Leeds United will return to the Premier League action tomorrow when they play host to Burnley at Elland Road. The Whites are ahead of this weekend’s opponents by four points as they currently sit in a respectable 14th place in the table.
Considering their injury-stricken squad, Leeds have been doing well to sink their claws into their returning Premier League season. Slipping back down into the Championship is not something that Marcelo Bielsa and co will not be prepared to endure.
As it stands, they look like they will comfortably survive the drop at the end of the term, but the boss must adapt to these crippling injuries.
The Whites could be without three of their senior centre-back options as Robin Koch and captain Liam Cooper are out injured, while it is still unclear whether Bielsa will risk Diego Llorente. The Argentine has been using the versatile Luke Ayling in the centre of the defence as opposed to his natural position at right-back. However, this isn’t a tactic the Argentinian should be using too often. He has Pascal Struijk at his disposal as well as young Oliver Casey.
But whoever he chooses to deploy on Sunday, they must be up to the task of neutralising Burnley’s attack. Whilst they may not be the most clinical side in the league, the threat of Chris Wood is very real.
Another man Leeds must be watchful of is his strike partner Ashley Barnes. The 31-year-old was a thorn in the side of Wolves last time out, scoring his side’s second goal and towering above the defence by winning 11 out of his 16 duels, as per Sofascore.
This may be his only goal of the season so far but he has been described as a “hungry” attacker who has been working hard recently to bounce back from injury. Leeds can’t afford to underestimate his influence in front of goal, especially with a weakened backline.