Elland Road forms the backdrop for Saturday’s high-stakes Premier League six-pointer between Leeds United and Southampton.
Former interim Leeds boss Michael Skubala handed over the managerial reins to Javi Garcia over midweek after failing to halt the Whites’ dreadful league form he inherited from Jesse Marsch.
Garcia’s first task in charge of the out-of-sorts Yorkshire outfit will be to end an embarrassing ten-game winless run in the Premier League (D4, L6).
Leeds’ worst run without winning in England’s top-flight since 1947, bookended by a disheartening 1-0 defeat at fellow relegation competitors Everton last time out, cannot inspire much confidence at Elland Road.
But if the ex-Watford manager could’ve asked for more suitable opposition to launch his second managerial tenure in the Premier League, it would no doubt be Southampton.
After parting company with underperforming boss Nathan Jones following a humiliating 94-day reign (W1, L7), the Saints returned to winning ways with a stunning 1-0 triumph at Chelsea last weekend.
Caretaker boss Ruben Selles oversaw a resilient defensive performance at Stamford Bridge as another classic James Ward-Prowes free-kick got his interim charge off to a flying start.
Keen to earn a permanent role at St Mary’s, the 39-year-old will hope to prove last week’s success wasn’t just a beginner’s luck by leading Southampton to back-to-back league wins for the first time this term.
Garcia needs every encouragement he can get heading into this touchline debut, with Leeds’ stellar 14-game home record against Southampton in the Premier League (W7, D6, L1) looking inspiring enough.
The Whites haven’t lost any of their last eight top-flight meetings with the Saints at Elland Road (W5, D3), although this corresponding fixture in 2021/22 yielded a 1-1 draw.
Starting this round in the relegation zone may benefit Leeds, considering they’ve been victorious in four of the last six Premier League matches they played when in a similar situation (D1, L1).
If Southampton can defy their woeful record at Elland Road and other results go their way, they could finish this round outside the bottom three for the first time in 2023.
Selles’ men should be confident about holding up their end of the bargain after amassing four of their five Premier League wins this season on hostile turf, accounting for 67% of their points (12/18).
However, Southampton’s traditionally slow starts to their away league games could throw a spanner in the works, with the Saints conceding first on ten of their 12 league travels this term.
Leeds United vs Southampton Potential Line-ups
Leeds United (4-2-3-1): Illan Meslier; Luke Ayling, Robin Koch, Maximilian Wober, Junior Firpo; Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie; Jack Harrison, Wilfried Gnonto, Crysencio Summerville; Patrick Bamford.
Southampton (4-4-2): Gavin Bazunu; Kyle Walker-Peters, Jan Bednarek, Armel Bella-Kotchap, Romain Perraud; Stuart Armstrong, James Ward-Prowse, Romeo Lavia, Carlos Alcaraz; Kamaldeen Sulemana, Paul Onuachu.
How to Watch?
Leeds United vs Southampton, alongside all other fixtures in England’s top flight, is available to watch online via live Premier League streams.
Leeds United vs Southampton Prediction
Southampton could consider themselves lucky for beating Chelsea last time out, given the quantity of clear-cut chances Graham Potter’s side spurned in the second half.
But as Leeds failed to attempt a single shot on target at Goodison Park last weekend, the Saints may feel one goal could wrap this relegation six-pointer up again.
We’re more inclined to give the visitors better chances of tallying an all-important three points.
Leeds United 0-1 Southampton
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