Leeds - Everton

Asian Handicap
Pick: AH +0.25 Everton
Odds: 1.81
Stake: 1

Match date: 03/02/2021

After 16 years Leeds United have returned to the Premiership and have won nine of their opening 20 games, the most by a promoted side since Wigan recorded 11 in 2005/2006. They will have a new test today against Everton, which has four points more and is in eighth place.

Few believed that Leeds could be so good this season, but experienced coach Marcelo Bielsa really got the most out of his players. Their results are realistically above their objective value and therefore it isn't to be expected that Leeds can continue without falls and defeats.

In a very tight match schedule, freshness and the number of good players on the bench are very important, and Leeds doesn't have that and that is why he could have problems against Everton because Bielsa cannot count on several very important players. Two central defenders Llorente and Koch are injured, as is striker Rodrigo (3 goals), and it is unlikely he will be able to play either top scorer Bamford (11 goals, four assists) and winger Raphinha (3 goals, 4 assists). Bamford sustained a dead leg on Sunday, while Raphinha has a thigh strain.

Leeds is absolutely no substitute for such quality players and without them it is difficult to expect offensive play that Bielsa is looking for. Before that the tactic could be positional play and waiting for the opponent’s mistake.

Everton stumbled in the last round with a home loss against Newcastle, but have three consecutive away wins and six of them in nine league games this season. Also, Carlo Ancelotti’s side have 33 points from 19 matches, their most at the halfway stage since 2013/2014. season.

Experienced Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti knows how to play defense and seeks a chance from the counter-attacks, and he can only worry about the injury of the first goalkeeper Pickford. Not in good shape is also top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored 10 goals in his opening nine league games but has managed just one further strike over his subsequent nine appearances.

As Leeds have the league’s third worst defense and they have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their five competitive fixtures so far this calendar year, guests are confident they can win on Elland Road. Ancelotti in a 4-2-3-1 schedule has three class offensive midfielders (James Rodriguez, Richarlison, Iwobi) and for insecure home defenders and young goalkeeper Meslier, these could be unsolvable enigma.

Leeds are not the favorite in this match, especially considering the absences of key players, so the chances of Everton's success are much higher than the odds suggest.

Possible first 11

Leeds: Meslier - Ayling, Struijk, Cooper, Alioski - Phillips - Costa, Klich, Dallas, Harrison - Roberts.

Everton: Olsen - Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne - Doucoure, Sigurdsson - Iwobi, Rodriguez, Richarlison - Calvert-Lewin.

WIN Score: 1:2 Profit: +0.81
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