Brighton & Hove Albion are on the road for a third game in a row when they travel to Elland Road to face a Leeds United side who are enjoying life back in the Premier League after a 16-year absence.
Graham Potter’s men were on the end of a narrow 1-0 defeat to Manchester City last time out on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium.
Phil Foden’s goal was the difference just before the break, but Albion created chances of their own on a night when striker Percy Tau also made an impressive Premier League debut.
Leeds’ last trip to Sussex proved to be a frustrating one as they bowed out of the Emirates FA Cup last weekend when they were on the end of a 3-0 defeat to Crawley Town.
Their last league match also saw Marcelo Bielsa’s side lose by the same scoreline – this time away at Tottenham Hotspur. The Whites won their last Premier League game at home with a tight 1-0 win over Burnley thanks to an early penalty from top scorer Patrick Bamford.
Leeds will be without Kalvin Phillips through suspension, after picking up a yellow card at Tottenham. Bielsa has confirmed that Tyler Roberts, Liam Cooper and Diego Llorente are all fit and ready to return to action following injury.
Tariq Lamptey, Danny Welbeck, Adam Lallana, Ali Jahanbakhsh and Aaron Connolly will all miss the match at Elland Road. However, Yves Bissouma is back in contention after serving a one-match suspension. New signing Jakub Moder has been in training, but Potter says the game will come too soon for the Polish international.
Leeds: Meslier; Dallas, Ayling, Struijk, Alioski; Hernandez; Raphinha, Rodrigo, Klich, Harrison; Bamford.
Brighton: Sanchez; Webster, Dunk, White; Lamptey, Propper, Bissouma, March; Trossard, Tau; Maupay.
Whilst Leeds’ tactical approach has certainly provided entertaining matches, their form is very much inconsistent. Having last drawn a game back in November – a 0-0 draw with Arsenal – they have won four and lost five of their last nine matches in all competitions.
The Seagulls, meanwhile, are now nine matches without a win in the league. And whilst their display in the defeat at Manchester City will give the Seagulls renewed confidence going into the match, boss Potter knows that its points that matter rather than performances.
Ones to watch
Having scored two in his last five league games, Rodrigo is adapting to life in the Premier League. After a summer move from Valencia, he feels that every game in this league is a tough one and is expecting another tough competitive match against the Seagulls.
“We can see this season that every game is a challenge,” he said. “It’s very difficult to predict the results.
“In the last few games we won 5-0 away at West Bromwich Albion, who two days earlier had got a draw away at Liverpool. So, the league is very hard, very tough and very competitive.”
Brighton, meanwhile, will be hoping for a fourth clean sheet in ten games and Adam Webster will be looking to play his part, and the defender is confident Albion have the quality at their disposal to start climbing the table.
Performances have warranted more points according to the 26-year old, but he knows there are a few areas for improvement.
“We definitely should have more points on the board,” he said. “There’s been quite a few games where we’ve dominated and should have taken all three points and we’ve only drawn.
“We’re confident with the ability we have in our team that we can pull away from danger. There are tough games coming up, but there’s a long way to go and we’ll be fighting for every point.”
Since moving to the AMEX Stadium, Brighton have more wins (8) against Leeds than any other side, with a goal difference of +11 against the Whites – Brighton’s best record against any opponent.
Albion are unbeaten in ten of the 12 games they have played against Leeds and it has been a relatively goal-laden fixture with 35 goals between the sides across a dozen games. This is their first meeting in the Premier League.
Leeds United are back on home turf after three consecutive away matches and will be looking to build on their back-to-back victories at Elland Road prior to the new year.
And Marcelo Bielsa was full of praise for Ben White, who played a major role in the success of promotion last season whilst on loan from Brighton.
“Ben has shown he’s a Premier League player,” he explained. “All of us here, we admire him as a player, we respect him and love him as a human being. He was an excellent professional as well as a team mate and we hope his career allows him to grow as he deserves it.
“Brighton have a lot of tactical diversity, they treat the ball very well and they’re a team who has a good balance between attack and defence.”
Graham Potter believes Brighton’s performances have improved compared to last season, but accepts the only true measure of that is their points tally.
“The spirit and the performance level has always been there, but turning the corner for us is getting positive results,” said the Albion boss. “The players give everything, they’re a good group who want to win and want to play well.
“They do everything I could ask of them as a coach. They leave everything on the pitch, they did that against Manchester City and they will need to do it against Leeds.”
How to watch
The Premier League fixture will be shown live on Sky Sports. The match will kick off at 3pm GMT at Elland Road.