Leeds United vs Brentford preview: Pontus Jansson makes Elland Road return
Pontus Jansson of Leeds United celebrates scoring the equalising goal to make the score 1-1 during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Brentford at Elland Road on October 6, 2018 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Leeds United vs Brentford preview: Pontus Jansson makes Elland Road return

Pontus Jansson returns to Elland Road for the first time since he departed the club for his current side Brentford this summer. 

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Tom Griffin

Former Leeds United defender and fan favourite Pontus Jansson is expected to receive a mixed reception from the home crowd tonight as the Swede makes his first return to Elland Road since departing for Brentford this summer. 

Leeds, who have begun the season with a similar swagger that saw them reach the summit of the Championship last season before experiencing play off heartache, will be hoping to build on their 2-0 success over Wigan Athletic. 

Whilst Thomas Frank’s Brentford side could prove to be Marcelo Bielsa’s toughest test so far this season, you’d expect they’d have to put on their goalscoring boots if they are to take anything from a raucous Elland Road. 

However, Leeds themselves will be hoping to end an unwanted record; with the capitulation that followed last season and their 1-1 draw at home to Nottingham Forest at the beginning of this. 

A failure to pick up three points tonight could see them extend their winless home run to five matches; the last time they did this was in 2015 between March and October. 

Despite boasting one of the highest expected goal ratios in the division, Brentford have only managed to register two goals this campaign; the latest coming at home to Hull City when Ollie Watkins equalised midway the second half to earn his side a 1-1 draw. 

Teams news

With Leeds boasting an already thin squad that play a demanding style physically, Marcelo Bielsa has to be mindful of potential injuries should he not rotate the squad. 

There are doubts over defenders; Liam Cooper, Barry Douglas and Ezgjan Alioski ahead of the clash against Brentford.

Leeds are also still missing Luke Ayling and Tyler Roberts through injury. 

After Leeds suffered an injury pile up last season, Bielsa had to craft players into new positions and he has a contingency plan should Alioski and Douglas fail to make it.

Jamie Shackleton is expected to play right back, whilst the reinvigorated Stuart Dallas has reborn  his career in the left back position. 

Loan signings Helder Costa and Eddie Nketiah are yet to make first league starts for the club. Nketiah, however, has made an instant impact when he has played; netting in the Carabao Cup against  Salford City.

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Brentford boss Thomas Frank has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the trip to Elland Road. 

Said Benrahma, the Championship’s top assister last season, has just returned from injury and featured for 20 minutes off the bench against Hull. 

Whilst the recently returned midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo was an unused substitute last time out. 

New signing Ethan Pinnock suffered an injury at Middlesbrough in their 1-0 win, and is yet to make a return. 

Summer signings Dominic Thompson and Joel Valencia are still to make first league appearances for the club after being handed debuts in the Carabao Cup defeat by Cambridge.

What the managers have said 

Speaking to the media ahead of Wednesday nights clash, Marcelo Bielsa was keen to pin point the strengths of Brentford going forward.

”Brentford is a different team. They have a different future that you cannot link with anyone else in the Championship. They've bought and sold some very good players. We have to see how they work the new squad."

The Leeds boss also spoke about his admiration of Jansson and avoiding his strengths defensively, he said: 

“Pontus deserves to be received in the right way. He was the best player of the team last year. I cannot talk about the previous years because I wasn't here. But he played at a high level last year. I appreciate what he gave to the team. I think the fans will recognise that.

“We know the strengths of Pontus. The idea is to try and avoid the things he does well, but this is something normal in football. You have to avoid the strengths of the other teams in games. It's key.”

He also spoke about having a fully fit squad to choose from, whereas last year his team suffered serious injuries.

He said: “We have pulled some players out and other players came in. We are starting the games with the same players that were playing last year. We have less injuries now than last year and now we have some players on the bench that when they are going to play, they have the skill to come and balance the game.

To make a comparison with the players of the squad that we had last year is not the right thing [to do] because the situation is a little different. Last year, we had more irregularity with the players that we had [due to injury] that we have right now.”

“We need to hit our top level Wednesday, then we can go there and win” - Thomas Franks

The Brentford boss spoke to the press ahead of the game and reflected on previous performances. He is adamant that his side has a higher level to reach having struggled to put away the array of chances they create, he said:

”In general a very good performance against Birmingham, should have been three points. After watching the game back, I would say a very good away performance against Middlesbrough. Again, after watching back against Hull I think we should have won in terms of chances”. 

He also spoke about how tough of an opponent Leeds are, but outlined his confidence heading into the fixture.

“I think one of the toughest away games we can play for various reasons and everyone praising Leeds calling them the top favourite for promotion, so it must be our most difficult away fixture this season. But we are confident, we know what to expect, we are a good side, we know that if we hit our top performance Wednesday then we can go there and win.” 

“But I also hugely respect Leeds and what they do and they’ve been looking bright and sharp from the start of the season. We know what to expect, nothing new, what to expect is not the same is it will be easy. We know what they will do especially with their pressure, very aggressive but also their man marking which is different to what we’d normally face.”

 Predicted line-ups

Leeds

Casilla, Shackleton, White, Cooper, Dallas, Phillips, Klich, Forshaw, Hernandez, Harrison, Bamford

Brentford

Raya, Jeanvier, Jansson, Racic, Dalsgaard, Nørgaard, Jensen, Henry, Canós, Mbeumo, Watkins

The match will be played on Wednesday 21st August, 7:45 kick off - live on Sky Sports red button. 

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