Three aspects of Crystal Palace's tactical game plan for Leeds United to look out for at Elland Road

In the latest of a new series for the Yorkshire Evening Post, Jon Mackenzie takes a deeper look at Leeds United's next opponents - Crystal Palace.

By Jon Mackenzie
Sunday, 7th February 2021, 4:30 pm
Crystal Palace celebrate in the Premier League. Pic: Getty
Crystal Palace celebrate in the Premier League. Pic: Getty

In many respects, Crystal Palace offer something of a parallel to Leeds United.

They’ve had some poor results against top sides but have also pulled off enough results against the sides around them that they’re sitting comfortably in mid-table.

Last time around, Roy Hodgson’s Palace got the rub of the green in an impressive 4-1 win for them down in London. Leeds will be looking to reverse that result tomorrow as they did with Leicester City last weekend.

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Here are three aspects of Roy Hodgson’s system to look out for at Elland Road on Monday evening:

Different system

For most of the season, Roy Hodgson has been playing a 4-4-2 system which shifts in possession into a 4-3-3.

This allowed him to play Wilfried Zaha as a wide forward on the left and push Andros Townsend into space on the right when Palace are on the ball.

Recently, though, Hodgson has shifted to a 4-2-3-1, presumably because he prefers it as a means of fitting Eberechi Eze in the same XI as Zaha.

With Zaha definitely missing the game this evening, will Hodgson stick with the 4-2-3-1? Or will we see him revert to the 4-4-2?

Eze the danger man

Of any fanbase in the Premier League, Leeds fans will know the threat that Eberechi Eze poses. Not only has he run Leeds ragged at times in the Championship, he also scored a free-kick in the earlier fixture this season.

Last time these two teams faced each other, Hodgson set his team up smartly and caused Leeds problems.

Lately, Leeds have been taken apart by direct ball carriers and Hodgson will have noticed that. Eze picking up the ball and running directly at Leeds players could well be a threat this evening.

Wide spaces

After three years of Marcelo Bielsa, we all know how his team attack.

Building up through the full-back areas, Leeds look to move the ball into the feet of wide players who can then help the ball into the box.

One thing Palace did well last time was to commit players wide, close Leeds down in wide areas and smother the build-up.

Leeds will have to progress the ball much better than they did at Selhurst Park if they are to get the win tomorrow.