May 26, 2024

Leeds vs Cardiff LIVE SCORE: Anthony Pilkington makes game safe as  Bluebirds hammer ten-man Whites | The Sun

Analysing Leeds United: Transfers, targets, form and what  need to Cardiff City worry about

Cardiff City face Leeds United on the opening day of their Championship season

The 2023/24 Championship campaign is now merely a couple of days away.

It all begins when Sheffield Wednesday and Southampton lock horns on Friday evening, while Cardiff City get under way at Elland Road this coming Sunday.

A stern test can be expected, with Leeds having returned to the second tier after a three-year hiatus in the Premier League alongside Leicester City and Southampton.

Make no mistake about it, Leeds will be looking to mark down a real statement of intent from the offset, and it will be interesting to see just how Erol Bulut counters that.

READ MORE: What to expect from devastating 1v1 merchant Josh Bowler and where he sits in Cardiff City’s pecking order

And as is the nature of falling out of the top-flight trapdoor, wholesale change has been conducted in West Yorkshire as of late and Leeds now represent a very different proposition to the side that finished 19th last time out.

Here is the lowdown on everything that has been going on at Leeds United and just how Sunday’s opponents may fare this season…

An exodus of the playing squad felt inevitable, with a series of high-profile players departing Leeds on either a temporary or permanent basis over the summer.

Marc Roca - Player profile 23/24 | Transfermarkt

Marc Roca, Rasmus Kristensen, Max Wober and Brenden Aaronson have all sought pastures new after a sole season with the club, whereas the likes of Robin Koch, Diego Llorente, Tyler Roberts and top-scorer Rodrigo are all among those to have moved on, too.

Further sales could yet be on the horizon and impressive duo Tyler Adams and Wilfried Gnonto are among those to be strongly linked with the Elland Road exit door.

On the other hand, Leeds have welcomed two fresh faces to date.

The first of those is a familiar face for Cardiff supporters, too, with 44-cap Welsh international Ethan Ampadu joining from Chelsea for an initial fee of £7m along with further add-ons.

They have also bolstered their goalkeeping ranks by bringing in Karl Darlow from Newcastle United.

Daniel Farke appointment

Rasmus Kristensen: Leeds United in talks over move for RB Salzburg  right-back | Football News | Sky Sports

Daniel Farke was appointed at the beginning of July and provides real pedigree at this level, having orchestrated two promotion campaigns while at Norwich City.

Leeds stripped through three separate managers in the Premier League as Jesse Marsch, Javi Gracia and Sam Allardyce all failed to deliver success.

The picture looks rosier with Farke, however.

The German’s possession-based approach is a style very much befitting of Leeds’ squad and his appointment reflects the ambitions that the Whites harbour for this coming season.

Promotion favourites

On paper, Leeds appear well-placed to plot a real bid for promotion.

Crucially, of course, Farke simply knows what it takes to guide teams out of this league and he has the players at his disposal to do just that too.

Leeds United defender Max Wober explains 'extremely appealing' Borussia  Monchengladbach transfer

As things stand, Leeds have managed to maintain a host of seriously impressive talent such as Jack Harrison, Gnonto and Adams – all of whom provided good accounts despite relegation – and while there is every chance they could leave before the deadline at the end of the month, the Whites remain well-stocked nonetheless.

There is a school of thought that Leeds could really do damage in the final third, which is backed up by the wealth of options there in Luis Sinisterra, Crysencio Summerville, Georginio Rutter and Welsh flyer Dan James among others.

There is less strength in depth in the middle of the park and Farke will have to make the required additions there in the coming weeks, although their defensive line is formidable and could well include former Cardiff right-back Cody Drameh for good measure.

And unsurprisingly, Leeds are also strongly tipped by the bookmakers to return to the promised land at the first time of asking.

At the time of writing, Sky Bet have Farke’s side pencilled in as second favourites to secure promotion at 13/8, which sees them only behind Leicester.

Players to watch

Ampadu certainly beholds the footballing profile to look a cut above in the Championship this year, as Bluebirds fans will know all too well courtesy of his impressive displays on the international front.

The 22-year-old arrives off the back of two successive Serie A seasons with Venezia and Spezia respectively where, by all accounts, he made an impression in Italy while on loan from Chelsea.

Capable of dictating matches from deep areas, Ampadu’s passing range and press-resistance means that he should stand out, and Cardiff may have a tough time getting close to him out of possession on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Cardiff will also be dreading the sight of Gnonto this weekend, who provoked nightmares during the 5-2 FA Cup replay defeat in January.

Indeed, the Italian forward opened the scoring after just 30 seconds on the clock with an audacious volleyed effort and proceeded to put in a devastating performance from there, with his direct dribbling and turn of pace proving too much to contain.

Leeds United defender Max Wober explains 'extremely appealing' Borussia  Monchengladbach transfer

Gnonto was one of a few Leeds players to provide a strong account of himself in the Premier League despite the club’s relegation, and after grabbing four goals and assists apiece in limited minutes across all competitions, he will surely play a leading role if he stays put.

Leeds endured mixed fortunes across their pre-season schedule.

Farke’s first fixture at the helm yielded a 2-0 defeat to rivals Manchester United over in Norway, before they lost once again by the same scoreline against Monaco 10 days later.

That said, Leeds managed to pick up from there on and goals from Patrick Bamford and Ian Poveda saw them secure victory over a strong Nottingham Forest side on July 27, before Luke Ayling’s strike ensured that their pre-season campaign ended in victory away at Hearts.

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