Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s Premier League clash between Leeds United and Southampton, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Illan Meslier has had a week to forget in the Leeds goal. The young Frenchman shipped four at Arsenal – with one coming from the penalty spot after his calamitous error and foul on Bukayo Saka – but there was simply nothing he could do about Wolves’ winner on Friday night.
Adama Traore finished off one of his trademark powerful runs with a thunderous effort which cannoned back off the crossbar, and the ball then proceeded to bounce off the back of a hapless Meslier into the Whites’ net, and there were no more goals to be had at Molineux as Leeds lost for the third time in four matches.
The Whites’ unpredictability and commitment to attacking makes for truly entertaining spectacles most weekends, but Marcelo Bielsa has now witnessed his side win three and lose six of their last nine in all competitions, and they have not shared the spoils in a game since their goalless stalemate with Arsenal back in November.
Leeds will welcome a return to the Elland Road turf – where they beat Crystal Palace 2-0 earlier this month – after two dismal away outings in the past week, although they can only boast a trio of victories from their last 10 outings on familiar territory, and only West Bromwich Albion (55) have let in more goals than Leeds’ ravaged defence (43) at the time of writing.
Sixteen of the Whites’ 40 strikes at the correct end of the pitch have come at their own ground, and while the hosts have Patrick Bamford hoping to rediscover his goalscoring touch, Southampton have their own prolific English striker aiming to take advantage of Leeds’ vulnerability at the back.
Danny Ings is so often a threat in the opposition penalty area, but it was in his own box where the Southampton forward made a costly error against Chelsea at the weekend, as his poorly timed challenge on Mason Mount allowed his compatriot to salvage a draw for his team at St Mary’s.
Takumi Minamino was the coolest man in the stadium when he put Southampton ahead in the first half, and while Ralph Hasenhuttl was pleased to see his side’s five-game losing run come to an end, he will no doubt feel that all three points were there for the taking.
However, a point against a Champions League-chasing team gives Southampton something to build on over the coming weeks, and while any hopes of a shot at a European place have been extinguished, the Saints will hope to reignite their charge for a top-half finish against Leeds.
Hasenhuttl’s men did win their last away match – a 2-0 triumph over Wolves in the FA Cup – but in the Premier League, their last victory on the road came against Brighton & Hove Albion in December, and they are currently on a three-game losing streak on unfamiliar territory in the top flight.
Tuesday’s hosts Leeds (27) are the only side to have conceded more on the road than Southampton (24), although their 9-0 humiliation at Manchester United did not help matters in that regard, and the visitors’ only Premier League win at Elland Road to date came in the 1997-98 campaign.
Leeds United Premier League form: WWLWLL
Southampton Premier League form: LLLLLD
Southampton form (all competitions): LLLWLD
Leeds received a major boost in the defensive department before the Wolves game as Diego Llorente returned to the substitutes bench, and the Spaniard could be in line for a start this week.
The possible return of Llorente could see Pascal Struijk move into the midfield as Kalvin Phillips remains sidelined with a calf problem, and the Englishman is joined by Rodrigo, Gaetano Berardi, Ian Poveda and Robin Koch on the sidelines.
Ezgjan Alioski will hope to earn a recall to the starting XI, but further changes on the hosts’ end are unlikely despite two successive defeats.
Southampton had to make do without Stuart Armstrong for the Chelsea stalemate, but Hasenhuttl has confirmed that the midfielder could play a part this week.
Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Ayling, Llorente, Cooper, Alioski; Struijk; Raphinha, Klich, Shackleton, Harrison; Bamford
Southampton possible starting lineup:
McCarthy; Bednarek, Vestergaard, Salisu, Bertrand; Djenepo, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Minamino; Ings, Redmond
We say: Leeds United 1-2 Southampton
Being able to confidently predict the outcome of a Leeds game is no mean feat, but the hosts’ confidence will undoubtedly be lowered after back-to-back defeats. Southampton are not exactly a dominant force away from home, although Hasenhuttl’s men are out to prove that their resilient performance against Chelsea was not a one-off, so we are backing the Saints to finally claim a long-awaited three points at Elland Road.
Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:
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