Leeds United are set to face off against Arsenal this evening in what promises to be a very tasty event. The two sides are pretty much neck-and-neck in the middle of the table, with the Whites just ahead with the one-point lead. A win for either team tonight will be a huge boost in their respective campaigns, but Leeds have the upper-hand in terms of form.
They are coming off the back of a convincing 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, whereas the Gunners have continued to struggle. Their last two fixtures ended in defeat and both Bernd Leno and David Luiz were given their marching orders against Wolves.
Despite their win last time out, Leeds do have some problems of their own. On top of the long-term injuries to Robin Koch and Diego Llorente, both Rodrigo and Kalvin Phillips are also out of action. The latter picked up a muscle problem against Palace and Marcelo Bielsa admitted that there is uncertainty over whether or not he will be fit enough to start against Arsenal.
Here’s a look at how the Whites might line up this evening with their star midfielder potentially out of action…
With a spot in midfield to occupy due to Phillips’ injury, Bielsa could try his hand at fielding a 4-4-1-1 formation. The Argentine has opted for this choice on a few occasions this season, with the last coming against Chelsea in December.
Mateusz Klich played just behind Patrick Bamford in an attacking midfield role, but this time round, Bielsa may take a risk and start Tyler Roberts, who is desperate for some game time. The 22-year-old has made just 11 Premier League appearances so far this term and was selected to start on only two occasions, as per Transfermarkt. Tonight could be a golden opportunity for him to work with Bamford and really punish Arsenal.
With Rodrigo out, Roberts could really plug a gap if he turns up to the Emirates with his creative boots on.
With Phillips out, Leeds will need more support for the backline. Therefore, Luke Ayling may once again slide into central defence with Stuart Dallas moving from midfield to right-back. This leaves space for young Jamie Shackleton to ply his trade in the engine room again and fight for a more regular spot moving forwards.
A win today will see Leeds pull further away from Arsenal and close the gap on Spurs and therefore, increase their chances of securing Europa League football for next season.