It has been a nightmare of a start to Leeds United’s Premier League season. Marcelo Bielsa’s side got thumped 5-1 at the hands of Manchester United at the Old Trafford. The Red Devils’ talisman Bruno Fernandes proved too hot for the Leeds defenders to handle and he ended up scoring a hat-trick in the match.
They are currently rooted to the bottom of the table and will be looking for a reversal in fortune when they take on the Toffees in front of their fans at the Elland Road.
Everton, meanwhile, couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to their campaign this season. Although Southampton went ahead courtesy of an Adam Armstrong goal, Everton scored thrice in the second half to pick up all three points from the game while completing a remarkable comeback. Although it’s the early days, they are fifth in the table as things stand.
The last time these two sides took on each other, Everton secured a hard-fought win. Gylfi Sigurdsson had put the Toffees ahead in the ninth minute of the match following a wonderful Lucas Digne cross.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who had been in red-hot form, then doubled Everton’s lead. The Whites were the better of the two sides in the second-half. And although Raphinha did pull one back, they had little else to show for their efforts.
Let’s take an in-depth look at both the sides.
LEEDS UNITED IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE 2021/22 SEASON SO FAR
Interestingly, when Luke Ayling scored just after the second-half in the match against Manchester United, it was the equaliser after Bruno Fernandes had put United ahead in the first half.
What seemed to have been a rather tricky period for United proved to be nothing but a consolation for Leeds as the home side ran riot immediately after, scoring four goals within 19 minutes of the Ayling goal to put the game to bed.
Because of the nature of the defeat and their huge goal difference, Leeds United are currently placed at the bottom of the table. Leeds, after a top half finish in their maiden Premier League campaign after 16 years, can take comfort in the fact that they will be playing in front of their passionate supporters for the first time since making the climb to the Premier League.
PREDICTED LINEUPS AND TACTICS AGAINST EVERTON
Against Manchester United, the Whites were guilty of offering the opposition players too much space in midfield. Of course, players like Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba can make the most of even the tiniest of opportunities and that’s exactly why Leeds United failed to take control of the match in the second half.
The return of Kalvin Phillips – among the best anchormen in the league – who didn’t play against United could be a welcome move for Marcelo Bielsa. Phillips’ work-rate, ground coverage, and interception numbers are second to none and he can do the job of covering up vacated spaces to perfection. This might lead to Stuart Dallas being deployed at left-back.
Bielsa will also miss the services of Diego Llorente, who’s expected to be out until the end of the month because of a knee injury. Robin Koch and Liam Cooper are expected to partner in defence in his stead.
Probable Playing XI: Illan Meslier, Robin Koch, Liam Cooper, Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas, Mateusz Klich, Kalvin Phillips, Jack Harrison, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Patrick Bamford
EVERTON IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE 2021/22 SEASON SO FAR
New head coach Rafael Benitez will be extremely proud of the display by his side in his first match in charge of the club.
Everton were put in a spot of bother after Southampton’s Adam Armstrong stunned the Goodison Park by scoring in the 22nd minute of the match. The Toffees failed to regain their composure and came close to scoring, but they couldn’t manage to get back on level terms before the break.
However, Benitez’s men came out roaring in the second half and Richarlison pulled one back within a couple of minutes. Everton had to be patient and bide their time before going into the lead.
This time, Abdoulaye Doucoure scored in the 76th minute. Star striker Dominic Calvert Lewin then put the game to bed with a goal in the 81st minute of the match.
PREDICTED LINEUP AND TACTICS AGAINST LEEDS UNITED
Rafael Benitez won’t look to shuffle the pack too much after a comfortable start to the league campaigns. Everton are also unbothered by any fresh injury concerns at the moment.
Although Richarlison had a very busy summer and was involved in both of Brazil’s Copa America as well as Olympics campaigns, he would be in line to start once again here.
However, Benitez might push Demarai Gray to the flanks in order to accommodate Richarlison in the middle of the park from the start here after the move paid off dividends in the second-half against Southampton.
Probable Playing XI (4-2-3-1): Jordan Pickford; Seamus Coleman, Mason Holgate, Michael Keane, Lucas Digne; Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure; Andros Townsend, Richarlison, Demarai Gray; Dominic Calvert-Lewin
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