphinha rushed back from Brazil but sat in the stands as Leeds United took on Southampton. The winger is expected to start against Wolves however. Pic: GettyMISSED OUT - Raphinha rushed back from Brazil but sat in the stands as Leeds United took on Southampton. The winger is expected to start against Wolves however. Pic: Getty
MISSED OUT - Raphinha rushed back from Brazil but sat in the stands as Leeds United took on Southampton. The winger is expected to start against Wolves however. Pic: Getty

Any team news / injuries?

Where do you start? Leeds had six players out for the Southampton game, all of them first teamers. Raphinha was not risked after only kicking off for Brazil 37.5 hours earlier. Bamford, Phillips, Ayling, Koch and Firpo all missed out through injury and it would seem that only Phillips (hip) has a realistic chance of being back for this weekend.

Predicted line-up (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Shackleton, Cooper, Llorente, Dallas; Phillips; Klich, Raphinha, James, Roberts; Rodrigo.

Score prediction

Leeds United 1 Wolves 1 - (if Raphinha and Phillips are back). If not then a narrow defeat.

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