Preview | Leeds United v Swansea City
Swansea City’s final game before the international break is a mouthwatering top-of-the-table clash against Leeds United at Elland Road this afternoon (3pm).
The sides are the early pacesetters in the Championship, two points clear of the chasing pack after taking 13 points from a possible 15.
It means that the winner will be guaranteed to lead the second tier over the brief respite from league hostilities, and the teams will also see the fixture as an indicator of their credentials at this embryonic stage of the season.
Swansea have had little joy when visiting Elland Road over the years.
They have won there just once in their entire history, and that solitary success came some 70 years ago.
But head coach Steve Cooper and his players have turned history in their favour so far this season.
Cooper has had the best start to a tenure of any manager or coach in Swansea colours, while this is the Swans’ best start to a season since 1978.
Swansea were beaten 2-1 in Yorkshire back in February on a night where they took too long to find their stride.
They will be determined there will be no repeat of that in a game that is undoubtedly the pick of the Championship fixture list this weekend.
Nathan Dyer and Aldo Kalulu are set to be absent again for the Swans following their recent hamstring and ankle problems.
Tom Carroll made his first Swans appearance in 10 months in midweek against Cambridge, but may not be risked again so soon after making his comeback after hip surgery.
The likes of Kyle Naughton and George Byers will be hoping to force their way into Steve Cooper’s starting line-up after being on the bench against Birmingham.
Steve Cooper: “It's a game to be excited about, it's what it's all about.
“We love playing at home and the fans getting behind behind us, but equally we're going to look forward to going away to these stadiums and having crowds against us.
“If you can't be excited about this what is there to be excited about?”
Marcelo Bielsa: “Swansea City are showing a good level, they have a very clear idea on how to play.
"They are a solid team, they know how to defend and how to attack and at the same time they have good links in transitions from defence to attack and attack to defence.
"I am not surprised about Swansea’s start to the season, because they have deserved to get the results they have.”
Remember the last time?
Swansea City's long wait for a win at Elland Road went on as Oli McBurnie's late penalty was not enough to rescue a point as they suffered a 2-1 defeat in February of this year.
The hosts had surged into a 2-0 lead. Swedish defender Pontus Jansson swept home the opener in the 20th minute after a deflected shot fell his way in the area, before Jack Harrison's glancing header flew past Erwin Mulder to double their advantage after 34 moments.
The Swans had encouraging passages of play but rarely tested home keeper Kiko Casilla until the closing stages.
McBurnie scored from the spot after Luke Ayling had fouled Joel Asoro to give them hope, but it was not enough and 1949 remains the last time the Swans beat Leeds here.
6 - No Championship player has been directly involved in more goals this season than Swansea’s Borja Baston (five goals, one assist).
20 – Swansea City have played at Elland Road 20 times since their first trip there in 1927, but have tasted victory only once courtesy of a 2-1 second-tier triumph in September 1949.