Leeds United host Everton at Elland Road on Saturday, on matchday two of the Premier League.
The Whites will be desperate to bounce back from a humiliating opening day defeat to Manchester United last weekend, getting thrashed 5-1 at Old Trafford. Marcelo Bielsa’s side have been strong at home, however, winning their final two at Elland Road last season and now looking to win their third consecutive Premier League home match for the first time since 2001.
The Toffees come into the clash in good spirits, having taken three points in the first fixture of the season. Despite trailing 1-0 to Southampton at half-time, Everton came back to secure a 3-1 win in front of their home fans in what was Rafa Benitez’s first match in charge and are looking to maintain a 100% record away at Leeds.
Here is 90min’s preview of the clash.
When is kick off? Saturday 21 August, 15:00 (BST)
Where is it being played? Elland Road, Leeds
What TV channel is it on? fuboTV (US)
Who’s the referee? Darren England
Who’s on VAR duty? Andre Marriner
Only pride was hurt in Leeds’ 5-1 loss to rivals United last time out, and Bielsa should be able to call upon a fully fit squad for the visit of Everton.
Kalvin Phillips could also be in contention for return, having been absent from their trip to Old Trafford following his Euro 2020 campaign with England.
Benitez’s side have no fresh injury concerns off the back of their opening day victory and, despite only recently winning a gold medal for Brazil in Tokyo, Richarlison should be in line for another start.
His starting position could switch, however. Benitez moved the Brazilian into a central role at half-time against the Saints, pushing Demarai Gray out wide – a decision that put Everton into the ascendancy and encouraged a match-winning second-half display.
Leeds United: Meslier; Ayling, Struijk, Cooper, Firpo; Phillips; Raphinha, Klich, Dallas, Harrison; Bamford
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Digne; Allan, Doucoure; Townsend, Richarlison, Gray; Calvert-Lewin
While one of these sides got off to a much stronger start than the other, it won’t be easy to predict what will happen when they clash on Saturday.
Everton will be full of confidence after a good performance to comeback from a goal down last time out, while the freshness of Benitez will continue to give the squad a lift over the course of the season’s early stages.
However, Leeds are a side that will never lay down to rest; we’ve all seen the way they invariably play as if they have nothing to lose. Their intensity could give anyone a run for their money and, while the Toffees will be hopeful of the likes of Richarlison and Gray making use of the space available, Bielsa’s men will be determined to get their first win of the 2021/22 season on the board.
So, in what could be a very evenly fought battle, a point apiece could be the result.
Prediction: Leeds United 2-2 Everton