Leeds United and Southampton are hazardously flirting with the relegation zone at the moment as they head into each other for a pivotal clash. Neither side has managed to get their 2021/22 Premier League campaign off to a good start.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton are still searching for their first victory. In the seven matches they have featured in, the Saints have picked up only three points which has placed them 17th in the table – all but one point above the dreaded bottom three.
Leeds United’s performances have not been quite impressive either. They have accumulated six points from seven matches and are immediately above their next opponents in the points table.
Unlike Southampton, however, Leeds do have a win to their name which came in their last match against Watford. They will hope to make it two wins in a row while the Saints will be searching for the elusive first win.
Though it is still early doors in the competition, this fixture might have a lasting impression on the relegation permutations and combinations. Let’s take an in-depth look at both the sides.
SOUTHAMPTON IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE 2021/22 SEASON SO FAR
Getting off a good start is of utmost importance in the Premier League and it is something Southampton were not able to do. In their first match of the 2021/22 season, they suffered a 3-1 defeat against Everton.
They were much better and made fewer mistakes in their second match against Manchester United, which helped them earn a crucial point against one of the better sides of the competition.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men were not able to win any of their next two matches against Newcastle United and West Ham United. But on the flip side, they did not lose either as they picked up two points from those fixtures.
In their fourth match, Southampton managed to restrict Manchester City to a 0-0 draw. The last two matches, however, have not gone in the Saints’ favour as they suffered two back-to-back defeats against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea.
PREDICTED LINEUPS AND TACTICS AGAINST LEEDS UNITED
Southampton have been dealt with a major blow ahead of their important clash. Their trusted striker in Che Adams picked up a muscle injury while he was on national duty with the Scotland team. In his absence, Nathan Redmond could play up front alongside Adam Armstrong.
James Ward-Prowse featured for England in the recently-concluded international break, but he will not pull the strings in Southampton’s midfield in this match as he is serving a suspension after getting red-carded against Chelsea.
French midfielder Ibrahima Diallo is expected to pair up with Oriol Romeu in the Saints’ midfield. As for their backline, Jack Stephens is nursing a knee injury and Jan Bednarek is expected to partner Mohammed Salisu at the back.
Probable Playing XI (4-2-2-2): Alex McCarthy, Tino Livramento, Jan Bednarek, Mohammed Salisu, Kyle Walker-Peters, Oriol Romeu, Ibrahima Diallo, Moussa Djenepo, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Adam Armstrong, Nathan Redmond
LEEDS UNITED IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE 2021/22 SEASON SO FAR
If Southampton’s start was poor, Leeds United’s start was much worse.
Bitter rivals Manchester United handed Marcelo Bielsa’s men a 5-1 thrashing in their first match. But they did well to recover from that loss and held Everton to a 2-2 draw in their next match.
Their third match saw the Whites getting a point against Burnley. However, while Southampton have managed to produce good performance against the top six, Leeds have looked out of sorts as Liverpool defeated them by a 3-0 margin in their fourth match.
In their fifth match, they secured yet another draw, this time against Newcastle United. After a 2-1 defeat against West Ham United, the Whites finally got their first win in their last match where Diego Llorente’s goal gave them the desired three points against newly-promoted Watford.
PREDICTED LINEUP AND TACTICS AGAINST SOUTHAMPTON
Raphinha, who has arguably been Leeds United’s best player thus far in this season’s Premier League, is unlikely to feature in this match.
Marcelo Bielsa has stated that he will consider multiple factors while selecting the starting XI for the next match and given that Raphinha is involved will the Brazil national team and will have a lot of travelling to do, he is expected to be handed some much-needed rest.
Like Southampton, Leeds too will miss the services of their target man as Patrick Bamford is nursing an ankle injury. In his absence, Bielsa is expected to play Rodrigo Moreno in an advanced role with Daniel James and Jack Harrison completing the attacking trio.
Kalvin Phillips does have a calf problem, but it is a minor one and the midfielder is likely to be fit ahead of this fixture. Bielsa is expected to opt for a 3-3-1-3 formation for this match.
Probable Playing XI (3-3-1-3): Illan Meslier, Pascal Struijk, Diego Llorente, Liam Cooper, Junior Firpo, Kalvin Phillips, Stuart Dallas, Mateusz Klich, Jack Harrison, Rodrigo Moreno, Daniel James