Leeds look to bounce back from opening day defeat as Everton arrive at Elland Road
Two teams with contrasting starts to the season meet at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon, as a Leeds United full house welcome Rafa Benitez’s Everton to Yorkshire.
Things couldn’t have started much worse for the Whites, as Manchester United swept them aside 5-1 at Old Trafford last weekend, with a Luke Ayling wonder goal only proving to be scamp consolation. Everton started their season in fine style on the other hand, recovering from an early Michael Keane mistake to ease past Southampton 3-1.
That will have been a relief for Benitez, who still remains unpopular in the blue half of Merseyside, having spent so long at Liverpool earlier in his career. Three goals also went some way to dispelling his style of football, having been primarily defence-first while at Newcastle United.
Despite defeat last week, Leeds won’t change their risk-taking philosophy when the Toffees arrive, and are hoping to have key man Kalvin Phillips back available after missing the Man United game. The ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ as he’s known among Leeds fans is hoping to be fit enough to start, allowing either Robin Koch or Pascal Struijk to return to central defence alongside Liam Cooper.
Diego Llorente will miss out with a knee injury, continuing his struggle with fitness since arriving from Real Sociedad last summer. Adam Forshaw is another that has spent a huge period on the sidelines, but won’t play as he continues to build match fitness.
As for Everton, James Rodriguez and Moise Kean are both being heavily linked with moves away from Goodison Park in the next week, and both won’t play against Leeds. Both absences are COVID related, with the pair isolating after positive tests recently. Jean-Philippe Gbamin is also isolating as a precaution, as he continues his wretched run of luck when it comes to availability. Portuguese midfielder Andre Gomes has a chance of being available, but will be assessed closer to the game.
Leeds United take on Everton on Saturday, August 21st. Kick-off is at 3pm.