Rodrigo & Poveda start, 29 y/o axed as Bielsa makes big calls: Predicted Leeds XI – opinion

Having edged past the Premier League’s bottom club Sheffield United last week, Leeds United face the other end of the spectrum when they take on champions-elect Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side needed an own goal from Phil Jagielka to see them over the line in a 2-1 victory over the Blades, and know that a City team who come off the back of a superb Champions League win against Borussia Dortmund will pose arguably their stiffest test of the season.

With Liverpool and then Manchester United to come, Bielsa will be keen to ensure his side start off a trio of tough encounters with at least an impressive performance, if not a result.

Here is a look at just how Leeds might line up when they travel to the league leaders.

leeds-man-city-predicted-lineup

In goal, Illan Meslier will be hoping to keep his tenth clean sheet of the Premier League season against the division’s most prolific side – Pep Guardiola’s men have racked up an impressive 66 goals in just 31 games, an average of more than two per match.

The back four could see one change, with the 29-year-old Gjanni Alioski dropping out and Stuart Dallas potentially reverting from his recent central midfield position to left-back.

That could open the door for a return to the starting line-up for Mateusz Klich, who has had to battle with the virus in recent weeks after picking it up early on international duty with Poland.

After coming on as a substitute for Patrick Bamford in their last game, Leeds could hand Rodrigo a recall, with the Spaniard taking the place of Tyler Roberts.

Bielsa will have to make one enforced change to his starting line-up, with winger Jack Harrison ineligible to play against his parent club. That could see Helder Costa replace him in the team, but the Leeds boss could spring something of a surprise by unleashing Poveda against his former club.

Predicted XI: Meslier; Ayling, Llorente, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips; Raphinha, Klich, Rodrigo, Poveda; Bamford.

Meanwhile, Leeds could finally wave goodbye to this liability by signing this Premier League titan…

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