The amount of international football being crammed into an already condensed season is ridiculous.
Having put these three games in the rearview mirror there’s another two to come in November. Madness.
You can well imagine the frustration Nuno is feeling, losing all those valuable days at Compton to work on shape and fine-tune the details.
The performances have been scratchy at best so far which is almost certainly a consequence of trying to integrate new players into a new shape in a shorter period of time.
In previous years, I’d have backed us to set up camp at Elland Road and frustrate them with our defensive organisation. In the current climate, it feels like anything could happen.
Like everyone else, I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen of Marelco Bielsa’s team.
I did wonder how they’d cope with the transition from the Championship where they routinely enjoyed 75% possession and dictated games.
It seemed fanciful to think they’d be able to operate the same way in the Premier League, but they’ve already stood toe-to-toe with the best and imposed their style of play.
What they haven’t come up against yet is a team like Wolves who are more than content not seeing the ball for long periods and setup to break when the opposition overcommit.
In that sense it should be an interesting clash of styles and a good benchmark of where both teams are in their respective development.
They spent big on Valencia forward Rodrigo and Real Sociedad defender Diego Llorente, while Brazilian winger Raphinha has also arrived late in the day. Like Wolves, they have the challenge of integrating all these players while keeping performances consistent.
So far, they’ve largely relied on the team that got them promoted with Bamford scoring the goals, Kalvin Phillips running the midfield and even Helder Costa showing he’s got something to offer at this level.
Costa increasingly didn’t look up to the standard required at Wolves, but in a more attack-minded, possession-based side he seems a different proposition to me. Good luck to him.
It doesn’t seem like Barry Douglas is getting a game these days. It’d be a shame if the Scot didn’t manage single PL appearance having helped two teams make it to this level but it underlines the cut-throat nature of football.
The home end
A few comments from a pre-match thread on the Marching on Together forum:
I think this will be a stern test of our credentials, Wolves are a good side who have, despite the moneybags tag, surpassed expectations as a Prem side so far.
Not so confident now with two centre halves injured, including Cooper.
Difficult one this coming after Internationals break and as usual a couple of injuries for us to worry about, both teams play open attacking football so it’s bound to be a 0-0 but I’m going for a 3-2 Costa and Rodrigo and a late winner from Shack.
1-1 Klich. Was going for a win, but think Wolves will be quick on the break.
Another tough one this but I’ll go for another Leeds win and whilst I know we never get our fair share of pens it might be different this year with the new interpretation and VAR so: 3-2 Klich, Rodrigo, Bamford.
While I don’t think the contribution Ruben Vinagre made in his 3 years should be underestimated, it was a sign of intent moving him on to Olympiakos.
He looks like a weak link so move him on. Ruthless. I was up for giving him a run in the side to see if he could reach a higher standard, but clearly Nuno didn’t feel the same.
I think what we do defensively in this game will define the result so hopefully, Marcal is back to give us a bit more experience and physical presence.
If not maybe Ait-Nouri or Hoever will be given a full debut? Both look exciting prospects and it’s nice to have the luxury of options.
Kilman did well in the back three and Saiss was solid enough at wingback, but that felt like putting a bandage on a short term problem, rather than a longer term solution. I’d be surprised if it was repeated on Monday.
Further forward I’d expect Dendoncker to retain his place, probably at the expense of Moutinho and Traore may also have to be content with a place on the bench. Regardless of how things are going on the pitch, I still have to rub my eyes in disbelief at the players we have the luxury of leaving out.
Well done to Eintracht Silvaballs, joe public, WishFart and Wolfman Jack who all correctly predicted the 1-0 scoreline against Fulham.
Plenty of others got the outcome right to collect 2 points and it’s MILDENHALL WOLF who leads the overall table after Gameweek 4.
As always if you’d like to join in, simply leave your prediction for this game in the comment section below, which is where you’ll find my best guess.
Up The Wolves!