Scout report: Spotlight on Leeds United's tactics and key players ahead of Sunderland game

Leeds United boss Thomas Christiansen.
Leeds United boss Thomas Christiansen.
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Still unbeaten Sunderland welcome fellow promotion hopefuls Leeds Untied to the Stadium of Light this evening in a televised clash.

The Whites narrowly missed out on the play-offs last season and will be keen to better their 7th place finish this time around.

There were eyebrows raised when Garry Monk left Elland Road over the summer but his replacement, former APOEL Nicosia boss Thomas Christiansen, has started brightly.

But what should the Black Cats expect from Christiansen's side tonight? We take a look:

What should Sunderland expect?

With a robust defence and a fair dose of attacking flair, Simon Grayson's former employers will prove a tough test for his current side.

Christiansen has stuck with a 4-2-3-1 formation for all of Leeds' four games so far this season and it's expected he'll start with the same shape at the Stadium of Light.

But within that formation Leeds have plenty of room for variation – the attacking three can rotate freely while one can move forward and partner up with the lone striker to unsettle the opposition defence.

The Whites will look to play attractive football, too.

With some exciting players in the attacking areas, its all about getting them on the ball and causing plenty of problems by playing out from the back and stringing together some good build-up play.

They accompany their free-flowing attacks with a strong defence which has kept back-to-back clean sheets in the Championship.

Sunderland will definitely find them difficult to unlock when going forward.

Who should we watch out for?

A key part of Leeds' defence is the imposing Pontus Jansson, with his six-foot-five figure making him an effective aerial presence.

The Swedish international became a fans' favourite at Elland Road during a loan spell from Torino last season and has since gone on to make the move permanent.

He has started the season well and has helped Leeds shore up their backline alongside Cameron Borthwick-Jackson who joined on loan from Manchester United.

The youngster made Premier League appearances for the Red Devils under Louis Van Gaal and is a cultured defender, comfortable in the middle or at left back.

He could well be the man tasked with stopping the in-form Aiden McGeady.

Leeds' main goalscoring threat comes in the form of Chris Wood, who is likely to start as a lone striker.

A New Zealand international, Wood netted 27 times last season as he topped the Championship scoring charts.

Wood has reportedly been the subject of Premier League interest in this transfer window and, with his fine finishing ability, it's no surprise.

How have they started the season?

The Elland Road are still unbeaten this season – but are likely frustrated at a lack of wins.

They started the season with a 3-2 win at newly-promoted Bolton and went on to triumph 4-1 against Port Vale in the Carabao Cup.

But that was followed by two Championship stalemates at Elland Road – against Preston and Fulham – with Leeds fans frustrated at their inability to find the back of the net.

However, Leeds still remain unbeaten this season and sit 7th in the Championship with five points to their name.

Christiansen will be keen to address his side's lack of a cutting edge ahead of the trip to the Stadium of Light, but perhaps more important is that they maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.