Leeds United will be looking to recover from last weekend’s 5-1 defeat to Manchester United when they continue their Premier League campaign at home to Everton on Saturday afternoon.
The Whites found it difficult against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in their season opener, but Everton started life under Rafael Benitez with an impressive 3-1 victory over Southampton at Goodison Park.
Leeds impressed on their return to the top flight last season, picking up 59 points from 38 matches to claim ninth, just two points behind eighth-place Arsenal and three points behind seventh-place Tottenham Hotspur.
The Whites also ended the 2020-21 campaign in excellent fashion, losing just one of their last 11 matches, but there is no getting away from the fact that it was a tough match for Marcelo Bielsa’s side against Man United.
Luke Ayling actually equalised for Leeds in the early stages of the second half at Old Trafford, but Solskjaer’s team then scored four times without reply to make it a resounding win, and it will be fascinating to see what type of response there is from the former Championship side at Elland Road this weekend.
Leeds have signed both Junior Firpo and Kristoffer Klaesson this summer, while Jack Harrison has made a permanent move to Elland Road from Manchester City, and Bielsa admitted during Thursday’s press conference that the club are unlikely to make any more new signings in the current window.
The Whites have a busy end to the month, as they will take on League One outfit Crewe Alexandra in the EFL Cup next week before finishing August with a trip to Burnley in the Premier League; September will then begin with a home match against title hopefuls Liverpool.
Everton, meanwhile, fell behind against Southampton last weekend, with a mistake from Michael Keane allowing Che Adams to feed Adam Armstrong, who expertly picked out the top corner on his debut.
The Toffees struggled to get going for much of the first half against the Saints but equalised in the 47th minute through Richarlison, before Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dominic Calvert-Lewin both netted late on.
It was an incredibly important victory for the Merseyside giants in their first competitive match under Benitez, who will know that another positive result against Leeds would lead them nicely into their next two league matches with Brighton & Hove Albion and Burnley.
Everton have only acquired three new players this summer, bringing in Asmir Begovic, Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray, and it will be fascinating to see whether any more new signings arrive before the deadline.
The Toffees were excellent on their travels in the Premier League last season, boasting the fourth-best record, suffering just four defeats, and they recorded a 2-1 victory in the corresponding match in 2020-21.
Leeds United Premier League form:
Everton Premier League form:
We say: Leeds United 1-1 Everton
Leeds will be desperate to bounce back from their opening-weekend loss, but Benitez will believe that he can exploit the home side’s weaknesses on Saturday afternoon. We are actually predicting a tight affair in terms of the scoreline, with the two teams being made to settle for a share of the spoils at Elland Road.