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Preview: Leeds United vs. West Ham United - prediction, team news, lineups
25/09/2021 09:40:26

Leeds United's search for their first victory of the 2021-22 Premier League season will continue on Saturday afternoon (4:00PM, 25 Sept) when they welcome West Ham United to Elland Road.

The Whites are currently 17th in the table, having picked up just three points from their opening five matches, while West Ham have collected eight points from their five games to sit eighth in the division.

We say: Leeds United 1-2 West Ham United

This is an incredibly difficult match to call, as it is tough to know what to expect from Leeds at the moment. It would not be a surprise to see a draw at Elland Road, but we just have a feeling for a West Ham side that continue to impress under Moyes and have therefore backed a narrow away success.

Match preview

Leeds excelled on their return to the top flight last season, finishing ninth in the table, and it would be fair to say that expectations were high ahead of the start of the 2021-22 campaign, but there is no getting away from the fact that it has been a tough opening few weeks for the club.

Indeed, a record of three wins and two defeats from five league matches has left them in 17th position in the table, and they are one of five teams still searching for their first win of the Premier League campaign.

The Whites secured their spot in the fourth round of the EFL Cup by beating Fulham on penalties earlier this week, but they suffered a 3-0 loss to Liverpool in their last league fixture at Elland Road before playing out a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United in the league on September 17.

Marcelo Bielsa's side now have two huge home matches against West Ham and Watford before the next international break, and the former Champions League semi-finalists will certainly be wary of dropping into the relegation zone at this stage of the season.

Leeds have not actually beaten West Ham since 2005 and suffered back-to-back losses in the Premier League last term, including a 2-1 defeat at Elland Road in December 2020.

West Ham, meanwhile, suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester United in their last Premier League match on September 19, with Mark Noble seeing a stoppage-time penalty saved by David de Gea, and the loss was the London club's first in the league this term.

The Hammers did manage to gain some revenge on Wednesday night, though, with Manuel Lanzini's early effort proving enough to beat the Red Devils 1-0 in the third round of the EFL Cup at Old Trafford.

It has been a very busy start to the season for David Moyes's side, who are competing in the group stages of the Europa League, opening their campaign with a 2-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb on September 16.

West Ham are back on league duty this weekend but will host Rapid Vienna in the Europa League next Thursday and also have an EFL Cup contest with Manchester City to think about at the end of October, so it will be absolutely vital that Moyes manages his squad in the coming weeks.

All in all, the Hammers have made a solid start to the new Premier League season, picking up eight points from their opening five matches, which has left them in eighth position ahead of the next set of games.

Team News

Bielsa revealed during Thursday's pre-match press conference that Diego Llorente, Robin Koch and Patrick Bamford would all miss this weekend's contest through injury.

Pascal Struijk is still suspended, meanwhile, but Luke Ayling, Jack Harrison and Raphinha could all be involved depending on how they progress over the next 24 hours or so.

Ayling could make a timely return to the middle of the defence, allowing Kalvin Phillips to move back into midfield, but Bamford's absence creates a problem in the final third of the field, and Rodrigo could be the player to move forward, with Daniel James and Raphinha potentially operating in the wide areas.

As for West Ham, Ryan Fredericks will miss out with the muscular problem that he picked up against Man United in the EFL Cup, but the Hammers are otherwise in excellent shape.

Michail Antonio is back after serving a suspension against the Red Devils in the league last weekend, and the attacker should be fresh, having been rested in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

There are not expected to be any surprises in the away side's XI, with Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek, Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma all set to come back in.

Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is under pressure for his spot from Alphonse Areola, but the 36-year-old should again get the nod between the sticks on Saturday afternoon.

Leeds United possible starting lineup:

Meslier; Dallas, Ayling, Cooper, Firpo; Phillips; Raphinha, Roberts, Klich, James; Rodrigo

West Ham United possible starting lineup:

Fabianski; Coufal, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Fornals, Benrahma; Antonio

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