28 November 2020 18:33
That may be weird to say about a team sitting in 14th place with 11 points from nine matches, but Leeds play such an entrancing style of football that it has become appointment viewing on the weekend. It's hard to predict which version of Everton will show up on Saturday, but we have a pretty good idea about the team they will be up against. Bielsa has had people fawning over his revolution at Leeds United for the better part of two years and I'll admit that it's hard not to get caught up in the hype. Bielsa's Leeds United are known for the relentless pressure they put on teams. There's a reason that Leeds have allowed the third-most goals in the Premier League.
Bielsa pointed out to the media that only nine of the 17 goals they've conceded have come from open play, but a side-effect from Leeds' style is that they will be chasing opponents who beat the press. "If you value your style of play then you have to accept the consequences that come with it," Bielsa said of his team's defensive woes last week. Despite a leaky defense which also ranks near the bottom of the Premier League in expected goals (xG) and non-penalty expected goals (npxG), Leeds boast a -0.02 xG differential per 90 minutes. While Everton aren't as much of a roller coaster on the field as Leeds, their results this season have been peaks and valleys. Everton opened the season on a torrid run of form, winning their first four games in convincing fashion.
Alex Iwobi took to the wing-back role well and helped balance the attack in Everton's win over Fulham and Niels Nkounkou looks like a bright prospect for Ancelotti, but Digne's developed into one of Europe's most efficient chance-creators and his absence is a huge blow to a team that has leaned on him heavily for the past two seasons. Everton's lack of polish in the back was already going to be a problem against Leeds' relentless pressure, and now things look even more challenging for a side that was made frantic by Fulham in the second half last week. Ancelotti is an intriguing managerial matchup, and I think Leeds' strengths match up with Everton's weaknesses well enough to make this number worth a bet. Leeds lead the Premier League in tackles in the attacking third, total pressures and passes per defensive action. Bielsa's all-action press is not easy for any team to handle, but Everton are especially vulnerable to it.
Michael Keane is off to a solid start this season but the rest of Everton's backline, whether it be Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate, Ben Godfrey or Alex Iwobi, are not in trustworthy form, or in Iwobi's case would be playing out of position. The Toffees dodged a bullet against Fulham last week, but their defense looked anything but convincing when it came time to escape danger. Pick: Leeds ML (live underdog at +250 or better) 34' - Ball still pinging about dangerously in the Everton box, crosses and passes coming in from all sides and the Blues look all at sea. Leeds still hovering and a shot from inside the box by Harrison makes it way to the goal and Ben Godfrey clears off the line! Poor team defending as the players can't clear the ball out of the area, and it falls to Bamford, who shoots for goal and it takes a wonderful kick save from Pickford to keep things level. 15' - Leeds are finding spaces behind the Everton wingbacks with long diagonals, which is spreading out the three-man backline and creating pressure. 10' - Awful giveaway by Mason Holgate in the Leeds half springs a counter and Harrison somehow puts it wide when it would have been easier to score. A lovely ball from Dominic Calvert-Lewin finds right wingback Tom Davies who lays off a delightful cross across the box, Doucoure reaches for it and can only prod it to Meslier who saves very well. 1' - Leeds get us started after the players take a knee for racial equality. A moving moment at Goodison Park as the Everton and Leeds United players and managers remember Diego Maradona. Carlo Ancelotti sticks with the three-man backline it looks like with Mason Holgate coming in and Yerry Mina benched after some underwhelming performances. Leeds United however, coached by Marcelo Bielsa, will prove to be a more cerebral challenge for Carlo Ancelotti and his side at Goodison Park. The news that fans will soon be allowed back into the stadiums in reduced capacities was received warmly, just when supporters were starting to despair that they would not be able to watch any of the '20-21 season in person at all. Leeds meanwhile have just one win in their last five games like Everton do, but sit in fifteenth place with eleven points. The crushing news that Lucas Digne will miss a couple of months after undergoing surgery has hit the Everton family hard, just as they got Richarlison back from suspension and the semblances of a full squad was available in training. Gamethread: Live blog above starting one hour before game time Starting XI: Pickford, Holgate, Keane, Godfrey, Allan, Davies, Doucoure, Iwobi, Rodriguez, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin Starting XI: Meslier, Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Dallas, Phillips, Klich, Raphinha, Alioski, Harrison, Bamford However, the Toffees have had a much better record at home at Goodison Park, recording a whopping 4-0 win in September 2003 with Steve Watson grabbing a hattrick and current first team coach Duncan Ferguson scoring once. EVE Vs LU Fantasy Team Probable Playing 11 And Match Report: Humdinger on our hands today as two extradonaire attacking teams take on each other. Today's forthcoming showdown between Everton and Leeds United could end up being one of the most sublime fixtures of this gameweek. Going four matches without a win, a period which entailed three defeats on the spin, Everton stepped out the last time around in dire need of a change of pasture. Welcoming back a bevy of names to their playing 11, Everton were back at their enigmatic attacking best as the side went onto put three past Fulham in the first half. While the side tailed off come the second half as Fulham pulled back a goal to make for a jittery ending to the clash for Everton, the visitors managed to do enough to hang onto their slender goal advantage. It was a much needed win, one which saw Ancelotti reignite talk of Everton's title challenge this season. Leeds United on the other hand were not quite so lucky the last gameweek. Diego, Hernandez and Jamie ascribe their absence to injuries for Leeds United. Pickford, Godfrey, Mina, Keane, Iwobi, Allan, Doucoure, Digne, Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison Meslier, Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Alioski, Raphinha, Dallas, Phillips, Klich, Harrison, Bamford Match: Everton Vs Leeds United Leeds United's goal-keeper, Illan Meslier will find a place in our team as the goal-keeper for this clash. Leeds United meanwhile will see us indulge in the pick of Luke Ayling, a player who with time is showing that he can be as solid defensively as he is while embarking on his attacking adventures. Leeds United meanwhile see us rope in Stuart Dallas, a player whose sprawling skill set has seen him be elevated up the pitch. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is spearheading Ancelotti's revolution at Everton. Richarlison registered an assist in that tie upon his return while Leeds United will see us opt for the services of Patrick Bamford who has hit home the 7 goals. Dominic's 10 goals make him an instant pick as our side's captain while Bamford is the vice-captain. Meslier, Ayling, Digne, Godfrey, Dallas, James, Harrison, Doucoure, Bamford, Dominic, Richarlison Leeds United are back in action this evening when they head to Goodison Park to take on Everton. Marcelo Bielsa's men are looking for their first win in four matches, but will be buoyed by their performance in last weekend's goalless draw with Arsenal, which saw them dominate the match, albeit without being able to convert and of the many chances they created. The sixth-placed Toffees, meanwhile, will be without defenders Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman as they look to follow up their win over Fulham with another victory against a newly promoted side. Follow all of the build-up, including early team news plus match action and analysis right here.