Leeds vs Wolves predictions: Marsch's men on unsafe ground

Rob Eddy
Spotlight
Jesse Marsch's Leeds look set to struggle in their Premier League opener
Jesse Marsch's Leeds look set to struggle in their Premier League opener

Both Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers are laden with doubts going into Saturday's Premier League opener at Elland Road.

Leeds United need manager Jesse Marsch to instill a fresh identity after February's parting of the ways with popular Marcelo Bielsa, while Wolves have tweaked their tactics after a period of stagnation. 

Marsch has divided opinion locally, particularly when his side flirted with relegation last May, so it will be imperative for the American to get off to a positive start this season. 

And the jury still seems to be out on Bruno Lage as he attempts to restore Wolves to their former status as a top-six contender. 

Team news

Leeds will be without Stuart Dallas, Luke Ayling, Adam Forshaw, Luis Sinisterra, Liam Cooper and Junior Firpo through injury. 

Dan James is also missing as he serves the final game of a three-match suspension carried over from last season. 

Patrick Bamford will lead the forward line in a 4-2-2-2 formation featuring three new midfielders - Marc Roca, Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson. 

Pascal Struijk is expected to begin the season out of position at left-back. 

Wolves are set to field the same starting line-up as in their final pre-season game, a 1-1 draw with Sporting in Portugal. 

Club captain Conor Coady has been squeezed out because of manager Lage's switch to a back four.

Summer signing Nathan Collins is set to make his competitive debut alongside Max Kilman, with Jonny Castro and Rayan Ait Nouri occupying the full-back roles. 

Ruben Neves, Leander Dendoncker and Joao Moutinho should man a familiar-looking midfield behind an interchangeable front three of Morgan Gibbs-White, Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence. 

Raul Jimenez is currently injured after sustaining damage to both his knee and groin in a pre-season friendly. 

The stats

Wolves enjoyed the whip hand over Leeds in the Bielsa-ball era with the Argentinian unable to engineer a victory in three attempts. 

Both Premier League meetings in 2020-21 resulted in 1-0 wins for Nuno Espirito Santo's side. 

It looked like Lage would continue that sequence last term until Rodrigo's stoppage-time penalty earned Leeds a draw at Elland Road. 

Marsch, needing a positive result at Molineux last spring, saw his side go 2-0 down at the break before a stirring second-half comeback earned the visitors a morale-boosting victory. 

Ayling fired home Leeds' winner in stoppage time, but Wolves will contend that Jimenez was unlucky to see a second yellow card when they were on top early in the second period. 

Wolves have returned with four wins - all of them by single-goal margins - and a draw from their last six trips to Elland Road, though. 

Prediction

The hosts' injury situation and pre-season defensive struggles hand Wolves a great opportunity to get off to a winning start - and the visitors' recent record at Elland Road is another big positive for them.

Only five clubs won more away games than Lage's men did in the Premier League last season and Wolves' tally of eight road victories is double the number Leeds achieved at home. 

That statistic suggests the Whites, whose only win in six home games under Marsch was over rock-bottom Norwich City, will be in for a difficult afternoon. 

Small margins usually decide these matchups, so it would not be surprising to see Wolves squeeze home by the odd goal in three this weekend.

LiveScore logo

LiveScore: Live Sport Updates

Footbal Scores & Sports News

Get instant notifications with the LiveScore app
app-storegoogle-play
cristiano Ronaldo