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Leeds vs Stoke: Elland Road stalemate for starters

Leeds vs Stoke Match Preview and Predictions

[All odds correct at time of publication] 

Match information

When is it? Sunday 5th August

What time is kick-off? 16:30

Where is it being played? Elland Road

Which channel is it on? Sky Sports Main Football

Who is the referee? Scott Duncan (Tyne & Wear)

Marcelo Bielsa experiences Championship football for the first time when Leeds open their campaign versus Stoke at Elland Road.

The 63-year-old, formerly coach of Argentina and Chile, has been charged with the task of guiding United back to the Premier League.

Bielsa will come up against another new boss in the form of Gary Rowett, who is looking to guide the Potters back to the top flight following relegation last term.

Leeds vs Stoke Betting Tips

Here are our best tips for the match and we also have a range of other markets available.

The lowdown

Stoke have splashed the cash this summer as Rowett, having replaced Paul Lambert, attempts to do something he failed to do at Derby last season and win promotion.

The calibre of signings made has improved an already-experienced squad, making Stoke genuine title contenders.

Yet they have a poor record when travelling away for their first game of a new campaign, failing to win the last six times.

Having struggled last term, Leeds are hoping for a promotion push this time around and the arrival of Bielsa has raised confidence.

The Whites have dipped into the transfer market to sign the likes of Barry Douglas from Wolves, Patrick Bamford from Middlesbrough and Jack Harrison on loan from Manchester City and they also have home advantage and are unbeaten in their last three matches when starting a season in front of their own fans.

The pair have drawn two of their last three meetings at Elland Road as well and another stalemate is 9/4 in our Leeds vs Stoke predictions.

A tight game is expected first up so a draw with both teams to score is appealing at 10/3.

First goalscorer tips

Leeds have splashed the cash to sign Bamford from rivals Middlesbrough as they embark on a 15th successive season outside the top flight. The 24-year-old netted a hat-trick against Leeds last season as part of his 13 goals in all competitions. He has not been as prolific since helping Boro to the play-off final in 2014/15 but he will be looking to make an immediate impact at Elland Road and 4/1 that Bamford opens the scoring is worth consideration.

Anytime goalscorer tips

Benik Afobe signed a six-month loan with an "obligation to purchase him for an undisclosed fee in January" just 11 days after joining Premier League new-boys Wolves from Bournemouth after a loan stint last season. Was a prolific scorer when he last played at this level and his pace can cause any defence problems. He is also a threat and can expose any weaknesses in the Leeds back-line so Afobe to score anytime at 9/5 appeals.

Where the game will be won or lost

Rowett will arguably have the best squad in the league at his disposal ahead of their trip to West Yorkshire.

Tom Ince and James McClean have both arrived this summer, for £10million and £5million respectively, and Afobe has come in on loan.

Rowett has also pulled off a coup by talking Wales midfielder Joe Allen into staying, while Peter Crouch, Ryan Shawcross and Darren Fletcher offer vast experience.

But taking into account the amount of new arrivals, the players coming to terms with a new manager and the fact relegation will still be fresh in their minds, Stoke may take time to gel.

Leeds have a similar side to the one that finished last season and, although they have yet to fully strengthen and are now working under Bielsa, familiarity may give them a head start.

So United to be leading at half-time before drawing is 12/1 in our final tip in the Leeds vs Stoke predictions.

Team news

Leeds keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell gets the nod ahead of Jamal Blackman for Sunday, but Pontus Jansson is unlikely to start after only just returning from a three-week holiday. Patrick Bamford, Jack Harrison and Barry Douglas are all in line to make their debuts, but United have been rocked by an injury to Adam Forshaw who is out with a foot injury which could leave him on the sidelines for a few weeks.

Ashley Williams is one of several players that could make his Stoke debut after joining the club on loan from Everton. Benik Afobe, Oghenekaro Etebo, Tom Ince and James McClean could all make their bows at Elland Road.

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Stuart Walker
@BetStars in Football