Leeds United travel to Merseyside to take on Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday evening and Mark Lawrenson is expecting Marcelo Bielsa’s side to find the back of the net – but only once against Carlo Ancelotti’s men, in his BBC Sport column.
Leeds go into Saturday’s match having picking up just one point from their last three Premier League games – though they were much improved against Arsenal during last Sunday’s 0-0 draw. Hitting the woodwork on three occasions and having plenty of efforts on goal, it was a stark contract to poor performances against Leicester and Crystal Palace.
We come up against another different challenge on Saturday, though. Leicester and Palace were difficult to break down, Arsenal countered but are struggling to score. Everton on the other hand, are more than happy to get players forward – but are scoring goals for fun. Dom Calvert-Lewin is in the form of his life, with James Rodriguez taking to the Premier League like a duck to water.
Lawrenson believes Leeds will score against Ancelotti’s Everton, in a match that will see two of the finest tacticians in the current game go toe to toe on the touchline. But he reckons Leeds will go four league games without a win, predicted a 1-1 draw.
“Leeds are probably still wondering how they didn’t beat Arsenal on Sunday – and so am I,” Lawrenson said. “Marcelo Bielsa’s side will be just as attack-minded here, because they just don’t change, home or away. They approach every game like it is Custer’s Last Stand, and it is all or nothing for them.
“Everton got the win they needed at Craven Cottage last weekend but they were hanging on a bit at the end, and I didn’t see anything that makes me think they will keep Leeds out.”
Bielsa confirmed in his pre-match press conference that he will once again be without El Mago, Pablo Hernandez – who has failed to start since angrily reacting to his substitution against Leicester City. Meanwhile, Diego Llorente and Jamie Shackleton have also been ruled out, while Adam Forshaw’s rehabilitation continues – with more than a year of football played since his last Leeds outing.
Everton have suffered a big injury blow this week – with Lucas Digne breaking his ankle. The French left-back is expected to be sidelined until the end of February – while Seamus Coleman and Jean-Philippe Gbamin are also out. The last time the two sides met was in a League Cup match in 2012 – which Leeds won, thanks to goals from Aidan White and Rudy Austin, cancelling out an effort from Sylavin Distin.