Myth or not, there have been many instances of ‘second season syndrome’ in the Premier League. The phenomenon is that plenty of newly promoted teams have managed to do well in their first season in the Premier League, but have struggled to keep up the same intensity in their season consecutive season in the English top flight. Sheffield United, Ipswich Town, Reading, Birmingham City, among plenty of others, are teams which have been a victim of this.
Hence, there have been concerns on whether Leeds United will take the same route after the fantastic season they had in 2020/21. Marcelo Bielsa’s team managed to finish in the top half of the table in what was their first Premier League campaign in sixteen years.
However, they have not been able to show similar intensity thus far in the 2021/22 Premier League season and are still searching for their first win. In their next match, they will take on another team that is yet to register their first league win of the season in Newcastle United.
Steve Bruce’s men did well to finish 12th last season, but from the little we have seen thus far, they have not showed any signs of a possible repeat of that. The Magpies lost their last two Premier League fixtures, and a third consecutive defeat could push them down to the bottom of the table.
As Leeds United and Newcastle United fight for their first win, let’s take an in-depth look at both sides:
NEWCASTLE UNITED IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE 2021/22 SEASON SO FAR
Newcastle United played excellent football in the first few minutes of their 2021/22 Premier League campaign, as they took only five minutes to score against West Ham United in their first match of the season. West Ham United scored the equaliser in the 18th minute, and from then to now, there have not been many positives for the Magpies.
West Ham United won that match 4-2, and in their second match, Steve Bruce & Co. travelled to Villa Park to take on Aston Villa. The performance was yet again disappointing from the men in black and white, as the hosts walked away with a comfortable 2-0 victory.
Newcastle United did manage to put up a better show in their third match against Southampton. They were leading 2-1 till the very last minute, thanks to goals from Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson. However, a last-minute penalty, which was converted by James Ward-Prowse, meant that all Newcastle United could manage was a point. That is all they have to show for, as in their last match, Manchester United handed them a 4-1 drubbing.
PREDICTED LINEUPS AND TACTICS AGAINST LEEDS UNITED
Goalkeeper Karl Darlow, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the season, is now fully fit and available for selection. He is expected to take the place of Freddie Woodman, who had a game to forget against Manchester United.
Paul Dummett and Ryan Fraser are still not one hundred percent fit, so Steve Bruce might consider keeping them out for this match. However, the usual back three of Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar and Ciaran Clark might return for this match, as they are all fit.
Javier Manquilo and Matt Ritchie are expected to be the two wing-backs in Bruce’s 3-5-2, with Joe Willock, Isaac Hayden and Miguel Almiron forming the midfield trio. Callum Wilson is nursing a thigh injury, which will provide Joelinton a chance to lead the line, alongside Allan Saint-Maximin.
Probable Playing XI (3-5-2): Karl Darlow, Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar, Ciaran Clark, Javier Manquilo, Isaac Hayden, Joe Willock, Miguel Almiron, Matt Ritchie, Allan Saint-Maximin, Joelinton
LEEDS UNITED IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE 2021/22 SEASON SO FAR
While Newcastle United were defeated by Manchester United in their last match, Leeds United started their campaign with a 5-1 defeat against the Red Devils. Bielsa’s tactics was criticised heavily after that defeat, but his plans somewhat worked in their second match against Everton.
Up against a formidable side, Leeds United managed to walk away with a point after the match ended 2-2. They came from behind to secure a point in that match, and then did exactly the same in their third match against Burnley.
Burnley’s resolute defence managed to keep Leeds’ attackers at bay for majority of the match, but English striker Patrick Bamford netted the equaliser in the 86th minute. In their last match against Liverpool, however, the Whites failed to turn up, as Jurgen Klopp’s team won the match by a margin of 3-0.
PREDICTED LINEUP AND TACTICS AGAINST NEWCASTLE UNITED
The list of absentees Leeds United are dealing with currently is a long one. Centre-back Robin Koch has still not recovered from his groin injury, while another defender in Diego Llorente suffered a muscle injury in the last match against Liverpool.
Both are likely to be unavailable for selection, and so is Pascal Struijk, who was suspended in the previous game for his tackle on Harvey Elliott. With Liam Cooper being the only recognised centre-back available, Marcelo Bielsa might be forced to play Luke Ayling at the centre of the defence, with Stuart Dallas set to fill in on the right flank.
Bielsa is expected to play a 4-2-1-3 system, with Kalvin Phillips, one of the best anchormen in England, and Mateusz Klich forming a double pivot, and Rodrigo Moreno placed ahead of them. Though Leeds United now have a new attacking option in the form of Daniel James, they are likely to stick with their usual front three of Patrick Bamford, Raphinha, and Jack Harrison.
Probable Playing XI (4-2-1-3): Illan Meslier, Stuart Dallas, Luke Ayling, Liam Cooper, Junior Firpo, Mateusz Klich, Kalvin Phillips, Rodrigo Moreno, Raphinha, Patrick Bamford, Jack Harrison.