By Daniel Feliciano

31st Mar, 2023 | 8:10pm

Liam Cooper to start, Patrick Bamford to be axed - Leeds United predicted XI v Arsenal

Leeds United boss Javi Gracia is likely to make a few changes to his starting lineup for the Premier League clash with Arsenal on Saturday (1 April).

The Whites head into the game against the league leaders after claiming a huge 4-2 win over Wolves before the international break, which helped them to get out of the relegation zone and move up to 14th place in the table.

But after being dealt injury blows during the international break with three first-team regulars picking up problems, Gracia is now likely to make some changes to his team to try and find a result where one is least expected.

One place that won’t see any changes is in goal, with Illan Meslier the undisputed number one at Elland Road and sure to start between the sticks.

In defence Luke Ayling has made himself the number one choice at right-back in recent months with his performances, but Rasmus Kristensen also got on the scoresheet against Wolves and is pushing for a start.

It’s unlikely to come here though, especially with January signing Max Wober ruled out and the manager wanting continuity in his back line.

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With Wober out injured, captain Liam Cooper should come back into the side at centre-back for his first appearance since February‘s 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest and he will likely partner Robin Koch.

At left-back Pascal Struijk had been a regular for the most part this season, but Junior Firpo has had his best run of form in a Leeds shirt since Javi Gracia came into the club and he should keep his place.

Tyler Adams could miss the rest of the season in midfield after undergoing hamstring surgery during the break, but Weston McKennie should be fit despite suffering with a cold recently and come into the side alongside Marc Roca to keep experience and quality high.

Further forward the team will be without Wilfried Gnonto after he picked up an ankle problem while with Italy, but there are still plenty of options for Gracia to decide from.

Jack Harrison has been in excellent form in recent weeks and should take his place on the left-wing, while Dutch starlet Crysencio Summerville has been impressive in his appearances under the manager and should be rewarded with a start.

Rodrigo has been the standout performer this season in attack as the top scorer in the team, but there could be a positional change coming for him because of Patrick Bamford’s struggles in recent games in front of goal.

With the Spaniard moving up to the number nine position in the team, that should allow Brenden Aaronson to start in the number ten role to support the midfield too.

In other Leeds news, the club can take advantage of a mass exodus elsewhere this summer to bolster the squad.

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