Leeds United are eager to get back to winning ways in the Premier League this weekend but face an Arsenal side in a similar mood after their disappointing defeat before the international break.
4-1 defeats at home to Leicester City and away to Crystal Palace highlighted the glaring issue surrounding the lack of concrete replacements for Kalvin Phillips and Rodrigo when the two aren’t available.
Midfield battles lost at both ends of the pitch and poor transitions from defence to attack and vice versa meant we couldn’t keep up with Leicester and Palace when they sprung forward.
With two weeks to mull over the results, we now face Arsenal hoping to welcome back key players whilst also seeing other players face spells on the sidelines too.
Here, we take a look at all the latest team news from Elland Road ahead of Sunday’s matchup…
The Yorkshire Pirlo has missed Leeds’ three last games against Aston Villa, Leicester and Palace thanks to a shoulder injury sustained in the defeat to Wolves.
It’s been a tough few games without him patrolling the midfield, as performances from his deputies have proven in the meantime.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Marcelo Bielsa stated this about Phillips’ chances of starting (all quotes via LeedsLive): “It’s probable.
“I can’t guarantee it, but it’s probable.”
Our club-record signing has been a revelation this season despite being forced to playing behind Patrick Bamford in attack, but has relished the opportunity.
While Phillips was missed defensively, Rodrigo was sorely missed in the final third as Bamford cut a lonely figure, even if he scored against Palace.
After self-isolating for the past 10 days, Bielsa confirmed that Rodrigo is available, but also said this about his starting prospects: “It is less likely that he’ll start, but he’ll be there.”
Hernandez was at the forefront of the selection debate in the past fortnight after he was left out of the side to play Palace thanks to his outburst in the second half of the Leicester defeat, where he demonstrated visible frustration about being hauled off while Leeds chased an equaliser.
However, the Spaniard has picked up a muscular injury to rule him out of the clash this weekend.
“We have added Pablo to the injury list as he picked up a muscular injury this week,” said the Leeds boss.
“Nothing serious but he won’t be able to play this weekend.”
The third and final Spaniard on the list is yet to be seen centre-back Diego Llorente/
The former Real Madrid defender has struggled to regain fitness since he suffered a groin injury during the international break with Spain at the start of October.
While it was expected that he would be reaching full fitness by name, Bielsa has since detailed that Llorente has taken another blow in his pursuit for a first Leeds appearance.
“What happened with Llorente was he was injured, recovered and had a relapse in training,” Bielsa detailed. “He is now cured, but because of the relapse he is being given extra time to fully get back to be sure.”
After a stunning midfield performance away at Aston Villa, Shackleton found it difficult against an experienced Leicester side, but lost his place against Palace due to an injury sustained in between those two defeats.
Shackleton will also be out for this game after said injury.