Leeds United v Leicester City Preview

30 Oct 2020 08:47 pm, by YorkshireSquare

After dispatching unbeaten Aston Villa with ease last weekend, Leeds United face another team competing at the top of the table on Monday in Leicester City. The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, one of a number of Leeds United Games on TV before Christmas. The Foxes stand fourth in the Premier League having won four of their six matches so far, including victories against Arsenal and Manchester City, with Jamie Vardy netting six times already. But it’s not all been plain sailing with defeats to West Ham and Aston Villa. Brendan Rodgers’ men have also been busy in Europe with games the last two midweeks against Zorya Luhansk and AEK Athens this Thursday. The six days more rest could be a crucial advantage for Leeds given the tempo they play games at.

Marcelo Bielsa had some good news for Leeds fans at his pre-game press conference on Friday, captain Liam Cooper has recovered from the injury he picked up whilst on international duty with Scotland and is available to start. Pascal Struijk ably deputised against Wolves whilst Luke Ayling was sensational at centre back last week against Aston Villa. Bielsa revealed he has not yet decided upon his starting eleven but his toughest decision may come at defensive midfield. Struijk started against Villa though was withdrawn having picked up an early booking to be replaced by Jamie Shackleton, who alongside Mateusz Klich dominated midfield and were a deciding factor in the victory.

Did Shackleton do enough to make the starting eleven on Monday? He certainly took his chance with both hands and proved he is more than capable of competing at Premier League level. Whilst Jack Harrison will feature in Matty Cash’s nightmares well beyond Halloween, Helder Costa did not quite have as much success on the opposite wing. A brief cameo from Raphinha impressed greatly, his defence splitting pass to Jack Harrison one not even contemplated by mere mortals. He certainly looks a fantastic prospect, capable of worrying opposition defences but has he yet shown enough to make a case for a place in the starting eleven? Diego Llorente remains unavaialbe.

Portuguese right-back Ricardo Pereira remains on the sidelines and although it is hoped he will return after the international break he will miss Monday's game. Timothy Castagne and Jonny Evans were absent from the Leicester City squad that took on AEK Athens in the Europa League on Thursday. Castagne is likely to miss Leicester’s next three matches with a hamstring injury whilst Evans is also a doubt for the trip to Elland Road with a back injury. To add to Rodgers’ defensive issues Caglar Soyuncu is also out until the new year after his adductor was torn off the bone. Leicester played a makeshift back three against Athens including 36-year-old Wes Morgan.

Leicester like to attack down the wings and according to Marcelo Bielsa ‘protect the ball well’, they are also good at finishing. Leeds will have to be on top of their game to keep Leicester at bay but having kept Aston Villa, who defeated Liverpool 7-2, quiet they will go into Monday’s game with confidence. Leicester have their weaknesses and are poor at defending counter attacks, a shortcoming Leeds will hope to take advantage of with their press and quick breaks. It should be an exciting game, and Leicester are a team Leeds will look to beat if they hope to secure their position at towards the top of the table.