BIG CALLS - Jesse Marsch must decide whether or not to stick with the five-man defence as Leeds United travel to Arsenal on Sunday. Pic: Getty

Leeds United predicted line-up vs Arsenal with a key change and one big call for Jesse Marsch

Jesse Marsch is faced with a pair of huge calls for Leeds United's trip to Arsenal on Sunday - one of them the formation and the other Liam Cooper's involvement.

By Graham Smyth
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 1:29 pm

The American was optimistic that Cooper's 'weird sensation' in his knee was not a significant problem, therefore it's possible the captain plays. Cooper has been described at Leeds as the master of getting himself right for matchdays even after a disrupted week of training and if he's in any way close to contention, he'll push to be involved in such a big game.

The loss of the captain during the warm-up last weekend for the Manchester City game felt costly for Leeds, especially as the visitors to Elland Road profited at two set-pieces where Cooper comes in very handy as an effective aerial combatant. Just four games remain to save the Whites from the drop and injuries and niggles that wouldn't lead to gambles earlier in the season might just, at this stage.

Whether or not we see Cooper in the starting line-up, there will definitely be a change to the side that started against Manchester City. Stuart Dallas underwent surgery this week and is out for a 'lengthy period' meaning Leeds will go into a Premier League game without the Ulsterman for the first time since their 2020 promotion.

His removal from the squad leaves Luke Ayling and Jamie Shackleton as the right-back, or right wing-back options, unless Marsch particularly liked what he saw from Raphinha in that role in the second half last weekend. The Brazilian is needed further forward, you would have thought.

As for the formation, Marsch could revert to the back four he had used since his arrival or, perhaps buoyed by the positives in the performance during last week's 4-0 defeat, he will stick with five at the back. The thinking could be that had it not been for two set-piece goals, Leeds would have been right in the game against an opposition unquestionably better than Arsenal. Setting up to be defensively solid and looking to hit the Gunners on the break could be the plan again, especially away from home. Nicking any kind of a result would be big for Leeds. They must win at least one of the last four, but this one cannot be seen as a must-win fixture, not with Arsenal in their current form and fighting for a Champions League spot.

The YEP prediction is five at the back, once again, lining up as follows...

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