Leeds United and West Ham United will both be looking to bounce back to winning ways when they face off in the Premier League at Elland Road this week.

Matchweek 12 of the 2020/21 Premier League kicks off on Friday night with an exciting contest as Leeds United get ready to play hosts to West Ham United at Elland Road.

Leeds, upon returning to the top-flight, have been one of the most entertaining teams in the competition. The Whites were off to a positive start to the campaign but results have faded a bit of late as they have lost four of their last five games including their most recent one, which ended in a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea, due to which they have slid down to the 14th place.

West Ham, meanwhile, have punched well above their weights early into the campaign, occupying the eighth place in the league table, with just four points separating them from the top four. The Hammers have won three and lost just one of their last four games, although the defeat came in their latest encounter, against Manchester United last weekend.

The last time Leeds and West Ham met was in the Championship in 2012, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw at Elland Road. And ahead of their latest encounter on Friday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

Leeds United

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Leeds United will have to make do without summer signings Robin Koch and Diego Llorente, both of whom picked up injuries this past weekend. Also, the Whites will continue to be without Adam Forshaw.

With no Koch and Llorente at his disposal, manager Marcelo Bielsa will move Luke Ayling into the centre-back slot alongside club captain Liam Cooper, as confirmed by the manager himself. With Ayling moving infield, Stuart Dallas starts at right-back while Ezgjan Alioski slots in on the opposite side. Illan Meslier will start in goal.

Kalvin Phillips will be in charge of providing the cover to the Whites defence starting as the holding midfielder. The England international will have support from Mateusz Klich, who will also look to push forward at every opportunity and support the attackers.

Raphinha and Jack Harrison ought to take up the wide roles on the right and left respectively and look to supply star striker Patrick Bamford with crosses to attack in the opposition box. The ex-Chelsea ace will have support from summer signing Rodrigo, who will slot in as the auxiliary striker.

Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Dallas, Ayling, Cooper, Alioski; Phillips; Raphinha, Klich, Rodrigo, Harrison; Bamford

West Ham United

Arthur Masuaku misses out for David Moyes’ side as he is set to undergo a knee surgery while fellow full-back Ryan Fredericks is also a doubt for the game. In addition, Michail Antonio is also unlikely to be fit within time for Friday’s trip to Elland Road either.

Moyes has found a settled formation and starting XI that has worked quite well for West Ham in recent weeks. So, the Hammers should continue to set up in a 5-4-1 formation, with the only change being that Masuaku will be essentially be replaced by Issa Diop, who will slot in at the heart of the defence, allowing Aaron Cresswell to move to the left.

Vladimir Coufal is a certain starter on the right, having made a solid impression since coming in earlier this year. Partnering Diop at the centre of the backline should be Fabian Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna. They will shield Lukasz Fabianski in the Hammers’ goal.

Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek will hold the fort in the middle of the park. The latter will pose a serious goal threat with his presence in the box from set-piece situations. The creativity should largely come from the wide areas where Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals are guaranteed to feature. With Antonio still not fully fit, Sebastien Haller should lead the line.

Probable Lineup (5-4-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Balbuena, Diop, Ogbonna, Creswell; Bowen, Rice, Soucek, Fornals; Haller

Key Stats

  • This will be the first league meeting between Leeds United and West Ham since 2011/12 Championship campaign when both games ended in draws.
  • This is the first Premier League meeting between the two teams since a 1-0 home win for the Whites back in February 2003.
  • Leeds have never lost a top-flight home game played on a Friday (W3 D6), drawing both such games in the Premier League (1-1 vs Newcastle in 1994, 0-0 vs Aston Villa in 2003).
  • West Ham are winless in their last nine meetings with Leeds in all competitions (D4 L5), since a 1-0 win at Elland Road in November 2000.
  • After winning their first home league game of the season 4-3 against Fulham, Leeds are winless in their last four at Elland Road (D2 L2), netting just two goals in this run.

Player to Watch

Patrick Bamford

The 27-year-old is enjoying quite the season after having played a key role in helping Leeds United earn promotion to the Premier League. So far, Bamford has found the back of the net eight times in 11 outings, while setting up two more goals for his teammates.

The former Chelsea academy man has averaged a goal every 118 minutes this term, which is a significant improvement over last season when he managed to net one every 226 minutes. He will be hoping to continue his fine goalscoring form when West Ham come visiting on Friday.

Prediction

Leeds United 1-1 West Ham United

Even though Leeds United will pour men forward, West Ham have shown that they can be a tough team to break down, having let in just 14 goals this term – only four teams have conceded fewer. Leeds’ attacking endeavours would also leave spaces open for the likes of Bowen and Fornals to exploit on the break. The Hard Tackle predicts this one to end in a closely-fought 1-1 draw.

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