Leeds United are set to make their return to competitive action at home to champions Manchester City in the Premier League this evening, with the Elland Road outfit seeking to move further away from danger with a positive result.
The Whites had gone into the World Cup break on something of a sour note after losing to both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur in their most recent league meetings, ensuring they are currently just two points above the drop zone – albeit with two games in hand on those around them.
The Yorkshire side’s hopes of avoiding a third successive league defeat later today do appear somewhat slim, however, as they shipped 11 goals and scored none against the Etihad outfit in their two league clashes last term.
Ahead of what will be a tough test for the hosts, here’s how we at Football FanCast predict that Jesse Marsch’s side will line up…
There is seemingly a great deal of uncertainty surrounding just who will be available to feature against Pep Guardiola and co, although the definite absentees will be that of Tyler Adams due to suspension, as well as the stricken duo of Luis Sinisterra and Stuart Dallas.
While there are doubts over a number of other squad members – including Illan Meslier and Rodrigo – the consensus is that they should be in contention to feature, with Leeds seemingly in need of all the help they can get against such ferocious opposition.
With that in mind, we predict that Marsch will select the same defensive unit as the one that lined up against Spurs in their last top-flight encounter, with centre-back Diego Llorente set to remain on the bench despite his recent contract extension.
In midfield, the absence of the aforementioned Adams could well see summer signing Darko Gyabi handed his league debut as the partner to Marc Roca, with the 18-year-old having only made one senior outing for the club to date.
As for the forward line, fellow teenager Wilfried Gnonto should also be in contention for a start on the flanks, with the “aggressive” talent – as described by pundit Noel Whelan – having shown moments of “brilliance” in the recent mid-season friendlies, according to Whelan.
Joining the 5 foot 7 speedster in attack should well be Brenden Aaronson and Crysencio Summerville, with the latter man hoping to continue his hot streak in front of goal, having scored in four successive league games.
Teammate Rodrigo has also netted in each of his last four Premier League games – including a brace against the north Londoners last month – with the Spaniard also looking to maintain that run in the centre-forward berth.