Leeds United-Crystal Palace Preview
Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa is happy with the versatility shown by Mateusz Klich in Kalvin Phillips' absence, though stressed there is still room for improvement.
With Phillips out due to a shoulder injury, the typically marauding Klich was moved into a holding role midway through the first half in a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa - a position he maintained heading into Monday's clash with Leicester City.
Yet things did not go according to plan for Leeds at Elland Road, with Leicester storming to a 4-1 success.
Bielsa hailed Klich's ability to fill in around midfield, though suggested he may tweak his system again for Saturday's clash with Crystal Palace.
"Klich against Villa played well within a team that played well and in the game against Leicester, Klich played below the level he had played," Bielsa told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
"In any case I value a lot what Klich did in both games. Klich is a player who can play anywhere in the midfield, but there are places in the pitch where he plays better and others where he doesn't have the same resources.
"Within that his profile is that of a creative player, not a defensive one. He made an important contribution in a position which is not his usual."
While Bielsa is also without Spain internationals Marcos Llorente and Rodrigo Moreno, Palace boss Roy Hodgson is pleased with his forward options as Jordan Ayew nears a return to fitness.
"We're fortunate, we've got four very different types of forward if we count Wilf (Zaha) as a forward," Hodgson said.
"They all have different qualities and they're all capable of playing with each other. If you're going to have four forwards vying for a place in the team it's good they all have different qualities."
Crystal Palace - Wilfried Zaha
Leeds' defence was exposed by Leicester's pace on the break on Monday, and Zaha can offer a similar threat for Palace. He has scored five Premier League goals this season, worth seven points to Palace - no other players' strikes have been more valuable to their team so far this term.
Leeds United - Patrick Bamford
Former Palace forward Bamford scored a hat-trick against Villa but missed two golden chances in the defeat to Leicester. He made just six league appearances during a frustrating spell at Selhurst Park in 2015-16.
- Palace are unbeaten in their last four home league games against Leeds (W2 D2), with this the first such meeting since a 2-2 draw in the Championship in March 2013.
- Of Palace's Premier League defeats, 49 per cent have come at home, the highest such ratio in the competition (99/201). Their next home defeat will be their 100th in the competition, making them the eighth different team to reach this figure.
- Palace have had fewer shots than any other side in the Premier League this season (57), while only Liverpool have had more than Leeds (96).
- Hodgson has lost all three of his Premier League games against Leeds. His only previous home game against them ended in a 3-4 defeat with Blackburn in September 1997, with all seven goals being scored in the opening 33 minutes.
- Bamford has scored five goals in his three away appearances for Leeds in the Premier League this season, netting in each game on the road. The last Leeds player to score in four consecutive top-flight away games was Mark Viduka in August 2002.
Updated November 6, 2020