90min
Leeds

Leeds predicted lineup vs Burnley - Premier League

Grey Whitebloom
There is plenty of time left for Marcelo Bielsa (right) to get Leeds United's Premier League campaign fully firing
There is plenty of time left for Marcelo Bielsa (right) to get Leeds United's Premier League campaign fully firing / Marc Atkins/Getty Images
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Leeds United are yet to record a Premier League victory this season, but completed a top flight double against Burnley, their upcoming opponents on Sunday afternoon, in the previous campaign.

There are many ways to describe Leeds' totemic (there's another) manager Marcelo Bielsa, but predictable isn't the first that springs to mind. However, the Argentine's unwavering faith in his principles - chiefly his insistence on numerical advantage at the back - provides solid foundations for a prediction of a departure from his favoured 4-1-4-1 formation when facing Burnley's two-man strike force.

With that in mind, here's the lineup Bielsa may deploy with a change in personnel and system, but never any deviation from his fundamental ideals.


1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Illan Meslier (GK) - Leeds' baby-faced shot-stopper hasn't been short of work - only three keepers faced more Premier League shots last season - but is usually up to the challenge.

Luke Ayling (CB) - As one of the defining players of Bielsa's era in Yorkshire, the Argentine coach was only half joking when he declared: "We have Ayling who can solve every problem."

Liam Cooper (CB) - Injuries punctuated what was supposed to be a glorious campaign as the skipper that finally led Leeds back into the top flight. Now with a clean bill of health, Cooper can wear the captain's armband in front of the fans.

Pascal Struijk (CB) - A raft of fitness concerns last season accelerated the 22-year-old's ascent to the first team, but Struijk has blossomed with the added responsibility, despite some nervy moments.

2. Midfielders & wingbacks

Raphinha (RWB) - Almost certain to be more wing than back, Leeds can't afford to lose the creativity which has seen no Premier League player rack up more assists than Raphinha (nine) since his debut in November.

Stuart Dallas (CM) - Bielsa once famously said: "If football were played by robots, I'd win everything." In the unrelenting and devastatingly versatile Dallas, he has the closest thing. Unfortunately there's only one of him.

Kalvin Phillips (CM) - The central figure around which the entire team pivots, there is no player like the 25-year-old in the rest of Leeds' squad.

Junior Firpo (LWB) - One of the few players Barcelona could actually find a buyer for last summer, Leeds fans could see the best of the flying full-back in a more advanced role.

3. Forwards

Rodrigo (RW) - In what is certain to be a fluid system, Rodrigo may very well spend little time hugging the right-hand touchline - particularly if Raphinha is deployed behind him - but is always willing to offer himself as a link between midfield and attack.

Patrick Bamford (ST) - After a season in which he outscored every English striker in the Premier League except Harry Kane, Bamford has finally been given his national team call-up, just a few months too late for a major tournament.

Jack Harrison (LW) - After three seasons, 18 league goals and as many assists, Jack Harrison is finally, officially, a permanent Leeds player, but has long been a mainstay of the starting XI.


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