Liam Cooper axed, Georginio Rutter and Max Wober in - Leeds United predicted XI v Brentford
Jesse Marsch is predicted to axe Leeds United captain Liam Cooper plus attacking stars Brenden Aaronson and Jack Harrison in favour of his January signings to face Brentford.
The Bees come to Elland Road on Sunday (22 January) to face a Whites side that were boosted by the 5-2 FA Cup win in midweek (18 January) after a run of games without a win in all competitions, including a loss to Aston Villa where all three started.
That loss and the cup victory saw Patrick Bamford back amongst the goals, demonstrating how much he has been missed this season so he is likely to return, while winter arrivals Georginio Rutter and Max Wober in line for first Premier League starts.
Bamford appears to be belatedly ready to get his season going for real now, while Marsch confirmed that club-record signing Georginio Rutter will be involved so he might look for a way to play him off the number nine immediately after the pair were tipped to combine perfectly.
The defence still left questions to be answered in the previous matches and there is likely to be a new combination for this game with Max Wober fit despite going off in the cup replay with an injury.
Marsch confirmed in his pre-match press conference on Friday (20 January) that skipper Liam Cooper is also fit despite some doubts over his availability, but it may well be him that starts from the bench as the manager has shown he is a fan of Robin Koch above his other options.
The American is therefore predicted to bring Pascal Struijk in from his months-long emergency duty at left-back to partner the German in the middle, with Wober set to make his first Premier League start at full-back, while Luke Ayling looks to have displaced Rasmus Kristensen and should be on the right.
Despite the attacking riches that are now on offer at Leeds United the midfield partnership of Tyler Adams and Marc Roca is not expected to be disrupted.
Even with Bamford brought into the number nine spot that Rodrigo has filled for most of the season and Rutter playing off, the top-scoring Spaniard has been excelling in front of goal this year and he is sure not to be dropped.
Given Harrison and Aaronson’s performances have been hit and miss they both move to the bench.
Willy Gnonto is practically the first name on the team sheet at the moment and will absolutely start barring an unforeseen development, so the young Italian and the in-form Spanish forward should ably assist the new man and the returning striker.
If Marsch decides to be cautious he might have doubts over including Bamford and Rutter from the start, but given the alternatives are out of form – Harrison and Aaronson, headed for a loan exit – Joe Gelhardt, have returned even more recently than Bamford – Luis Sinisterra, or are still out – Crysencio Summerville, the temptation to unleash this front four could be too much to resist.
In other Leeds United news, one of those players could be on his way already for big money according to one pundit.