Leeds United have a tough hurdle to clear this evening as they prepare to host Newcastle at Elland Road in their midweek Premier League fixture. The Whites are coming off the back of two frustrating defeats, one against Chelsea and the latest against West Ham.
Despite scoring in both matches, Leeds couldn’t do enough to take anything away from either outing. Tonight will be viewed as a must-win by Marcelo Bielsa and his men, but they will be missing several senior players from their roster.
Speaking to Football FanCast correspondent Tom Ward, Carlton Palmer discussed the news that Robin Koch will be sidelined for up to three months following a knee injury sustained against Everton.
“It’s always going to be a massive blow, ” the pundit said. “Any top player that gets injured for any club is going to create a problem.”
Joining Koch on Bielsa’s injury list is fellow centre-back and summer recruit Diego Llorente, who has made just one Premier League appearance for his new club (via Transfermarkt).
In the absence of the duo, Luke Ayling has been forced to step up and take on the centre-back role. Whilst he has been one of the Whites’ more impressive performers, his hard work isn’t being reflected in their recent results.
Whilst Bielsa will be pleasantly surprised to be ahead of Arsenal in the league table, they have a tough run ahead. After 16 years away from the Premier League, it would be crushing for fans if Leeds face relegation at the end of this season.
Palmer believes that there’s very little chance of the Championship winners facing the drop, but they must start banking more points. As it stands, Leeds are just six points outside the relegation zone. A poor run of form and some positive results from the likes of Fulham and West Brom could rapidly turn Bielsa’s dream season into a nightmare.
In other news, Radrizzani must move for free agent Danny Rose next summer…