Leeds United end 2020 with a trip to the Midlands to face West Brom, where victory could be enough to see them into the top half of the Premier League table should other results go their way.

The hosts look rejuvenated following the appointment of Sam Allardyce as manager, and having gone to Anfield to take a point off Liverpool, confidence will be high after a spirited display.

Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds, meanwhile, did what was necessary to beat Burnley over the weekend,
bouncing back well from conceding six away to Manchester United. Here, 90min looks at how the lauded Argentine should set his side up for a game that will contrast two completely differing styles.

Illan Meslier
Meslier continues in goal for the Whites | Pool/Getty Images

Illan Meslier (GK) – After a shaky performance against Manchester United, Meslier bounced back with a confidence-boosting clean sheet at the weekend, even if it was a tad fortunate.

Stuart Dallas (RB) – The versatile 29-year-old is tremendously fit, and should retain his place in Leeds’ XI.

Luke Ayling (CB) – Ayling was terrific against Burnley, stepping up to lead the defence in the absence of injured skipper Liam Cooper.

Pascal Struijk (CB) – With Cooper and Robin Koch sidelined, Bielsa has few options at his disposal other than Pascal Struijk.

Ezgjan Alioski (LB) – Not a left-back by trade, Alioski is another player competently filling a role that isn’t natural to him. Will get forward at every opportunity.

Kalvin Phillips (DM) – Phillips slotted into a deeper role at the weekend as Leeds switched to three at the back, but the 25-year-old should be back in a holding role in front of a four here.

Raphinha (RW) – Leeds’ deadline day signing is fast becoming one of the first names on the teamsheet. Dynamic and direct in attack, he has plenty of pace to burn.

Jamie Shackleton (CM) – Mateusz Klich has played a lot of football in the first half of Leeds’ season and Jamie Shackleton has impressed from the bench. Could be afforded a start here.

Pablo Hernandez (CM) – A couple of neat little cameos in recent weeks could earn veteran Hernandez a start at the expense of big-money summer signing Rodrigo, another player who has been asked to play out of position by Bielsa.

Ian Poveda (LW) – Jack Harrison has been running on empty of late, so a trip to West Brom is the ideal time to reward Poveda with a first Premier League start.

Ben Mee, Patrick Bamford
Bamford has scored 10 goals from 15 league games so far this season | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Patrick Bamford (ST) – Rest and recuperation is important for any player, but Bamford will be unwilling to give up his spot given the form he’s in. Bagged the winner from the penalty spot last time out, and has looked impressive on the road throughout the season.


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