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Premier League: Leeds United vs Crystal Palace Preview

Crystal Palace will be making a 412-mile road trip to the Elland Road to take on Leeds United in the midweek Premier League clash. Both teams are trying to get back to winning ways and the upcoming encounter could be crucial in setting the tone as the teams prepare to enter the Christmas month of Premier League football.

For Leeds United, the last few weeks have been rough as their winless run now stretches to three consecutive games. The previous game against Brighton and Hove Albion didn’t produce a single goal and Marcelo Bielsa’s team will be desperate to avoid being dragged into the relegation battle at any cost.

The 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa has been a step back for Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace who were slowly, but surely, finding their footing. The Eagles have been on sparkling form away from home. They’ve subdued the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal and will be aiming to expose the frailties of the Leeds United side.

Without further ado, let’s take a deep dive into what to expect from both the teams in this fixture:

 

LEEDS UNITED IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE SO FAR THIS SEASON

Following the goalless draw with Brighton and Hove Albion, head coach Marcelo Bielsa will have to address several pressing concerns. Leeds were lucky to take a point from their clash with Brighton at the Amex Stadium as the home side were clearly better. The Whites have looked dismal creatively and offensively and they’ve scored only four goals in their last five matches.

All of this has meant that Leeds United inevitably got dragged down to the relegation table. They are currently 17th in the table with just 12 points from 13 games. Marcelo Bielsa’s team only have a three-point lead over Burnley and Norwich City in 18th and 19th positions and they need to collect points soon.

That effort could prove to be even more difficult as Leeds United will face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool consecutively after the games against Palace and Brentford. Add to that the harsh conditions during Christmas and Bielsa will have to rouse the spirit of his boys.

 

PREDICTED LINEUP AND TACTICS AGAINST CRYSTAL PALACE

It goes without saying that the long list of injuries has hurt Marcelo Bielsa’s plans. Many of their players who were key during the inspired 2020/21 Premier League run have been on the treatment table for a while now.

Leading the list is their most reliable goal-scorer Patrick Bamford. Bamford has been out with an ankle injury since September 17. The English striker contributed to 24 of Leeds’ goals last season and they’ve missed his clinical nature in the box. Robin Koch and Luke Ayling also join Bamford and the duo have missed 26 matches between them.

Star players Raphinha and Rodrigo played the full 90 against Brighton and Bielsa might be tempted to rotate at least one of them to avoid cases of burnout. In that case, Tyler Roberts could make a case for himself.

Probable Playing XI (4-2-3-1): Illan Meslier; Diego Llorente, Pascal Strujik, Liam Cooper, Junior Firpo; Kalvin Phillips; Raphinha, Tyler Roberts, Stuart Dallas, Jack Harrison; Daniel James

 

CRYSTAL PALACE IN PREMIER LEAGUE SO FAR THIS SEASON

Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace were hoping to dampen the spirit following the appointment of Steven Gerrard as Aston Villa manager in the weekend, but they ended up falling several steps short. Matt Targett took 15 minutes to open the scoring for Villa while John McGinn seemed to provide them with an unassailable lead. Marc Guehi’s consolation goal arrived too late to make much of a difference.

Prior to the match against Aston Villa, Crystal Palace were on a seven-game unbeaten run in the Premier League – although five of those ended in ties. With that being said, they’ve been on majestic form away from home. The Eagles have scored two goals in at least four of their last five away fixtures which is quite remarkable given that also included scoring against Arsenal, West Ham and Manchester City.

With 16 points, Palace are just behind Leicester City in the Premier League table in 11th place. They are level on points with Brentford and Aston Villa and just a couple of points away from the likes of Manchester United, Brighton and Leicester City.

 

PREDICTED LINEUPS AND TACTICS AGAINST LEEDS UNITED

Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen missed the game against Villa due to a thigh strain and is likely to miss this fixture as well. James McArthur is also expected to miss the game due to an injury.

Although Nathan Ferguson is in the final stages of his recovery, he’s unlikely to get any minutes against Leeds United. There are considerable doubts surrounding Eberechi Eze as well.

Probable Playing XI (4-3-3): Vicente Guaita; Joel Ward, James Tomkins, Marc Guehi, Tyrick Mitchell; Will Hughes, Cheikhou Kouyate, Conor Gallagher; Odsonne Edouard, Christian Benteke, Wilfried Zaha

 

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