Bielsa to keep unusual option
The Premier League returns to action this weekend and the predicted Leeds team to face Antonio Conte’s new-look Tottenham could have a familiar theme.
The Whites come into Sunday’s match looking to build on their first solid patch of form of the season. Following only one win from their first nine matches, Leeds are now unbeaten in two.
Indeed, a draw with Leicester followed a win away at Norwich.
Speaking before the game, Whites boss Marcelo Bielsa hailed Raphinha’s growing influence on his team. The Brazilian star has proved a standout signing since his arrival last October.
Bielsa said: “He is sufficiently good right now. If you ask me how I manage his evolution. I would say to maintain performances like those he is achieving would be a great indicator.
“And the other great challenge the players that shine have, is to transfer that evolution to his team-mates and to the team. Raphinha will be a lot better if the team is better and his team-mates are better.”
Raphinha is therefore likely have a key role for Sunday’s clash against Tottenham.
Last time out – Leeds 1-1 Leicester
Leeds could well have won against Leicester at Elland Road and Bielsa’s midfield selections proved key in their success – as pointed out by pundit Noel Whelan.
Kalvin Phillips and Adam Forshaw performed well alongside each other in the middle of the park.
Elsewhere, Raphinha starred with a goal and winger Daniel James – utilised as a striker in the absence of the injured Patrick Bamford – missed golden chances to put the hosts ahead.
In a somewhat makeshift defence, utility player Stuart Dallas played at right-back while Pascal Struijk operated at left-back. Indeed, Luke Ayling and Junior Firpo remained out.
Predicted Leeds team against Tottenham
Given their injury situation, Bielsa is likely to stick with the same team that earned the draw against the Foxes.
Illan Meslier will again start in goal, while Dallas, Diego Llorente, Liam Cooper and Struijk could form the defence. As well as Ayling and Firpo, Robin Koch is not ready to return.
Phillips and Forshaw’s strengths against Leicester could see them deployed again in midfield.
Further forward, Raphinha will likely start following his strong form for club and country. In the absence of Bamford up top, meanwhile, James could again play as the striker.
Nevertheless, Leeds’ fluid system could also see Jack Harrison switch to a central role.
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Predicted Leeds XI: Meslier; Dallas, Llorente, Cooper, Struijk; Phillips, Forshaw; Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison; James
Source: All The News – TEAMtalk
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