It should be an entertaining Saturday afternoon at Elland Road as Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds welcome in-form West Ham.
The Whites are yet to get into their stride during 2021/22, drawing three of their opening five Premier League games while conceding a shed load of goals – 12 to be specific.
David Moyes’ West Ham are faring better, having taken eight points from their first five – and they’ve also triumphed over Manchester United in the Carabao Cup and Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League.
Both teams will have tired legs after domestic cup action but three points is a necessity for both, albeit for differing reasons.
When is it played? Saturday 25 September, 15:00 (BST)
Where is it being played? Elland Road
TV channel? Final Score (BBC – UK), Soccer Saturday (Sky Sports- UK), Peacock Premium (US), DAZN (Canada)
Highlights? Sky Sports YouTube Channel (UK – 5.15pm) Match of the Day (BBC – UK)
Referee? Kevin Friend
VAR? Andre Marriner
Leeds have been dealt a major injury blow as Patrick Bamford is unavailable for selection because of an ankle injury.
Diego Llorente and Robin Koch are also out injured while Pascal Struijk is missing through suspension, leaving a huge hole in the centre of defence. Charlie Cresswell could be handed a first Premier League start as a result, allowing Kalvin Phillips to remain in midfield.
There is hope that Raphinha will be fit enough to start, and there could be a place in the squad for Jack Harrison after illness.
David Moyes should whisk Michail Antonio straight back into his starting lineup after he missed the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United last Sunday through suspension.
Antonio is well rested after watching the Hammers gain revenge in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, as are the likes of Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek and Aaron Cresswell – who similarly enjoyed the clash at Old Trafford from the sidelines.
Nikola Vlasic may be the only player to drop out of the team that started the Premier League game against United, meaning a return in goal for Lukasz Fabianski despite Alphonse Areola’s impressive showing in the cup.
Leeds: Meslier; Ayling, Cresswell, Cooper; Dallas, Phillips, Klich, Firpo; Raphinha, James, Rodrigo
West Ham United: Fabianski; Coufal, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek, Fornals; Bowen, Benrahma, Antonio
Leeds play all-guns-blazing attacking football which will suit West Ham down to the ground, largely because of their threat on the counter.
The Hammers are in good touch and quickly put the disappointment of Mark Noble’s injury-time penalty miss against Manchester United to one side to pick up a confidence boosting cup win against the Red Devils.
More importantly, Moyes was able to rest a number of his key players, although the workload of Jarrod Bowen will have to be managed carefully after he put in another all-action performance.
West Ham are unbeaten in their last four games against Leeds – including doing the double last season – and they could add to that tally against a depleted side plugging gaps because of injury and ill-discipline.
Prediction: Leeds 1-2 West Ham