Wober misses out: Leeds United’s predicted XI to take on Southampton in Javi Gracia’s opener

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 18: Maximilian Woeber of Leeds United receives medical treatment for a shoulder injury during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Leeds United at Goodison Park on February 18, 2023 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

Javi Gracia has received the green light to lead Leeds United this weekend against Southampton after having obtained the necessary work permits.

Leeds head into a big game at the bottom of the table against Southampton, knowing that defeat would send them to the bottom of the Premier League.

All eyes are on Gracia as he makes his managerial fight for Leeds in what is hopefully the start of a journey up the table for a struggling team.

However, it’s not easy for Gracia and a handful of key absences don’t help either.

Leeds v Southampton Team News

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 05: Marc Roca of Leeds United fights for possession with Remo Freuler of Nottingham Forest during the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Leeds United at City Ground on February 05, 2023 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The 52-year-old was coy about Leeds’ injury situation in his first news conference, failing to address who was and was not available.

Assuming long-term injuries still exist, Stuart Dallas, Adam Forshaw and Rodrigo will all be out.

Marc Roca hasn’t played since Leeds’ defeat at Nottingham Forest, and neither has Liam Cooper, although he was fit enough to take over against Everton last time out.

Beyond that, Luis Sinisterra has a muscle injury and Pascal Struijk has been slow to recover from the concussion. Max Wober, meanwhile, was substituted against Everton at half time after appearing to injure his shoulder.

Will Grace keep Leeds on top?

Expected Leeds XI v Southampton

Given what we know above, we’re ruling out all the players who have struggled, with the exception of Cooper, who you hope is now fit enough to play after another week.

He enters the defense four ahead of Illan Meslier, joining Robin Koch at center back and replacing Max Wober, while Junior Firpo and Luke Ayling continue as full-backs.

Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie are likely to be Leeds’ midfield pivots if Roca is unfit, while a 4-4-2 system means Jack Harrison and Crysencio Summerville have the chance to play on the wide wing.

That pushes Willy Gnonto into a central role with Patrick Bamford, hopefully giving Leeds a greater threat from the box in a bid for more goals.

Quiz: Can you remember the last 15 results for Leeds United against Southampton before Saturday’s clash?


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