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Leeds logo
Premier League | Gameweek 25
Feb 25, 2023 at 3pm UK
Elland Road
Southampton logo

1 - 0

Firpo (77')
Gnonto (79'), Bamford (83')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Armstrong (58'), Lavia (85'), Bella-Kotchap (90+4'), Diallo (90+5')

Preview: Leeds United vs. Southampton - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Leeds United and Southampton, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

A potentially pivotal relegation battle at the foot of the Premier League table takes place at Elland Road on Saturday as Leeds United play host to Southampton.

While the Saints have confirmed that Ruben Selles will remain in charge for the rest of the season, the Whites will have newly-appointed head coach Javi Gracia in the dugout for the first time after he was granted his work visa on Friday.

Match preview

Javi Gracia, now in charge of Valencia, pictured in August 2019© Reuters

Fifteen days after sacking Jesse Marsch, Leeds confirmed the appointment of Gracia as their new head coach on Tuesday, bringing an end to Michael Skubala's temporary three-game spell in charge.

The 52-year-old, who has penned a "flexible contract" with the West Yorkshire side, is tasked with steering his new team away from the relegation zone, as they currently sit 19th in the table and two points adrift of safety following a torrid 10-game winless league run, including a 1-0 loss at Everton last weekend.

Leeds will hope that Gracia can use his previous Premier League experience to steer the club to safety after helping Watford avoid the drop in the second half of the 2017-18 campaign, before guiding them to their highest-ever top-flight finish of 11th place the following season, as well as leading them to the FA Cup final.

Gracia has acknowledged that it was an "easy" decision to accept the "challenge" of managing Leeds and is confident he and his squad will be well-prepared for Saturday's clash against Southampton, coincidentally the same opponent that Gracia faced in his first game in charge of Watford, albeit losing 1-0 in the FA Cup.

Leeds have struggled to please their home supporters in recent weeks as they have only won one of their last 10 Premier League matches at Elland Road, failing to score in their last two against Brentford (0-0) and Manchester United (0-2).

However, the Whites will be optimistic of claiming a positive result on Saturday as they have only lost one of their last 14 meetings against Southampton and are unbeaten in their last eight since a 1-0 home defeat back in February 1998.

Southampton interim manager Ruben Selles celebrates with the Southampton players after the match on February 18, 2023© Reuters

Following the dismissal of Nathan Jones, interim boss Ruben Selles boosted his hopes of leading Southampton on a permanent basis after steering the Saints to an impressive 1-0 away victory over Chelsea last weekend.

A trademark James Ward-Prowse free kick was enough to separate the two sides and end Southampton's three-game losing run, although that victory was not enough to move them off the foot of the table and they are still three points adrift from safety.

Nevertheless, six days after their triumph in the capital, Southampton announced on Friday that Selles will remain in charge for the rest of the 2022-23 campaign, and his immediate task will be attempting to lead the Saints to their third Premier League away win in four matches when they travel to Elland Road this weekend.

Indeed, Southampton have fared much better on the road so far this season, accumulating 12 of their 18 points away from home which is more than nine other top-flight teams including Liverpool (11).

Southampton came from two goals down to rescue a 2-2 draw at home against Leeds back in August, courtesy of goals from Joe Aribo and Kyle Walker-Peters in the final 20 minutes, and that fighting spirit will be required if they wish to go one better and claim all three points on Saturday, with a win potentially enough to help them climb out of the drop zone on goal difference if other results go their way.

Leeds United Premier League form:

Leeds United form (all competitions):

Southampton Premier League form:

Southampton form (all competitions):

Team News

Leeds United's Luis Sinisterra walks off the pitch after sustaining an injury on February 8, 2023© Reuters

Leeds trio Rodrigo (ankle), Stuart Dallas (leg) and Adam Forshaw (groin) are still recovering from long-term injuries, although the former is hoping to return at some stage next month.

Maximilian Wober came off at half time against Everton with a suspected dislocated shoulder and is a doubt for Saturday's clash along with Luis Sinisterra (thigh), Pascal Struijk (concussion), Marc Roca (knock) and Archie Gray (ankle).

In the potential absence of Wober, captain Liam Cooper could be recalled to partner Robin Koch at centre-back, although he may not be able to play the full 90 minutes having just returned from injury, so Luke Ayling could feature in the middle at some stage in the game.

It remains to be seen how Gracia will line up his side for Saturday, but Patrick Bamford – who has scored three Premier League goals in his last four meetings with Southampton – is set to lead the line, while Brendan Aaronson and Georginio Rutter will be pushing to be involved in the first team after both attackers played for the club's Under-21s on Monday.

As for Southampton, Che Adams (unspecified), Mislav Orsic (concussion), Valentino Livramento (ACL) and Juan Larios (hamstring) have all been ruled out, although the latter is closing in on a return after taking part in training, while Mohammed Salisu (knock) is a doubt and will be assessed ahead of kickoff.

Walker-Peters watched on as an unused substitute last weekend after recovering from a hamstring strain, and the right-back will be hoping to force his way back into the first XI on Saturday ahead of Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Ward-Prowse is set to make his 329th Premier League appearance, equalling the club record set by Jason Dodd, while one of Romeo Lavia, Carlos Alvarez or Ibrahima Diallo will likely join the Saints skipper in centre-midfield.

January signings Paul Onuachu and Kamaldeen Sulemana could start their third successive game in attack, although they face competition from Sekou Mara, Adam Armstrong and Theo Walcott.

Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Kristensen, Koch, Cooper, Firpo; Adams, McKennie; Summerville, Aaronson, Gnonto; Bamford

Southampton possible starting lineup:
Bazunu; Maitland-Niles, Bednarek, Bella-Kotchap, Perraud; S. Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Lavia, Elyounoussi; Sulemana, Onuachu

SM words green background

We say: Leeds United 2-2 Southampton

The Elland Road faithful are sure to create a hostile atmosphere for Southampton while providing new boss Gracia with all the encouragement that he needs to get off to a flying start in the Leeds dugout.

Selles, meanwhile, will fancy his chances of guiding the Saints to another victory on Saturday, and although both sides are desperate to claim maximum points here, we feel that the spoils will be shared as they were six months ago at St Mary's.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Tables header RHS

Group A

Q Germany Germany22006
2 Switzerland Switzerland21104
3 Scotland flag Scotland20111
4 Hungary Hungary20020

Group B

Q Spain Spain22006
2 Italy Italy21013
3 Albania national flag Albania20111
4 Croatia Croatia20111

Group C

1 England flag England21104
2 Denmark Denmark20202
3 Slovenia Slovenia20202
4 Serbia Serbia20111

Group D

1 Netherlands Netherlands21104
2 France France21104
3 Austria Austria21013
4 Poland Poland20020

Group E

1 Romania Romania21013
2 Belgium Belgium21013
3 Slovakia Slovakia21013
4 Ukraine Ukraine21013

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal22006
2 Turkey Turkey21013
3 Czech Republic Czech Republic20111
4 Georgia Georgia20111

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