Leeds United will be looking to bounce back from their narrow loss to Everton last time out in the Premier League. An early goal from Gylfi Sigurdsson set the tone for the match, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin doubling the Blues’s lead just before half-time.
The Whites responded, but couldn’t deploy enough firepower in order to ensure they would come away with the win. It will have been a frustrating day at the office for Marcelo Bielsa, but focus now shifts to Crystal Palace this evening.
soccer FanCast has predicted how Leeds will lineup against Roy Hodgson’s men at Elland Road…
With Robin Koch and Diego Llorente still out with injuries, Bielsa has been forced to rely on natural midfielder Pascal Struijk at centre-back. He has pulled away from using Luke Ayling centrally, instead deploying him at right-back.
On the opposite flank however, Ezgjan Alioski wasn’t entirely convincing at left-back against Everton. According to Sofascore, the £3.6million-rated full-back failed to put in a single block, interception or clearance and managed just the one tackle. He also committed four fouls, which is more than any other Leeds defender who stepped onto the pitch that game.
Not wanting to lose another match, Bielsa may push Stuart Dallas back into defence to maximise their chances of keeping a clean sheet against the plucky Eagles.
In midfield, a bold move to switch out Mateusz Klich could be a move that Palace don’t see coming. He had an unusually quiet match against the Toffees, failing to register a single dribble, key pass or cross, as per Sofascore.
Despite the fact that Pablo Hernandez hasn’t featured many times this season, he has been lauded by the likes of Phil Hay, who labelled him a “demon” for his performances in the Leeds engine room just last summer.
Similarly, Jamie Shackleton could be given the green light to make his first Premier League start of the new calendar year. Changing up his midfield options could hugely benefit Patrick Bamford, who is often left to carry the bulk of the goalscoring, and freshen things up for a Whites side reeling from their latest defeat.
And, with Raphinha and Jack Harrison both in fine form, they could bring out the best in a lesser seen midfield two, catching Palace flat-footed and hopefully finding the back of the net with ease.
In other news, Leeds must look to cut their losses on Helder Costa…