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How Leeds United’s starting XI could look against Manchester United

It’s game week! The first game week of the campaign and everyone is looking forward to seeing how this season pans out, especially Leeds United fans. There’s a cautious optimism amongst the Elland Road faithful that minor improvements on last year could propel the Whites into the European places.

However, in terms of opening games of the season, it doesn’t get much bigger or difficult for the Whites. Both Manchester United and Leeds United have high hopes for the new campaign and their bitter rivalry could turn this into a great game.

But how will Marcelo Bielsa approach the fixture as he looks for a winning start to the campaign? That’s what we’re looking at today. So, this is how Leeds United’s starting XI could look against Manchester United:

Goalkeeper: Illan Meslier
Right-Back: Luke Ayling
Centre-Back: Robin Koch
Centre-Back: Pascal Struijk
Left-Back: Stuart Dallas
Centre-Defensive-Midfielder: Kalvin Phillips
Right Wing: Raphinha
Centre-Midfielder: Mateusz Klich
Centre-Midfielder: Rodrigo
Left-Wing: Jack Harrison
Striker: Patrick Bamford

It’s looking like Bielsa will be forced to go with the tried and tested at Old Trafford rather than anything new and exciting. Junior Firpo hasn’t featured in any of Leeds’ last three friendlies so is unlikely to find himself at left-back, forcing Stuart Dallas back into defence on a day where Leeds could really do with another midfielder. Diego Llorente is also looking likely to miss the game through injury, giving Robin Koch a rare start alongside the impressive Pascal Struijk.

Leeds’ transfer business has slowed down in recent weeks leaving them without depth in the middle forcing Bielsa to look for solutions elsewhere. That’ll leave Leeds light in the centre of the park with Mateusz Klich starting most likely alongside Rodrigo in midfield with the Spaniard asked to play a little deeper than usual. Nonetheless, I still expect him to play off Patrick Bamford, prompting Klich to drop deeper in support of Kalvin Phillips. Phillips himself is not guaranteed to play after a gruelling Euros campaign meaning we could even see Struijk move into the defensive midfield role and Liam Cooper start alongside Robin Koch at the back.

Ultimately, it’s a little disappointing to see a side without any new faces and it leaves some noticeable weaknesses in the Leeds eleven. Hopefully, Bielsa has a gameplan that can maximise this eleven, perhaps playing to the strength available on the flanks rather than through the middle of the field.

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