♫ ♬ ♩ ♪ I’m dreaming of a Whites Christmas … ♫ ♪ ♬ Still searching for a present for that Leeds fan in your life? There’s a new definitive history of the club so breezy and enjoyable it’s almost as though the pages turn themselves: The Biography of Leeds United by Rob Bagchi, formerly of this parish. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll never before have seen a youthful Jack Charlton described as looking “like a Postcard Records bass player”. Highly recommended.
One change for Leeds United from the side named at Chelsea. Rodrigo comes in for the injured Robin Koch, with Luke Ayling expected to partner Liam Cooper in the centre of defence.
West Ham, who can go fifth tonight, make one change too, from the side sent out to face Manchester United. Said Benrahma steps up, with Arthur Masuaku missing out altogether following knee surgery.
Leeds United: Meslier, Dallas, Ayling, Cooper, Alioski, Phillips, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Klich, Harrison, Bamford.
Subs: Poveda-Ocampo, Roberts, Casilla, Helder Costa, Hernandez, Struijk, Shackleton.
West Ham United: Fabianski, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Coufal, Soucek, Rice, Fornals, Bowen, Benrahma, Haller.
Subs: Lanzini, Snodgrass, Dawson, Noble, Fredericks, Johnson, Randolph.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).
There’s no point trying to second-guess Leeds United. Going toe-to-toe with Manchester City and Arsenal. Admirable defeats against Liverpool and Chelsea. A second-half performance against Aston Villa that was as good as anything we’ve seen in this Premier League season so far. Consecutive 4-1 spankings against Leicester and Palace. They could win or lose this game by five tonight, or anything in between.
West Ham aren’t exactly predictable either. They were probably better in defeat against Manchester United last weekend than they were in victory over Aston Villa five days before. They’ve held Manchester City at home, trounced Wolves, tested Liverpool away, and recovered from three down with eight minutes to play at Spurs. They’ve also lost at home to Newcastle. They could win or lose this game by five tonight, or anything in between.
Marcelo Bielsa and David Moyes are very different types of manager, but they’re both getting a tune out of their squads. The Hammers are in better form at the minute, while Leeds have gone four without a win at home. Counterbalancing that: West Ham have only won on six of their 49 visits to Leeds, and haven’t won anywhere against the Peacocks in nine. Will ancient history or recent results prevail? We’ll find out after 90 minutes of rollercoaster football. It’s on!
Kick off: 8pm GMT.