By George Overhill

29th Mar, 2023 | 6:10pm

Javi Gracia is predicted to hand Darko Gyabi his first Premier League start as part of significant changes to his Leeds United line up to face Arsenal, as he contends with an injury crisis following the international break.

The Whites boss is facing a trip to the Emirates on 1 April without key centre back Max Wober or star attacker Willy Gnonto after both picked up injuries playing for their countries [The Athletic, 27 March].

In addition Tyler Adams, who missed the previous win at Wolves on 18 March, has now had to undergo surgery on his hamstring injury and is going to be out for at least a number of weeks so the Spaniard is going to need a longer-term solution.

Gracia paired Weston McKennie and Marc Roca at the base of the midfield at Molineux but his compatriot was directly responsible for Wolves beginning their comeback through Jonny’s long-range goal, as he aimlessly gave possession straight to the defender with Illan Meslier out of his goal.

Gyabi has only seen seven minutes of league action since his summer arrival from Manchester City, with a late cameo against his former club on 28 December, but he represents a more solid presence than the inconsistent Roca and is tipped to finally get his chance properly.

In defence, captain Liam Cooper is only just back from an injury of his own so it is Pascal Struijk, who came off the bench against Wolves, who is expected to cover for Wober, with big shoes to fill after the Austrian has lifted the defence as a whole since his January signing.

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Crysencio Summerville is likely to benefit from Gnonto’s absence, while the return of top scorer Rodrigo from yet another injury absence in this Leeds United squad is bad news for the underperforming Brenden Aaronson.

The American hasn’t registered a goal or assist since prior to the World Cup and has been infuriating his teammates in recent matches so he also drops out for the Spanish forward.

Patrick Bamford keeps his place up top while Jack Harrison rounds out the attack having both found their shooting boots of late.

McKennie partners Gyabi in the middle, while the rest of the back four remains unchanged with Robin Koch next to Struijk, Junior Firpo on the left, and Luke Ayling – who is going to need to wake up to keep his place from Rasmus Kristensen – on the right ahead of Illan Meslier.

Ayling’s goal and celebration were the memorable images from Molineux but he has turned in two rubbish defensive showings in a row now so he won’t get many more chances or the Dane, who scored straight after coming on in the last game but has flattered to deceive this season to lose his place originally, will come back in soon.

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In other Leeds United news, a club now has “no intention” of paying the Whites a pre-agreed fee.