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Leeds United line-up vs Arsenal as Dallas, Firpo and Harrison make way in formation switch

By Beren Cross

Injuries and two blanks in two matches for Leeds United would prompt three changes for me at Emirates Stadium on Sunday in the Arsenal game. Liam Cooper’s return to training on Friday is excellent news and Jesse Marsch’s bullish outlook on his chances for the weekend means he immediately returns to my starting XI, which does revert to a back four.

Junior Firpo is still finding his form and fitness after a long lay-off and some of his struggles last weekend would put him back on the bench in my side. Width from the full-backs is critical in Marsch’s system, but for me, in a traditionally wide formation using wingers, the full-backs can be a little more defensively minded.

That’s why Pascal Struijk moves out there, for me. Whenever Marcelo Bielsa played the 22-year-old at full-back he did really well and I’d like to see that again on Sunday.

READ MORE: Jesse Marsch drops clear Leeds United hint on his long-term plans regardless of division

Mateusz Klich and Kalvin Phillips pick themselves as the remaining fit central midfielders in the squad, while Rodrigo just about keeps his head above water as the attacking central midfielder in a 4-2-3-1. Raphinha, of course, keeps his place on the right flank, but Daniel James takes Jack Harrison’s spot in my XI.

The former Manchester City wide man has consistently flattered to deceive for several weeks, even when he has been scoring. While James has frustrated in attack, he is far more useful as a winger and though he is not perfect, he has looked more dangerous than Harrison when playing out wide.

Joe Gelhardt, as you have probably guessed, starts as the striker in a side crying out for a natural number nine. The 20-year-old does not have Patrick Bamford’s physical presence, but the manner of his display from the bench last Saturday was a reminder of the difference he can make in creating and finishing moves.

Beren’s XI: Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Struijk; Klich, Phillips; Raphinha, Rodrigo, James; Gelhardt.

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Dive Deeper:
Predicted Leeds United line-up vs Arsenal with Rodrigo puzzle and tiring Gelhardt debate
A look at how we expect Jesse Marsch to line his XI up at Emirates Stadium n the Premier League…
Leeds United fans urge formation change and Joe Gelhardt start for Arsenal trip
Leeds fans have been voting for their preferred starting XI against Arsenal
Full Leeds United squad revealed for tough Arsenal trip as Liam Cooper set for swift return
The Whites face Arsenal this afternoon in another huge Premier League match
Liam Cooper absent as Joe Gelhardt starts for Leeds United in crucial Arsenal clash
Jesse Marsch has confirmed his starting XI for Leeds United's trip to Arsenal
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Select your Leeds United XI to face Arsenal as Jesse Marsch gets set for defensive boost
Have your say on who Jesse Marsch should start to face Arsenal away at the Emirates on Sunday
Leeds United supporters revel in Joe Gelhardt selection but admit key fear ahead of Arsenal
The young Whites forward is among the changes for the Whites as Liam Cooper misses out entirely in North London
Get all your news in one place