Leeds United succumbed to a 1-3 defeat at the hands of Preston North End at the Deepdale Stadium in their last league fixture and the scenario is getting worse for Paul Heckingbottom’s side. The Whites are due to face Aston Villa at the Villa Park on Friday and at the onset, it promises to be a cracking contest despite Leeds’ current form.
Gaetano Berardi is out for the rest of the season after he was shown the red card against Sunderland. It was his third red card of the campaign which means that he is due to remain on the sidelines for 5 games. Liam Cooper is back in training but Eunan O’Kane is still out owing to his groin injury.
Here is how we expect Heckingbottom to roll out his starting line-up against Steve Bruce’s troops.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell could have hardly done anything about the three goals which Preston North End banged past him. He has been getting regular game time under the stewardship of Heckingbottom and is expected to start as the custodian once again.
There is no denying that Vurnon Anita was terrible in the last league outing and playing him out of his natural position once again would mean taking a substantial amount of risk once again. Thus, we expect Tom Pearce to be stationed at left-back against the Villans.
Pontus Jansson and Paudie O’Connor are likely to be chalked at the heart of the back line of the Yorkshire based outfit. Jansson has a big role to play as Aston Villa’s attackers are going to test him on a regular basis. Meanwhile, Stuart Dallas should keep his place at right-back but he has to improve the accuracy of his crosses into the box.
Due to the limited amount of options, the former Barnsley manager is expected to start with Ronaldo Vieira and Kalvin Phillips in the middle of the park. The duo need to dictate the tempo of the game and step up in the remaining matches.
Samuel Saiz is anticipated to come back into the starting line-up against the Lions. He does bring a notable amount of creative prowess for his side’s attacking endeavours in the final third and would be a handy asset in the upcoming fixture.
Up top, Kemar Roofe might get the green light to start. Caleb Ekuban and Pierre-Michel Lasogga have hardly made their presence felt as the striker and it is about time that Roofe is given an opportunity to lead the line. Pablo Hernandez and Ezgjan Alioski are expected to start from the left-wing and right-wing respectively.