Leeds Utd v Burnley Match Thread
30 Dec 2021 10:04 am, by Ellandback1
Sunday 2nd January 2022 2:00pm | Elland Road
Leeds kick-off the New Year with a home match against bitter rivals Burnley on Sunday lunchtime. The game itself will be about a lot more than just local bragging rights, with both sides battling for Premier League survival. Leeds are five points and two places better off than their Lancashire foes, but have played two games more. Sean Dyche's team have lost two fewer matches, and have an eleven goal better goal difference.
Marcelo Bielsa confirmed in his Friday press conference that Firpo, James, Llorente, Koch and Harrison are all available for selection for Leeds on Sunday. Bamford is fit and healthy but has not played for 4 weeks which puts doubt in him playing. Bielsa has the luxury of two fit recognised centre backs with Llorente and Koch in a back four alongside Ayling and Firpo. Burnley's superior aerial threat will be a test today, on average, Burnley win 24.7 aerial duels every game, far superior to any other top flight club. Leeds aerial threats are far less effective (12.2 per game) placing them in 19th position. Unfortunately for the Whites, their best headerer's (Cooper and Cresswell) are both injured.
Burnley have been hit with a quadruple positive Coronavirus test blow ahead of Sunday's trip to Elland Road. Nick Pope, Jay Rodriguez, Josh Brownhill and Kevin Long have all tested positive for the virus meaning they will need to self-isolate for at least seven days. They join Maxwel Cornet, Ashley Barnes and Connor Roberts on the sidelines, meaning Burnley have seven players out. The news was confirmed by boss Sean Dyche ahead of the kick-off of their game the other night against Manchester United. Burnley lost 3-1 at Old Trafford, with all the goals coming in the first half. The absence of England keeper Nick Pope was meant only a second Premier League appearance since lockdown for keeper Wayne Hennessey who produced a couple of eye-catching saves.
Given the opposition Dyche may not be too dispirited by the outcome but Sunday's trip to Elland Road is far more significant in the wider scheme of things. Whilst Leeds are just getting over their Covid issues one more positive case in the Burnley camp could see Sunday’s game in jeorpady. Leeds did the double over Burnley last season with 1-0 and 4-0 wins but the points were shared in a 1-1 draw earlier this season when Patrick Bamford's late equaliser pintched a point in a feisty Premier League affair at Turf Moor. Leeds will be looking to take all 3 points on Sunday to give them more breathing space over the bottom three.
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