Leeds have a battle on their hands this afternoon as they take on Burnley in their next Premier League fixture. The fight will get underway at Elland Road at lunchtime and despite the Clarets being below them in the table, it will be no easy feat for the Championship winners.
Due to a major injury blow, the Whites will be without Robin Koch and captain Liam Cooper today, via premierinjuries.com. The crippling news of the skipper joining the two summer recruits on the sidelines could spell huge trouble for Marcelo Bielsa unless he comes up with a solid back-up plan.
Luke Ayling has been operating from the centre-back position in the absence of regular starter Koch, but without Cooper, Leeds look even more exposed.
Illan Meslier could be the man to pull his side out of a hole if he can put in a solid performance between the sticks this afternoon. With a weakened backline, the 20-year-old will need to be alert and at the top of his game in order to protect his goal from the threat of Burnley’s attack.
Whilst the French youngster has been a little off form in several games this season, he has also pulled off some superb performances. If he can keep a clean sheet or at the very least, help Leeds to a win today then it will be a huge confidence boost for the summer signing.
Meslier joined the Whites on a permanent £20,000 per week deal after enjoying a title-winning loan spell last campaign. He has been lauded as a “remarkable” bit of business by Graham Smyth, speaking on the Inside Elland Road podcast (via This is Futbol).
There’s just four points between Leeds and Burnley at the moment – another three for the Whites will put them on their way to comfortably surviving their first season back in England’s top flight.