Former Toffees defender highlights issue Everton must address in Leeds United test

FORMER Toffees defender Michael Ball says Everton will need to find solutions to stop an "exciting" Leeds United side hitting them on the counter in Saturday's Premier League clash at Goodison Park.
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Carlo Ancelotti's Toffees are approaching Saturday evening's contest sat sixth in the table and just four points off top spot with striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin leading the division's Golden Boot race with ten goals.

However, Everton's former England defender Ball is expecting a difficult game against a Leeds team he has been highly impressed with upon their Premier League return.

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United sit 14th in the table and five points behind the Toffees but Ball knows the Whites really ought to have taken all three points from last weekend's hosting of Arsenal which ended in a 0-0 draw despite Leeds having 25 attempts at goal and with the Gunners playing over 40 minutes with ten men.

CLOSE CALL: Everton took three points in Sunday's clash at Fulham but former Toffees defender Michael Ball says with extra Cottagers quality it could have been a different tale. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images.CLOSE CALL: Everton took three points in Sunday's clash at Fulham but former Toffees defender Michael Ball says with extra Cottagers quality it could have been a different tale. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images.
CLOSE CALL: Everton took three points in Sunday's clash at Fulham but former Toffees defender Michael Ball says with extra Cottagers quality it could have been a different tale. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images.

Everton, meanwhile, recorded a 3-2 triumph at Fulham as Calvert-Lewin bagged a brace but Ball says that the Cottagers could have taken something from the game with a bit more quality within the side.

Writing in his column for the Liverpool Echo, Ball said: "The way Leeds play, I've been very impressed with them. They're exciting to watch every time they've played this season.

"They're a very honest team. They work hard as a team, they've got a lot of runners and they've got a good bit of quality.

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"It's going to be a difficult game for us and we've got to be switched on, because they've got the energy to go for 90 minutes.

"Against Arsenal they created enough chances to win that game, and we need to be up for that challenge.

"They don't care who we are, they'll be playing for Leeds United and they will work hard to win.

"We've got to be able to find a solution to stop them counter-attacking, which hasn't been the best side of our game.

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"We've been too nice at times and let teams break us down far too easily, so we've got to be very compact and make sure there are no spaces in the centre of that pitch.

"Their manager is very clever, he's a student of the game who studies his opposition - too closely sometimes as we saw with the Derby situation!

"But he's going to know where he can hurt Everton.

"If we play to our strengths, we can cause them problems as well. But better decisions in certain situations is what we've got to work on.

"The little moments in games make a massive difference. Leeds are pushing everyone to the limit, so we've got to be at the top of our game to get three points.

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"Fulham, if they had a bit more quality in certain situations, could have got something this weekend."

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Thank you Laura Collins