Euro 2020 Special
 

Premier League: Leeds Keen to Keep Marching on at Saints

Southampton vs Leeds United

Leeds United are close to securing their spot in the top half of the Premier League table. The Whites are currently in 10th place and could finish even higher than that if they continue their strong march toward the end of the season.

Their penultimate game of the season will see them pay a visit to Southampton, who are set to welcome fans back to St Mary’s. Saints will be going for a hat-trick of home wins after back-to-back 3-1 victories over Crystal Palace and Fulham.

However, the Premier League 2021 betting odds will still favour the Whites, who are back to full strength and are in fantastic form at the moment.

Talking Points

Southampton going strong at St Mary’s

Southampton are trying to finish a disastrous second half of the season on a bit of a high. After an awful run of Premier League 2021 results that saw them win just twice in 17 games — with 13 defeats — Saints have won back-to-back games at home against Crystal Palace and Fulham.

The strike partnership of Danny Ings and Che Adams has done most of the damage in those wins. Ings scored a brace against Palace, while Adams scored in both matches and added an assist. 

Young Nathan Tella also came off the bench against Fulham and made a major impact as he got his first career Premier League goal and assist. That fine performance might be enough to convince Ralph Hasenhuttl to hand him a start against Leeds.

Meanwhile, Saints are still missing starting defenders Jan Bednarek and Ryan Bertrand due to injury. Jack Stephens and Mohammed Salisu have filled in well at left-back, but they could face a tough challenge against Raphinha down the right wing.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl aims to give it all when they face Leeds United in upcoming Premier League game
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl instructs his players from the sideline during their Premier League clash against Fulham

Southampton remain quite shaky defensively; they have kept just one clean sheet in their last 19 league matches.

However, they have at least been prolific in front of goal at home. They’ve scored three goals in three of their last four at home. They also held Leicester to a 1-1 draw despite going down to 10 men after just 10 minutes.

Leeds looking better and better

Leeds United further tightened their grip on a top-half finish with a smashing 4-0 win over Burnley. Mateusz Klich and Jack Harrison gave the Whites a commanding two-goal lead, and substitute Rodrigo bagged a quick brace to seal the win.

Leeds have now won five of their last eight matches, with two draws and only one defeat as they end the season on a high.

A big reason for Leeds’ late-season success has been because they are finally back to full health. Raphinha made his first start in more than a month and supplied his eighth assist of the campaign. Meanwhile, record signing Rodrigo has returned from his injury layoff in great form, scoring three goals in his last two games.

It remains to be seen whether Rodrigo has done enough to earn a rare start over Klich and Stuart Dallas, who has been outstanding this season. But the Spanish striker does provide a much-needed weapon off the Leeds bench in case leading scorer Patrick Bamford (just one goal in his last seven games) continues to struggle in front of goal.

Marcelo Bielsa changed his defence from a back four to a back three of Luke Ayling, Diego Llorente, and Pascal Struijk against Burnley.  He also fielded that formation in their first meeting against Saints, which led to an easy 3-0 win for the Whites.

History

Leeds won their first meeting against Southampton 3-0 at Elland Road. Patrick Bamford, Stuart Dallas, and Raphinha supplied the goals.

It was Leeds’ first meeting against Southampton in nine years. They last met in the EFL Cup in 2012, and as luck would have it, the Whites also scored a 3-0 home win in that game.