Following a humiliating FA Cup defeat against Crawley Town, Leeds United return to top-flight action against an out-of-form Brighton and Hove Albion at Elland Road on Saturday.
Here’s our preview of the game.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men started the new year with two consecutive defeats, losing to Tottenham in the League and a surprise defeat to Crawley Town in the FA Cup fixture. The Whites currently occupy 12th place in the table, with 23 points from 17 fixtures.
Leeds might employ their usual 4-1-4-1 formation, but they might have to switch to the 3-3-1-3 formation to counter Brighton’s unique two-man attack strategy. Bielsa has used his signature 3-3-1-3 formation thrice in the season so far, losing twice and winning just once.
Patrick Bamford is set to return to lead the attack, supported by Rodrigo and Mateusz Klich. Leeds’ defences remain weak, with The Whites sitting just behind West Brom in total goals conceded. The absence of Kalvin Phillips in the mid-field is likely to help Brighton’s attackers and score some goals. Star midfielder Kalvin Phillips is suspended from the game after his late Yellow Card in the game against Tottenham. Robin Koch continues to miss out due to his knee injury, Gaetano Berardi and Adam Forshaw will not be available for the match either.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION
Brighton’s winless run continued on Wednesday night against Manchester City, with The Seagulls putting up a spirited fight against the much better Blues. They currently sit 17th on the table, with 14 points from their 18 fixtures, hovering just above the relegation zone.
Brighton’s last win in the Premier League was against Aston Villa, back in November. Since then, they have lost four and levelled six matches. As if a winless streak and the risk of relegation aren’t enough, Brighton are plagued with injuries. Tariq Lamptey and Aaron Connolly will miss the game with hamstring complaints, while Adam Lallana continues to be ill. Danny Welbeck is yet to recover from his knee injury. Florin Andone and Jose Izquierdo are not expected to return for another two months.
- Leeds have lost seven out of their last 10 fixtures against Brighton.
- Leeds defeated Brighton 2-0 the last time they faced each other – in the EFL Championship back in 2017.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Brighton’s winless streak and home-ground advantage will give Marcelo Bielsa hope to turn things around swiftly. Brighton need to win this fixture to keep their spirits up and improve their chances of staying in the League. They are just three points clear of the relegation zone, above Fulham – who have two additional games to make up the difference.
An exciting match is to be expected – as at least three goals per match were recorded in 5 of the past 6 fixtures where Leeds United have been involved.
LEEDS VS SOUTHAMPTON POSTPONED
Leeds United’s next Premier League fixture against Southampton, originally scheduled for 20th January, has been postponed to accommodate Shrewsbury Town’s missed FA Cup fixture. Shrewsbury were supposed to face Southampton last Sunday, but the fixture was postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak among the squad. Leeds will face Southampton at a later date.
Leeds Predicted XI: Illan Meslier (GK); Stuart Dallas; Luke Ayling ©; Pascal Struijk; Ezgjan Alioski; Jamie Shackleton; Mateusz Klich; Rodrigo Moreno; Raphinha; Jack Harrison; Patrick Bamford.
Brighton Predicted XI: Robert Sanchez (GK); Joel Veltman, Adam Webster, Lewis Dunk (C), Dan Burn; Leandro Trossard, Ben White, Davy Propper, Bernardo; Alexis Mac Allister; Percy Tau.
When: Saturday, 16 January 2021, 6:30 PM IST
Where: Elland Road, Leeds
Where to Watch: All Premier League fixtures are streamed live on Disney+ Hotstar. Select matches will be streamed on Star Sports and Star Sports Select channels.
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