Two teams in contrasting form meet at Elland Road on Wednesday night, as Leeds United welcome Newcastle United to Yorkshire for a 6pm kick-off.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side will be aiming to stop a run of two successive defeats, after losing away at Chelsea before a 2-1 defeat to West Ham last time out, while Newcastle are in contrasting form.
The Magpies beat Crystal Palace before a COVID-19 outbreak caused a delay to their season, before beating West Brom at home on Saturday thanks to a late Dwight Gayle header. It’s the first time Newcastle have won back-to-back games this season.
Before the West Ham game, Bielsa named his starting XI during his pre-match press conference, but has said he will stop revealing team news from now on after the attention it received. It’s commonplace across Europe to reveal line-ups well before kick-off, but after defeat to David Moyes’s side, it won’t be something the Argentinian will repeat.
In another contrast, Steve Bruce kept his cards so close to his chest that Newcastle’s line-up against West Brom was a complete mystery until an hour before kick-off, with the club struggling to count the bodies available after the COVID outbreak caused a postponement against Aston Villa.
As it turned out, only three players who started the win over Palace were missing, with Isaac Hayden filling in at centre-back. This week, Federico Fernandez has returned to training and will be available for the trip to Leeds though, meaning Hayden may return to a more familiar central midfield role.
Newcastle will be without Paul Dummett and Martin Dubravka through injury, and there’s questions over Ryan Fraser, Allan Saint-Maximin and Jamaal Lascelles, who all missed the win over West Brom.
Leeds also have defensive worries, with new signings Robin Koch and Diego Llorente both injured, meaning Luke Ayling is likely to continue at centre-back alongside Liam Cooper. Adam Forshaw and Gaetano Berardi are also missing.
A win for Newcastle could take them into the top half of the Premier League table, while Leeds could go 11th if they manage to get their first win in December and other results go their way.
Leeds take on Newcastle United at Elland Road on Wednesday, December 16th. Kick-off is at 6pm.