Match: Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United
Date: 4th July 2020
Time: 15.00 GMT, 10.00 ET, 08.00 PST.
Venue: Ewood Park, Blackburn, Lancashire, England
Streaming/TV coverage: LUTV
Leeds United travel to a Blackburn Rovers side who were considered to be in with a good chance of making the playoffs, before consecutive 2-0 defeats against Wigan Athletic and Barnsley FC.
Leeds are still top of the league, but their cushion has dropped to one point following the draw against Luton Town. Blackburn are now down to 11th place - only five points from the playoffs but with a lot of teams to overhaul if they are going to get back into the top six.
As always with a manager not named Marcelo Bielsa in a press conference, this should be taken with a pinch of salt but Tony Mowbray has said that Blackburn could have seven starters unavailable against Leeds.
Tony Mowbray says he's probably got seven 'starters' unavailable. #rovers— Andy Bayes (@AndyBayes) July 2, 2020
Corry Evans and Joe Rankin-Costello could be out for the season. Lewis Travers, Amari’i Bell, Joe Rothwell and Derrick Williams are all also expected to miss out. This means that Blackburn are struggling for left-backs, meaning Stewart Downing could drop into that role, as could Charlie Mulgrew who has not been first choice at centre-back.
On top of this, striker Ben Brereton is suspended for three matches following his red card, just seven minutes after coming on against Barnsley.
Blackburn have been playing a 4-3-3, with former Germany international Lewis Holtby playing as a “false 9” up top dropping deep and forming a 4-4-2 Diamond at times. Holtby should be best placed to pick up the creative slack left by the long-term injury picked up by Bradley Dack in December. However, this has not been successful and I would expect Rovers to switch back to a 4-2-3-1 in order to be more solid against Leeds.
Leeds have injury doubts themselves. Liam Cooper went off with a dead leg, but it looked more serious than you would think and he could well miss out. Stuart Dallas looked to have a Hamstring problem when he went off, and even a low-level Hamstring injury is likely to be a few weeks.
This probably will mean Ezgjan Alioski in for Dallas at left back given the North Macedonia international’s good form since the return of football. If Liam Cooper doesn’t make it I expect Gaetano Berardi to start in his place.
Blackburn (4-2-3-1): Walton; Nyambe, Lenihan, Adarabioyo, Downing; Davenport, Johnson; Gallagher, Holtby, Armstrong; Graham
Leeds (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Ayling, White, Berardi, Alioski; Phillips; Costa, Klich, Roberts, Harrison; Bamford
Leeds need to win this game, a draw is not a disaster but it would be a disappointment.
Leeds seem to do better when I am more pessimistic, so screw it - 1-0 to Blackburn, from an xG of 0.2, Leeds will have an xG of 2.5.
What do you think the result will be? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @ThruItAllLUFC.