New-look Leeds United front line could be perfect for must-win clash at Norwich City - David Prutton

You can absolutely call Sunday’s clash at Norwich City a must-win game for Leeds United.

Friday, 29th October 2021, 4:45 am

You can absolutely call Sunday’s clash at Norwich City a must-win game for Leeds United.

It’s huge. When it comes to survival, Norwich are going to be right in that mix of teams who Leeds need to take points from.

This is the ruthless side of what league competition is all about and putting Norwich to the sword has to be the next port of call.

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DYNAMIC DUO: Nineteen-year-old Leeds United forward, right, and record Whites signing Rodrigo, left, as Gelhardt wins a late penalty in Saturday's Premier League clash against Wolves at Elland Road. Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

Given Norwich’s 7-0 defeat at Chelsea last weekend, it’s got to be a game in which Leeds fancy themselves but it won’t be a walk in the park.

People are taking pot shots at Norwich left, right and centre which is part and parcel of being where they are.

But they were awesome in the Championship last season, a thing of beauty to watch.

You can’t stress enough how good they were but they are finding it extremely difficult in the Premier League which just shows how tough it is.

That is also emphasised by how tough Leeds have found it with just that solitary win so far.

And there is absolutely no way that Leeds can get carried away with thoughts of what Norwich are because it will come back to bite them on the bum if they underestimate them and Norwich get their first win of the season.

There will be a lack of confidence in certain areas with Norwich, given the run of form they have been on since they have been back in the Premier League.

But Carrow Road can be a tough place to go.

There will be a very vocal support but Leeds need to go there and play their game. We have not seen a full 90 minutes of it so far this season but it is undoubtedly there.

It would obviously be a body blow for Leeds if they are beaten at Norwich but it wouldn’t be the end of the world given how many games they have got over the course of the rest of the season.

It’s not necessarily about laying a marker down but more about making sure that teams like Norwich, in games like this, are put to the sword.

But I can’t stress enough how tough it will be and how tough it should be.

Norwich should be a team that is fighting the way it is fighting and they need to show some level of fight for Premier League survival, even though we are still quite far away from it being that perilous position.

They ground out a point against Brighton and Burnley and then we have seen them be put to the sword by Everton, Liverpool and Chelsea in recent weeks.

They are at the foot of the table and five points behind Leeds but, if they were to win on Sunday, they would suddenly be hot on United’s heels and there is absolutely no way Leeds can take any of this granted.

Three Leeds youngsters have been given more of a chance this week in Joe Gelhardt, Crysencio Summerville and Cody Drameh.

I was at the Emirates for Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup defeat against Arsenal in which Drameh played the full game and I thought he was solid enough.

When you look at the difference in the second half overall, it felt like Arsenal wrestled back the initiative and, obviously, went on to win.

But Cody was very much part of the Leeds team and a performance that made that game as close as it was in the first half before the second half changed things.

As for Summerville and Gelhardt, I think we were all quite surprised that Joe did not get a start at Arsenal after his display off the bench in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Wolves.

But we still saw, in glimpses, a player who can cause the opposition problems and, obviously against Wolves he had that wonderful driving run that won the penalty

That showed what he is capable of and, if you unleash a player like that against a Norwich side that is low on confidence, then he can definitely cause them problems.

Leeds finished the game against Wolves with Gelhardt and Rodrigo as their front pairing and there is a nice contrast in what those two bring to the game.

But this recent spell has just shown what a huge miss Patrick Bamford has become and it’s not necessarily about him hoovering up goals or anything like that.

It’s about the tempo that he sets at the top end of the pitch and, whoever comes in, has to replicate that.

I am not saying that Rodrigo doesn’t work hard because he does but Gelhardt brings an intensity to the forward line which upsets the opposition and that could be nigh-on perfect for going to Norwich and trying to rustle up a victory.

Leeds now have Kalvin Phillips back which is huge and you see instantly the subconscious respect that team-mates give him because he is at the very heartbeat of the way that Leeds move about a football pitch when they are at their best.

You get the feeling that he is working his way into form and back up to full speed. I think there was an essence of that across quite a lot of the players in the second half at the Emirates.

But it is undoubtedly a huge boost having Kalvin back and it was a great boost to see Adam Forshaw back after such a long period of time out as well.

You get Kalvin back and then you slowly but surely get the rest of the lads back, Raphinha hopefully, Bamford and Luke Ayling.

It remains to be seen who Leeds have available for Sunday’s game at Norwich.

When you look at the fixtures in this league, some games look tougher on paper when you are playing against the ‘big boys’.

This one is eminently winnable - and has to be.

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Thank you Laura Collins