Season preview: Leeds

Leeds news
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Leeds news, season preview: The 2020-21 Premier League season is almost here and our season previews will give you all of the information you need to know about each of the 20 PL clubs.

Let’s go!

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]

This is our Leeds season preview, as you can click on the link above to find out exactly how you can watch every single Leeds game live in the USA across our platforms at NBC Sports.

[ PHOTOS: Ranking new kits for 2020-21 PL season ]

Okay, time to focus on Leeds’ long-awaited return to the Premier League…


Leeds

2019-20 finish: 1st in Championship (28-9-9, 93 points) – Promoted as Champions
Head coach: Marcelo Bielsa
2019-20 top scorer: Patrick Bamford (16 goals)
Location: Leeds, Yorkshire


ProSoccerTalk’s key topic on Leeds: How far can the Marcelo Bielsa show go?

All eyes will be on Leeds United’s return to the Premier League after a 16-year absence, as the Yorkshire giants took the Championship by storm in Marcelo Bielsa’s second full season in charge. The eccentric Argentine coach will sit on his bucket on the sidelines and direct his team to press high often, as well as trying to keep the ball and play a mesmerizing style. Leeds, in theory, have everything set up to be a top six Premier League team and Bielsa is one of the most influential managers in recent history. Many are tipping Leeds to finish in the top 10 and given how well they’ve played agains Premier League teams in cup competitions in recent seasons, this should be a lot of fun. With Rodrigo adding extra firepower, Leeds should be fun to watch and will have an extra cutting edge which was the main reason they didn’t break records galore during their promotion campaign. Bielsa has awoken a sleeping giant.


Leeds news: The current situation

After finishing 10 points clear at the top of the Championship last season, things are positive at Leeds. They have been handed a tough start to the season but if they can cause a few upsets early on, they will be flying by December. They will hope to have as many fans as possible inside Elland Road as soon as possible, as their fanatic supporters give them an edge. Leeds will want to be back in European action in the next few seasons but Bielsa will know they have to walk before they can run. Getting supporters to stay on board with that mantra will be tough, because Leeds are one of the biggest clubs in England and have underachieved for so long. With a mixture of classy players such as Pablo Hernandez, Rodrigo and Helder Costa, plus youngsters Kalvin Phillips and Jack Harrison adding to an experienced core of defenders, Bielsa has an interesting mix of players who have all bought into his unique playing style. If you are a neutral, make sure you watch Leeds every single week.


Key Leeds news, season objectives

  • Keeping Marcelo Bielsa happy: It doesn’t take much to set Bielsa off and he’s left previous clubs abruptly and it looked unlikely he would return to Leeds for the 2019-20 season. He did, and his pressing tactics took them to the promised land and he’s a God in Leeds. Bielsa has influenced some of the world’s top managers, including Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino, as Guardiola once called Bielsa “the best coach in the world” and Pochettino has said Bielsa is “like my second father.” High praise, but Bielsa is high strung and needs backing in the transfer window otherwise he could just walk out of the door.
  • Spending big to make sure they stay in the top-flight: They have brought in Rodrigo on a club-record deal and probably need a few more additions, especially defensively, if they’re going to cement themselves in the Premier League. They wanted to sign Ben White permanently but that didn’t happen. 
  • Enjoy the ride: Look, there will be a lot of pressure from Leeds’ fanbase for this team to compete right away in the PL and emulate what Wolves have done. That will be tough and Leeds have been on a heck of a ride since they were last in the PL in 2004. From double relegation to the third tier and the agony of so many second half of the season collapses and playoff heartbreaks, players, fans and club employees should try and enjoy being back in the top-flight whenever possible.

Transfers in

  • Helder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
  • Illan Meslier (Lorient)
  • Jack Harrison (Man City) Loan
  • Joe Gelhardt (Wigan)
  • Cody Drameh (Fulham)
  • Sam Greenwood (Arsenal)
  • Rodrigo Moreno Machado (Valencia)
  • Robin Koch (Freiburg)

ProSoccerTalk’s prediction for Leeds in 2020-21

They will not be relegated but may not push for the top 10 yet. Leeds are probably a few more buys in the transfer window away from really pushing on in the Premier League but if they’re doing well when the January transfer window arrives, expect Marcelo Bielsa to be given plenty of cash to spend. That said, after their financial meltdown saw them collapse from Champions League semifinals to League One in just a few years, the club will spend wisely this time around. Leeds will be exciting this season and should cause plenty of shocks. Solid midtable finish for the Yorkshire giants.

Man City vs Man United: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Manchester City vs Manchester United: Erling Haaland is set for his Manchester derby debut when the two-time defending champions host the rapidly improving Red Devils at Etihad Stadium on Sunday (watch live, 9 am ET on Peacock Premium). 

STREAM LIVE MAN CITY vs MAN UNITED

Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm with an absurd 11 goals scored in his first seven games after (ostensibly) choosing Man City over Man United before leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer.

Six weeks ago, Manchester United had not a single point from their first two games, including a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of tiny Brentford, but Erik ten Hag has since switched tactical course en route to four straight wins, including a 3-1 victory over PL leaders Arsenal last time out, to set up this hugely intriguing showdown on Sunday.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Man City vs Man United

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]


How to watch Manchester City vs Manchester United live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 9 am ET, Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium


Key storylines & star players

Despite a pair of disappointing draws (Newcastle and Aston Villa), it’s been an unbeaten start to the 2022-23 season for Man City, who still lead the PL in possession (66.4 percent per game) while also becoming an unstoppable offensive force from last season (14 goals in their first seven games) to this season (23). That’s not to say it’s been easy as Manchester City go through a tactical shift of their own to better appeal to the big Norwegian’s poaching abilities. Though they have been forced to grind out results a few times already this season, it’s highlighted a newfound spontaneity for a side that’s been as regimented as any in the world. Will that freedom be what ultimately lands Pep Guardiola his first Champions League trophy since 2011, and perhaps a third straight PL title (and a fifth in six years) to boot?

As for Manchester United, the Ten Hag era has been a wild roller-coaster ride already, short as it’s been. The back-to-back defeats were one thing, but the abject performances were the real cause for discontent. While picking up the four straight victories, the Dutchman has also settled on a midfield setup with Scott McTominay and Christian Eriksen operating in (effectively) a double pivot with Bruno Fernandes the most advanced of the three. It has brought defensive stability, of course, but more importantly the change has revealed a deadly counter-attacking side. Each of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Fernandes have scored twice during the winning run, with new boy Antony also getting in on the fun on his debut. With space in behind (and the proper service from deep), Ten Hag might just have his first winning formula (albeit quite unlike him).


Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Kalvin Phillips (shoulder), John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Aymeric Laporte (knee)

Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Harry Maguire (hamstring), Marcus Rashford (thigh), Brandon Williams (undisclosed), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE, Donny van de Beek (knock), Martin Dubravka (knock)

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WATCH: Lionel Messi spins gorgeous free kick goal past Nice’s Schmeichel

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Lionel Messi got the better of Kasper Schmeichel with an outstanding free kick as Paris Saint-Germain outlasted Nice 2-1 on Saturday at the Parc des Princes.

The world’s greatest scorer was fouled to set up a free kick just inside the arc. Nice, of course, got into a wall and former Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel arranged it to his liking.

As he does so many times, however, Messi spun a free kick just over the wall. The ball, which came so close to taking a slight turn off a leaping wall member (actually, did it?), tumbled down and right into the side netting to give PSG a 1-0 lead before the match was a half-hour old.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Ricardo Pepi scores relentless Groningen goal ]

Gaetan Laborde tied the match before halftime, and Nice’s revamped roster looked set to hold tight for a point (The club’s signed familiar Premier League names Schmeichel, Ross Barkley, Aaron Ramsey, and Mario Lemina).

Even that wouldn’t be enough, though, as Kylian Mbappe came off the bench to replace young Hugo Ekitike to finish a Nordi Mukiele assist for a 2-1 win.

PSG has eight wins and a draw this season, good for a two-point lead on second-place Marseille. Messi has five goals and a joint-league-best seven assists, tied with Neymar. Mbappe and Neymar are tied for the league goals lead with eight.

Lionel Messi free kick goal video

USMNT’s Ricardo Pepi defies xG with relentless goal (video)

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USMNT forward Ricardo Pepi’s goal while trying to will Groningen back into an eventual 4-1 loss to AZ Alkmaar on Saturday will not be one of the expected variety.

The 19-year-old striker, on loan from Augsburg, ran onto an audacious long pass from 20-year-old defender Neraysho Kasanwirjo but had plenty of work to do with AZ leading 2-0.

[ MORE: Josef Martinez scores audacious overhead goal ]

Pepi sees one defender fall in a race to the ball, then bodies up AZ’s Sam Beukema a little outside the six-yard box.

Hand-to-hand combat sees both players hit the turf, and Pepi probably could won a penalty.

But the World Cup hopeful spins while on the pitch and snaps a shot past charging AZ goalkeeper Hobie Verhulst to make it 2-1.

Video after the jump.

Ricardo Pepi
fotmob.com

Ricardo Pepi goal video: Fantastic start to Groningen loan

Pepi now has a goal or an assist in his first three Eredivisie outings, not unlike his fantastic start to life in a USMNT shirt.

His goal contributions have taken a dive since his first two USMNT matches — World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Jamaica — and he only has one assist from the following 10 outings in a U.S. shirt.

Still, Pepi is clearly one of Gregg Berhalter’s favorite options for the upcoming World Cup, and his performances will be measured against Union Berlin’s Jordan Pefok, FC Dallas’ Jesus Ferreira, and others.

In a tournament where every moment matters, his work for this scrappy finish will be well-noted by the USMNT staff.

Josef Martinez scores vicious overhead kick in Atlanta United loss (video)

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If this is the last goal of Josef Martinez’s (likely) final season with Atlanta United, it will be very appropriate.

So for Martinez, even in a losing effort, to go airborne for an overhead kick that is a simply sensational feat of athleticism and power, well, it just feels right.

The 29-year-old Venezuelan forward joined the Five Stripes in 2017 in what seemed a massive capture for the club at the time and now seems downright gargantuan, but he’s fallen out with current manager Gonzalo Pineda and was even suspended for a match last month.

[ MORE: West Ham beats Wolves | Klopp reacts to latest setback ]

Martinez has nine goals and four assists in an injury-abbreviated 25-game season, giving him 111 goals in 156 appearances for ATL UTD. The former Torino and Young Boys striker is still being capped for Venezuela and would leave with an MLS Cup, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and Campeones Cup as well as a boatload of individual honors.

Atlanta lost 2-1 to New England on Saturday and returns home for their season finale next weekend versus New York City FC. The Five Stripes won’t make the playoffs unless at least two teams decide not to field teams, so if the NYCFC game doesn’t go well, let’s pretend this one was his final appearance for the club.