Leeds United vs Crystal Palace, Premier League: live score and latest updates

Leeds United vs Crystal Palace, Premier League: live score and latest updates
© Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff Leeds United vs Crystal Palace, Premier League: live score and latest updates – Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

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05:58 PM

Good evening

And welcome to live coverage of Leeds United vs Crystal Palace. Marcelo Bielsa, writing in tonight’s programme, concedes that over the last three matches the home side played well against Leicester and, thus, feels only drawing was a missed opportunity; they faded after their best first-half performance of the season against Spurs and lost a game they should at least have drawn and were comprehensively outplayed at Brighton on Saturday evening in the first half but recovered to something approaching parity in the second to rescue a point they probably didn’t deserve. “How we recovered in the second half,” he writes, “gives us a lot of optimism and hope. We looked more like our usual selves, without managing to unbalance Brighton.”

“Unbalancing” is the key principle of Bielsa’s attacking strategy and with so many injuries throughout the first third of the season, it is Leeds who have looked unbalanced by playing Daniel James through the middle, any number of midfield combinations before the heartening return of Adam Forshaw after two years out, the failure of Rodrigo and Junior Firpo to find the strides that commanded, by Leeds standards, high fees and Raphinha’s tiredness after his international call-ups. But above all it is Patrick Bamford’s presence they have missed, not that he was at his best before his injury but his work-rate, nose for the place that will most expose the defence in the penalty area and ability to hang on to the ball, have left Leeds short of quality possession in the final third. 

Bielsa was also forced to address the contention made by Tim Sherwood and Jamie Redknapp that all was not well between the manager and Kalvin Phillips after the England midfielder was hooked at half-time at the Amex. Phillips’ status as a Leeds “idol” was “completely deserved”, his manager said and insisted his decision to replace him at half-time was for the good of the team.

“That doesn’t mean I was correct, but I did what I thought was best,” said Bielsa. “But in no way does that mean that there’s a difficulty with anyone. “It’s never good for a player or for a team to think that the positions are immovable and that the hierarchies that are within a team can’t be altered ever.”

Leeds United vs Crystal Palace, Premier League: live score and latest updates
© Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Jakub Moder of Brighton & Hove Albion runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Kalvin Phillips of Leeds United  – Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

A freezing but raucous night under the lights at Elland Road should be just what they need to spark this spluttering season but Crystal Palace, especially since the triumph of Patball over Royball will not be easy opponents. The Glaziers/Eagles have lost on all of their previous six visits to Beeston, Wilf Zaha playing in the last three, the first of which was back in 2011. You have to go back 15 years to Jobi McAnuff’s winner in 2006 when both were gunning for promotion from the Championship for Palace’s last win.

But this Palace side, despite Saturday’s set-back, look well-equipped to make life uncomfortable for Leeds, not just with the presence of Conor Gallagher, a player Bielsa wanted but was unable to land. He’s shown just how good he is at Palace, a dynamic, all-round modern midfielder who can play as a hybrid six/eight, sitting deep with the ability to scuttle, bionic-crab-like, from touchline to touchline and the drive to go box-to-box to link up with the strikers. Add in the rejuvenated Christian Benteke, an ever-present back four, the ever-electric Zaha and the rich promise of Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze from the bench and you have a side that look a million miles away from the dour rope-a-dopers of last season. 

Both teams need a win but Leeds, eager for a fillip to banish their worst fears, would welcome it with fervour and no small relief.

The kick-off is at 8.15pm  – join us for the team news from 7.15pm. 

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