Premier League football returns to Elland Road for the first time in 16 years this weekend, as Leeds United host fellow newly-promoted side Fulham, as they look to open their Premier League account for the season.
Marcelo Bielsa's men were enthralling to watch during their opening day defeat at Anfield, when a Mohamed Salah hat-trick condemned them to a 4-3 defeat, but not before they gave the champions an an almighty scare.
Fulham, on the other hand, were well-beaten in their first game on their return to the Premier League. Goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Magalhaes and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Arsenal a comfortable 3-0 win at Craven Cottage, and left Scott Parker with plenty of thinking to do.
In midweek though, Leeds United lost their second round Carabao Cup tie to Hull City, going down 9-8 on penalties. Ezgjan Alioski's injury-time equaliser took Leeds into the shootout, but Jamie Shackleton missed the decisive spot-kick to put Leeds out of the competition.
Fulham had no such trouble navigating their Carabao Cup tie against League One opposition, as Aleksandar Mitrovic's goal gave them a 1-0 win over Ipswich Town.
Leeds United vs Fulham Head-to-Head
In the last 16 clashes between the two sides, Fulham have won six, while Leeds United have won only four. What is more telling is that Fulham have lost only once to Leeds in the last eight meetings between the two sides.
That loss came in the last clash between the two sides, as Leeds ran out 3-0 winners at Elland Road, in June, on their way to being promoted as Championship winners.
Fulham Form Guide: W-L
Leeds United Form Guide: L-L
Leeds United vs Fulham Team News
Captain Liam Cooper is expected to return to the Leeds United side. Bielsa made 11 changes for the Carabao Cup clash, so it is expected that he will not make too many changes for this one. Young Dutch defender Pascal Struijk was certainly the more secure of the two centre-backs, so it will be interesting to see if Bielsa drops new signing Robin Koch to accommodate the returning Cooper.
After missing out on a start against Arsenal, Fulham's talismanic striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is set for a start in this one, after proving his fitness in the Carabao Cup game. New signings Alphonse Areola and Kenny tete could also get a look-in, with Parker looking for solutions to make his defence more robust.
Leeds United vs Fulham Predicted XIs
Leeds United (4-3-3): Ilian Meslier; Luke Ayling, Liam Cooper, Pascal Struijk, Stuart Dallas; Kalvin Phillips, Matuesz Klich, Pablo Hernandez; Helder Costa, Jack Harrison, Patrick Bamford
Fulham (4-3-3): Alphonse Areola, Dennis Odoi, Michael Hector, Tim Ream, Joe Bryan; Harrison Reed, Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa, Tom Cairney; Anthony Knockaert, Ivan Cavaleiro, Alexander Mitrovic
Leeds United vs Fulham Prediction
Going forward, Leeds were vibrant and a constant threat to the Liverpool rearguard. Fulham will have to be at their defensive best, and not make any mistakes. Leeds showed their ability to punish loose errors from the defence against Liverpool.
Cooper's return also strengthens the Leeds rearguard to an extent, so we are predicting that Leeds will have a winning Premier League return to Elland Road.
Prediction: Leeds United 3-1 FulhamPublished 17 Sep 2020, 12:59 IST