Despite a boisterous 2020-21 season upon their return to Premier League, Leeds United are struggling to match their own standards so far this season with only 1 win in 9 league outings. They are 17th in the current standings and the fear of a ‘second season syndrome’ would loom large in case they fail to beat rock-bottom Norwich City on Sunday afternoon.
The Canaries suffered a 7-0 humiliation against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and must script a quick turnaround to avoid yet another relegation from the top-flight of the English pyramid. The home crowd would back the players at Carrow Road and a victory against the Whites might reduce the pressure ahead of yet another long, humdrum relegation battle.
Predicted 4-1-4-1 Leeds United Lineup To Face Norwich City
Marcelo Bielsa deployed a strong lineup against Arsenal in their midweek League Cup meeting. Leeds, however, endured a 2-0 defeat and the custodian Illan Meslier’s performance was under scrutiny for Calum Chambers’ opener. The custodian must shake off the shambles and restore stability between the sticks during this weekend encounter.
A few injury absentees at the back has forced the gaffer to deploy a makeshift backline in the recent fixtures. Robin Koch and Luke Ayling are still recovering from their respective woes, but the potential return of Jamie Shackleton and Junior Firpo would resolve the crisis in fullback roles. Shackleton is deputizing Ayling as a right-back, whereas Firpo’s recovery would allow Stuart Dallas to operate from his preferred midfield slot. Skipper Liam Cooper made a howler on Tuesday night, but his experience would be crucial in the heart of the backline. Diego Llorente should retain his first-team role alongside Cooper.
Although Bielsa has tweaked the formation in recent games, a 4-1-4-1 should still be preferred with Kalvin Phillips operating from the ‘hole’ in between the backline and a ‘midfield four’.
Dallas would feature centrally if Firpo reclaims the left-back spot and his box to box movement as well as pressing game might make things happen in the middle of the park. Mateusz Klich should partner with the Northern Irishman to share the workload and orchestrate the tempo. Meanwhile, Raphinha’s return would be a massive boost as the Whites have missed his creative spark from the right-hand flank. Daniel James must exhibit his excellence from the left in case he gets the nod over Jack Harrison.
Patrick Bamford is still sidelined with an injury and Rodrigo, therefore, should spearhead the attack once more having notched a late equalizer from the spot against Wolverhampton Wanderers.