“If players weren’t human, I’d never lose.”


The appointment of Marcelo Bielsa as the manager of Leeds United has certainly caught the imagination. After all, this is the man that Pep Guardiola described as “the best coach in the world”.

As if this wasn't already a fixture with plenty of storylines, Frank Lampard will be taking charge of his first competitive game with Derby County at Pride Park Stadium.

So, what sort of test will the Rams be up against on Saturday evening?

How Will They Line Up?

Team vs. Stoke City: Peacock-Farrell; Ayling, Berardi, Cooper, Douglas; Saiz (Baker, 88’), Phillips, Klich (Dallas, 76’);Hernandez, Roofe, Alioski (Harrison, 89’).

Many expected Bielsa to go into his first game in English football with the 3-3-1-3 formation with which he has become known across Europe and South America.


As it happened, though, the result was more conventional, but the style of play brought the excitement that Leeds fans were hoping that one of the most intriguing managerial appointments of recent years would bring to the English second tier.

The progressive midfield duo of Klich and Saiz had no hesitation when it came to getting into the box, as the Poland international demonstrated when he stormed through to put his side in front.

They had the more defensive-minded Kalvin Phillips behind them to add protection to the back-four, whilst Roofe played as a lone striker.

At the back, Bailey Peacock-Farrell won the duel to start in goal, with Chelsea loanee Jamal Blackman on the bench, whilst new signing Barry Douglas lined up in a deeper full-back role, having spent the entirety of the previous campaign at wing-back at Molineux.

So soon after joining, it was perhaps a surprise to see Patrick Bamford ready enough for a place on the bench, but Bielsa could be tempted to hand the former Derby man his debut for the Whites at Pride Park today.

Key Three

Barry Douglas


Many were surprised when Wolves elected to let go of the most creative player in the Championship.

Douglas recorded 14 assists in the league as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side stormed to the title, but with the arrival of Jonny from Atletico Madrid, Wolves felt that he was surplus to requirements.

Bielsa is best known for utilising an adventurous 3-3-1-3 system and that could play to Douglas’ strengths, as he could provide creative from wing-back, just as he did so well as Molineux last term.

Even with the £10 million arrival of Bamford, this could prove to be Leeds’ most impressive acquisition.

Samuel Saiz


Saiz has enjoyed a peculiar career, with appearances for the reserve sides of Real Madrid, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, but he never made the pitch for the senior team.

Having arrived at Elland Road last summer, the Spaniard has impressed the Leeds’ faithful with a series of vibrant displays, both in attack and in midfield.

He made a crucial impact at Pride Park last season when he set up Ezgjan Alioski for their second goal, before Kasey Palmer intervened with a late equaliser.

Starting in centre-midfield against Stoke, he showed his class once again, and he will be looking to build on his record of nine goals and seven assists in all competitions last season.

Kemar Roofe


Roofe made his name with a stunning breakthrough season in 2015/16 at Oxford United, where he scored 26 goals.

Known as a wideman or central striker, Roofe will offer a goalscoring threat to Bielsa or an extra option out wide when needed.

After a disappointing debut campaign at Elland Road after his move in 2016, he came of age in the Championship last term with 11 goals, including a hat-trick at Queens Park Rangers in December.

He Said...

Bielsa: "Everyone knows the English football has special characteristics which is the intensity. It’s an aspect of the identity that everyone recognises to the English football, especially people who don’t live in England.

"I don’t think it would be difficult to teach something English football already does normally. Now, you’re right, there are many games, but we have two players for each position. I hope we will have the knowledge to combine all of these resources."