Rodrigo up front: Leeds United starting XI v Crystal Palace predicted by Sky Sports pundit
We’re delighted to welcome former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson as our exclusive columnist as each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Leeds United...
Paul Robinson predicts Marcelo Bielsa will stick with the same personnel when he comes to choosing his starting line-up for Leeds United versus Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.
On Monday. Bielsa confirmed to the media that Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling are on the verge of returning to first-team duties after two and a half months on the sidelines due to injury.
Bamford, 28, played all 90 minutes for the Under-23s on Monday as they lost to Manchester City in Premier League 2, all but ruling him out of the first team’s clash with Palace on Tuesday at Elland Road.
Ayling, however, played just 45 minutes and was substituted off at half-time.
Despite this, Robinson doesn’t feel as though the 30-year-old right-back will be ready to start against Palace and he expects the only change Bielsa will make is to drop Daniel James back and play Rodrigo as the lone striker.
Speaking to MOT Leeds News, Robinson said: “For me, it’s whether you start with Dan James up front on his own.
“They looked light up top without Patrick Bamford and they still haven’t found a way of playing. I’d play Rodrigo up there – he can play there and he likes playing there.
“For me, I’d drop Dan James deep and play Rodrigo higher up with [Jack] Harrison, James and Raphinha in behind with [Adam] Forshaw and [Kalvin] Phillips sitting deep. I think that would probably suit them more.
“[Diego] Llorente and [Liam] Cooper will keep their partnership at centre-back with [Stuart] Dallas and [Junior] Firpo as they were [at full-back] unless Ayling can come back into it, which I doubt that he can.”
Here’s how the Leeds side will line-up if Robinson’s prediction is correct:
Leeds are without a win in three Premier League matches after they drew 0-0 away at Brighton on Saturday.
Bielsa was lucky to see his side return from the south coast with a point with the hosts wasting several huge chances to take the lead.
In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has dropped a Marcelo Bielsa exit verdict amid recent speculation.