Leeds United look all set to start their pre-season campaign on Thursday with a trip to York, to face Blackpool at the York City Stadium (LNER Community Stadium)
While this could be a good assessment for Blackpool- who will be going into this game having already kickstarted their friendly campaign with a 2-0 victory over National League North side Southport on Friday- their opponents might have a different notion about it. On paper it is what it is, Blackpool should be ready to face the wrath if they play loosely.
Because, believe it or not, these pre-season friendlies could still bring that psychological aspect to the fore, going into the new season. And at the moment, Leeds United are already looking as the victors, by a mile. Although there have been major shocks and surprises in these kinds of matches in the past, the Premier League outfit looks clear off their newly promoted Championship side.
However, as things stand, this game could bring a good fitness test for the Leeds United players after the Holiday period, before they head on to Australia to play their remaining Pre-season friendlies.
WHEN & WHERE
Venue: LNER Community Stadium
Day & Date: Thursday, 7th July 2022
Time: 19:00 HRS GMT
Blackpool have successfully gained promotion from League one, and they will be playing in the Championship this season. It is a remarkable feat, don’t get me wrong, but it is still below the Premier League level isn’t it?! I mean, it is true that Leeds also recently qualified 2 seasons ago into the top-tier English division, but they are about to play in their 3rd consecutive Premier League campaign this season.
Getting promoted is one thing, and surviving in a league like the Premier League is another… And Leeds have done it for 2 complete seasons now. It is at least safe to say that they are a big time team now, with the know-hows of “how to fight for survival in the Top-tier English football”. As for Blackpool, they might have a chance, but even then they have the slightest of chances to overthrow a challenge from an opposition of such a calibre.
Talking about the Tangerines, they have Michael Appleton at the helm of things for the second stint, as he was there at Bloomfield Road for a short spell in the 2021/22 season. Following Neil Critchley’s departure as a head coach to become an assistant to Stevie G at Villa Park, Appleton was given the charge last season. Despite all of this ruckus, and chaos, Blackpool got promoted to the second division, and is feeling a bit more confident than ever before.
Meanwhile, if we talk about the transfers, Blackpool are having the quietest of windows as opposed to their upcoming opponents. With the likes of Gary Madine, Jerry Yates and Shayne Lavery still staying put at the club, who scored a total of 25 league goals between them last season.
As for Leeds United, they are preparing for the new season without Kalvin Phillips, who joined Manchester City and even Tyler Roberts who is on his way to QPR on a season-long loan but they are making up for it in the market with some style… Leeds have already signed the likes of Marc Roca, Branden Aaronson, Rasmus Kristensen, Darko Gyabi, and have recently announced the signing of the American star Tyler Adams.
Although there is not enough information as to who might feature out of the newbies on Thursday, for the first pre-season game, this activity in the market goes to show what all is being done at the club to fight for survival (and even more, who knows?!) in the 3rd season running. And this will be Jesse Marsch’s start to hopefully a first full campaign, here, at Elland Road!
There is hardly any tactical change we would be seeing from Appleton, going into the match-up on Thursday. We saw the Tangerines play an entirely different squad over the two halves of the game and we might see the same yet again, against Leeds.
As for the Yorkshire-based club, it looks as if Marc Roca could get the run-in in the first friendly of the season, at his new club. Other than that, it seems as if the Peacocks might also acquire the similar tactics of playing to different sets of XIs over the course of the game.
And at last this game will also mark a special beginning for Leeds and Jesse Marsch, as the American Gaffer will be kick-starting his first full campaign as the head coach, since taking over the role from Marcelo Bielsa.