Getting a win at Brighton is never easy, nor are Leeds very good at it, but it would be very beneficial if the Whites were to come away with all three points tomorrow tea-time.
United find themselves two points shy of the drop zone and in desperate need of some points before what appears to be, fixture-wise, the toughest December on record.
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The Seagulls started the season well and are currently in ninth but without a win in seven so could do with the points themselves.
It looks like Raphinha and Rodrigo are available but past experience has proven I should be sceptical about the length of time a player will be out for.
To be fair, Joe Gelhardt did very well leading the line against Tottenham on his first Premier League start and I would have no issue with him continuing.
The starting XI isn’t really the problem at the minute, it’s the bench when we have a couple of injuries.
Junior Firpo and Tyler Roberts cannot be our plan B.
The long trip has got the potential to be painful but I think we will at least match them.
Prediction: Brighton and Hove Albion 1 Leeds United 1.
Another vital game as we visit the Seagulls.
Every game is vital as long as we continue to battle to put distance between us and the bottom three.
Our recent record against Brighton is poor: 10 defeats in our last 13 meetings home and away and only two wins, both at Elland Road. In fact, we’ve lost all five we’ve played at the Amex since Brighton moved there in 2011. It will not escape the memory of Leeds fans either that the Seagulls pooped on us twice last season, one of only three sides to do the double over us.
They started this season well, winning four of their opening five, but they’ve slipped down the table since and are without a win in their last seven, albeit those included games against Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City, two of which they drew.
Not easy then! However, I’m confident; Leeds turned a corner following the poor display at Southampton, and have played well since, even in the unlucky defeat at Spurs.
With Raphinha and Rodrigo back, I think we can win – if we’re at our best.
Prediction: Brighton and Hove Albion 0 Leeds United 1.
Brighton started the season well but, lately, Graham Potter’s men have drawn or lost their recent games – their latest defeat came at Aston Villa (2-0) in Steven Gerrard’s first home game since becoming the Villa manager.
In the summer, they lost ex-Leeds loanee Ben White to Arsenal.
Despite not having the best form, they will certainly be a challenge for Marcelo Bielsa’s threadbare squad.
It is hoped that Victor Orta has been thumbing through his numerous football mags and his black book ready for January when the transfer window opens.
It would be a travesty if three seasons of wonderful football is followed by a season to forget. Leeds need to certainly beef up this squad with at least a couple of additions. Failure to do this could have serous implications.
Brighton has never been a happy hunting ground for Leeds and I’m afraid, if the majority of absentees are still out of the starting XI, it looks like a long journey home for the fans with not much to celebrate.
Prediction: Brighton and Hove Albion 2 Leeds United 0.
With Leeds travelling south for their longest trip of the season, they will be looking to take the first-half display from the Tottenham game and replicate it over 90 minutes.
With the likes of Raphinha, Rodrigo and Jamie Shackleton all set to return, and Patrick Bamford, Robin Koch and Luke Ayling all nearing full fitness, United’s injury problems could soon be over.
Fresh, experienced legs were missed in the second half last weekend and, against a Brighton side that doesn’t concede many goals, experience will be crucial.
Raphinha has the key to unlock any defence and, with Brighton having so many commanding, tall defenders, Leeds will look to keep the ball on the deck and play football.
It has been said before during Marcelo Bielsa’s reign that, if a game is being played on the ground, Leeds can match anyone but, when it comes to set-pieces and aerial battles, United tend to struggle.
On paper, Bielsa will know how to beat Brighton, but games aren’t won on paper.
Prediction: Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 Leeds United.
After United’s brave but ultimately disappointing efforts on Sunday, they go on a day trip to Sussex by the sea.
Sadly, United’s recent record against the Seagulls is very poor especially at Brighton’s modern, but soulless stadium.
The thing is that the Whites have enough to contend with and must ignore history.
Brighton have not won a Premier League game since September but have achieved notable draws and it is ‘a given’ that both sides will be desperate for a three-point haul.
Seagulls manager Graham Potter recorded his 100th game at the club on Saturday but his side were victims of the ‘new-manager bounce’ as they succumbed 2-0 at Aston Villa and Steven Gerrard as the hosts netted two late goals.
All this makes for a tough challenge for Leeds but you get the feeling that this is going to be the way that things are going to be this season.
Sooner or later, United’s efforts and industry need to be rewarded with goals and points. Let us hope that it is sooner rather than later.
Prediction: Brighton and Hove Albion 0 Leeds United 1.
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