Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United supporters are eagerly anticipating the meeting between the two Yorkshire heavyweights in the Championship on Friday night, with both going into the encounter off the back of contrasting results.
Jos Luhukay’s Owls made a sluggish start to the 2018/19 season but have since hit a rich vein of form, winning four of their last six league matches, the most recent of which a 2-1 success at Aston Villa last weekend.
Yet Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds have been sensational for much of the campaign so far, sitting top of the division having won five and drawn three of their opening nine league matches, although they go into their trip to Hillsborough on Friday off the back of losing 2-1 to Birmingham City at the weekend.
Yet both sides will be hoping to get better as the season wears on given the quality players at both managers’ disposal, with Barry Bannan continuing to be a big influence in the middle of Wednesday’s midfield, while Samuel Saiz is the man Leeds often turn to for a moment of inspiration.
Thus, with these two stars set to play a key part in what success their respective sides have this term, let’s take a look at how they compare…
28-year-old Bannan made the move to Hillsborough back in 2015 after a relatively unsuccessful time at Premier League side Crystal Palace, yet there is little doubting that the midfielder has reignited his career since moving to Wednesday.
The Scotland international has bagged seven goals and laid on 15 assists in 128 appearances for the Owls in the last three years or so, with his best season coming in their run to the Championship play-offs back in 2016/17, in which he scored once and laid on eight assists for the Yorkshire giants.
And with two goals and an assist already this time round under Luhukay, alongside playing every minute of their nine Championship games so far, Bannan looks set to play a vital part for the Owls this term, with his form potentially shaping what sort of season Wednesday could go on to have this time round.
TT Verdict: B+
Former Spain Under-19 international Saiz made the move to Leeds back in the summer of 2017, as former boss Thomas Christiansen sought to build a side capable of challenging for promotion to the Premier League.
And while some signings didn’t pay off, there is no doubting that the addition of Saiz was a great one as the 27-year-old has been an absolute revelation at Elland Road, scoring nine goals and laying on eight assists in all competitions last term to miss out on the club’s Player of the Year award to fellow attacker Pablo Hernandez.
On his day though, Saiz is arguably as talented as any other forward player in the Championship, with the Spaniard often orchestrating things for the Yorkshire giants, even more so in the recent absence of the influential Hernandez.
And with two assists already this term under new boss Bielsa, he again looks set to play a crucial part in what success Leeds have this season.
TT Verdict: A-
Clearly, both Bannan and Saiz are vital to their respective sides, and both look set to play a key part in what success Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds have in the Championship this season.
Bannan has certainly resurrected his career since moving to Hillsborough back in 2015, and deserves great credit for that, but the start Saiz has made in the English football in the last 12 months must be applauded, as he has taken to the Championship seamlessly.
And in a Leeds side that have made a stunning start to the campaign, the 27-year-old will be one man Whites supporters will be looking at to help turn their fine start into something very special come the end of the season.
Thus, while there is no doubt that Bannan is great, he’s got nothing on Leeds orchestrator Saiz.
Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds fans… what do you think? Let us know!