The top two in the Championship table, Leeds United and Swansea City, face off on Saturday at Elland Road, and a victory for either side will them an important lead in the table. Both Leeds and Swansea are on 13 points, with Leeds leading the table over their Welsh opponents by goal difference.
The two teams had contrasting fortunes midweek in their respective second-round matches of the League Cup as Leeds United crashed out to Stoke City in penalties, while Swansea City thrashed Cambridge United 6-0.
Let’s take a look at 3 key battles from the game between Leeds United and Swansea City:
Leeds United vs Swansea City – 3 Key Battles
Borja Bastón vs Liam Cooper
The Championship’s top goalscorer vs one of the best defenders in the league so far – the battle between Swansea City striker Borja Bastón and Leeds United central defender Liam Cooper will be an important one.
Baston, who has scored 5 goals so far this season, is a clever player who likes to play short passes and has a good work-rate, while also being deadly in the box.
The Spaniard, who scored 4 goals in the entire season last year on loan at Alaves, has had a good start to the Championship season and has helped Swansea to the top. Cooper, on the other hand, has been a solid figure at the back and has been instrumental in Leeds conceding just two goals in the season so far.
Patrick Bamford vs Mike van der Hoorn
On the other end of the pitch, we will see a battle between another striker and central defender as Leeds’ Patrick Bamford – who has scored 4 goals in the league so far – will be up against the tall and physical Mike van der Hoorn.
Van der Hoorn is good in the air, as well as likes passing from the back, while Bamford is dangerous in and around the box and can be deadly on the counter. If either of these two have a good game, their team could win.
Pablo Hernandez vs Jake Bidwell
34-year-old Pablo Hernandez doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon and he is perhaps the most important player for the Leeds side. The winger still has the pace – and, more importantly, the cleverness, to go past defenders and put in menacing crosses, as well as score goals.
The Spaniard has two goals and two assists so far, and will be up against Jake Bidwell, who is also having a good season. Bidwell is a player who is a threat while going forward while sound defensively too.