Leeds travel to the capital after their defeat on Monday to Leicester City, the size of the defeat may have surprised many but without doubt the midlanders will be at the very least a top five team come may and could even challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for the Premier League title if they keep their key players fit, especially top scorer Jamie Vardy.
Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the 80’s wasn’t the happiest hunting ground, many of the games the hosts got the win by the odd goal too. I remember a game in 1987 when Jim Melrose needed a late winner in a playoff semi final if my memory is correct. Leeds’ last victory there is back in 2006. United won 2-1 in a Championship game with the goals coming from Robbie Blake and Rob Hulse.
They are one of the very few teams in the Premier League that actually play a solid ‘Mike Bassett’ 4-4-2 and in Wilfred Zaha they have a player who is involved in scoring and making goals for Palace. Ex Leeds loanee Andros Townsend is amongst their midfield and without doubt they are a hard working side. They will be without their captain and penalty taker because he is suspended.
Leeds will be without Llorente, Phillips, Rodrigo(COVID) and there is a doubt about Raphinha who has an ankle injury. Bielsa must decide if to continue with Pablo Hernandez who was strangely substituted by Tyler Roberts after an hour with Leeds 2-1 behind and only a few minutes after wobbling the City bar with a superb effort.
He(Hernandez)was visibly annoyed as he stropped off and made his way to the technical area and kicked a water bottle in frustration. The other option is to use the player that replaced him, but Roberts has struggled to make an impact in the games he’s played thus far this season. Mat Klich played as an holding midfielder against Leicester with Jamie Shackleton playing a more forward role but Bielsa may opt to bring back in Pascal Struijk and move Klich to his normal role in midfield.
No game is easy and this definitely is a tough one to call. Palace have yet to record an home victory this season but have won at old farmyard(manu)and at Fulham so far this season. I’m thinking a draw will be a positive result for Leeds, a win would be a very big bonus.
Prediction: Palace 2 Leeds 2
By Keith Ingham