Leeds United and Bournemouth will both be aiming to steer themselves clear of the Premier League relegation zone when they lock horns at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon.
The two teams head into this encounter off the back of contrasting results last weekend, with the Whites securing a famous win at Anfield, while the Cherries were beaten in a five-goal thriller at home against Tottenham Hotspur.
After eight successive Premier League games without a win, including four straight defeats, the pressure was mounting on the shoulders of Leeds head coach Jesse Marsch heading into last weekend’s clash with Liverpool at Anfield.
However, the West Yorkshire outfit pulled off a shock result by beating the Reds 2-1, with Crysencio Summerville scoring a dramatic 89th-minute winner on just his second Premier League start to snatch all three points at the death and secure their first win at Anfield since April 2001.
That result helped Leeds climb out of the relegation zone and up to 15th in the Premier League table, just one point and one place behind Saturday’s opponents Bournemouth who have played a game more.
Marsch’s side will now be looking to improve their form at Elland Road, where they have lost eight games since the turn of the year, more than any other Premier League team. Two of those defeats have come in their last two home matches against Arsenal (0-1) and Fulham (2-3) towards the end of last month.
However, Leeds’ form on home soil against Bournemouth bodes well for Saturday’s fixture, as they boast a 100% record against the Cherries at Elland Road, winning all six previous home meetings and scoring 14 goals in the process.
Following the departure of Scott Parker at the end of August, Gary O’Neil made a bright start to his tenure as Bournemouth’s interim boss, winning two and drawing four of his opening six Premier League games.
However, the Cherries have since suffered three successive defeats, including the 3-2 home loss against Tottenham last weekend and they have subsequently slipped into the bottom half of the table.
A brace from Kieffer Moore put Bournemouth two goals in front at the Vitality Stadium, but a superb Spurs fightback saw the visitors snatch all three points, with Rodrigo Bentancur netting a 92nd-minute winner to complete the comeback in dramatic fashion and condemn the Cherries to their sixth league defeat of the season.
O’Neil has since taken the positives from their recent dip in form and the 39-year-old will be keen to see his side turn their fortunes around before the World Cup break, with Saturday’s trip to Leeds followed by back-to-back home encounters in the league and EFL Cup against Everton.
However, success at Elland Road could prove challenging for Bournemouth as they have won only one of their last 12 meetings against Leeds – a comfortable 4-1 home victory back in March 2014 when both sides were competing in the Championship.
Leeds winger Luis Sinisterra is ruled out until after the World Cup with a foot injury, while Stuart Dallas (leg), Adam Forshaw (ankle) and Archie Gray (foot) all remain sidelined.
Liam Cooper, Tyler Adams and Rodrigo were all doubts heading into last weekend’s game but the trio started at Anfield and they could retain their places in the first XI on Saturday.
Summerville will be hoping to keep his place on the left flank, while Wilfried Gnonto – who turns 19 on Saturday and was handed his Premier League debut off the bench last weekend – will be in contention for another run-out for Marsch’s side.
As for Bournemouth, goalkeeper Neto is set to miss the rest of this year with a thigh injury, so Mark Travers is expected to keep his place between the sticks.
David Brooks (thigh) and Lloyd Kelly (ankle) are also sidelined, although the Cherries are hopeful that the latter can return before the World Cup.
O’Neil used a 3-4-1-2 formation to match up with Spurs last weekend and he may decide to stick with this system against Leeds, with Marcus Tavernier and Jordan Zemura operating as wing-backs while Moore partners Dominic Solanke in attack.
Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Kristensen, Koch, Cooper, Struijk; Adams, Roca; Harrison, Aaronson, Summerville; Rodrigo
Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Travers; Smith, Mepham, Senesi; Tavernier, Cook, Lerma, Zemura; Billing; Solanke, Moore