Mark Lawrenson made mention of the slippy new Leeds United pitch in his latest round of Premier League predictions.
Several Leeds players struggled to keep their feet in the 2-1 defeat to Everton on Wednesday after the pitch at Elland Road was relaid.
Lawrenson also said that Crystal Palace without Wilfried Zaha isn’t as big a threat. Zaha is a major doubt for the game.
Lawrenson thinks that Leeds will get to grips with the surface at Elland Road and win 2-0 on Monday night.
“Leeds are always a good watch but they will have to do better on their new pitch than they did against Everton,” Lawrenson said.
“I heard it being described afterwards as ‘looking like it had been treated with olive oil’ which I thought was a great line – but as Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa said, his players were slipping and Everton’s weren’t.
“Leeds don’t seem able to defend at the best of times but what might help them get a clean sheet this time is that Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha is a major doubt with a hamstring injury.
“Palace will play on the break like they usually do whether he is fit or not but, without Zaha, they just don’t carry the same threat.”
It wasn’t just the Leeds players who found the Elland Road pitch slippy – Dominic Calvert-Lewin said the same, although it didn’t stop him getting on the scoresheet.
Leeds seemed to struggle more, though, and we hope the pitch is less like an ice rink and that the Leeds players have better studs on Monday.
Playing palace without Zaha would be a big boost but he’s not the only threat. Eberechi Eze was brilliant in the 4-1 win against us earlier in the season and he’ll be the one to watch if Zaha is out.
Zaha was also a big threat in that game and he’s definitely the main Palace danger man, especially as they’re likely to employ a low block against us and try to pick us off on the break. That worked out well for them last time.
Palace are on the same points as us but two places back on goal difference and if Leeds do want a top-10 finish then we need to be beating them at home.
Without Zaha, we think that will happen and a clean sheet would be very welcome.
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