Leeds United-Sheffield United Preview - Sports Illustrated

Leeds United-Sheffield United Preview

Chris Wilder joked that Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa "speaks better English than he made out" as he looked ahead to Sheffield United's derby against the free-scoring Whites.

Leeds lost 4-3 to champions Liverpool in their first Premier League outing since 2004, but bounced back to defeat Fulham by the same scoreline at Elland Road last time out.

Bielsa's side now make the short trip to Sheffield to face a Blades side which has lost its opening two fixtures.

Leeds' enigmatic boss Bielsa famously uses a translator during his media duties, but Wilder revealed the Argentinian's English is better than he makes out as the Blades manager praised his counterpart.

"He speaks better English than what he makes out!" Wilder joked in Friday's news conference. "You look at his record and what he has done in world football. He is a character and he improves his players and he plays his football in a way he wants to see football played. He is an outstanding figure in European and world football."

Sunday's clash will be the first Premier League Yorkshire derby since Leeds thrashed Bradford City in 2001, though Wilder said the Whites are still second when it comes to the Blades' rivalries.

"Second on the list, we know who the number one is," Wilder said.

Following the arrivals of Rodrigo Moreno and Robin Koch, Leeds have this week signed Spain International Diego Llorente from Real Sociedad, though in typically modest fashion, Bielsa refuted the suggestion players are drawn to the club because of him.

"I sincerely think that this is not true. Players' luck is natural and how it corresponds, they chose their teams rather than the managers they play for," Bielsa told a news conference.

"I think when a player comes to Leeds, he comes for Leeds."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Sheffield United – Oli McBurnie

McBurnie played youth football for Leeds up until 2010. A £20million signing for the Blades in 2019, he netted six goals last season, though is yet to get off the mark in 2020-21.

Leeds United – Mateusz Klich

The Poland international has been a key figure since Bielsa took charge at Elland Road, and his marauding runs forward are an integral part of Leeds' game. He scored a superb maiden Premier League goal at Anfield and followed it up with a coolly taken penalty against Fulham.

KEY OPTA FACTS

• The Blades have won four of their last five league games against Leeds; this will be the first top-flight meeting between the sides since a 2-2 draw in March 1994.

• Leeds won their last league visit to Bramall Lane against Sheffield United, 1-0 in December 2018. They have not won back-to-back away games against the Blades since April 1992.

• A total of 31 goals have been scored over the last eight top-flight meetings between United (12) and Leeds (19), with the Whites winning six of those matches.

• Leeds' first two Premier League games this season have seen 14 goals scored, more than in any other team's first two matches of a Premier League campaign. They are the first top-flight side to both score and concede seven goals in their first two matches since Liverpool in the 1932-33 season.

• Should either Klich or Patrick Bamford score for Leeds in this game, they would become the first player to score in their first three top-flight appearances for the club.

• Leeds captain Liam Cooper is set to make his 200th appearance for the club, becoming the first player to reach that tally since Luciano Becchio in 2012.