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Match Preview: Leeds United vs Norwich City

Looking ahead to a make-or-break game of the season.

FBL-ENG-PR-LEEDS-ASTON VILLA
Jesse Marsch showing his frustrations at the dugouts.
Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images

Leeds United head into a critical match with relegation bound, Norwich City, on Sunday at Elland Road. The tension will be evident in the home stands to see the whites get a positive result.

Would anything but three points put a stamp on relegation?

Mathematically, the club has a way to confirm a relegation or remaining in the Premier League for that matter. But the way the team played against Aston Villa on Thursday, a draw or defeat would mean the trend of play has picked up where it left off with Marcelo Bielsa.

The sacking of the beloved manager was not received well by the fans, but it was the best possible way to reverse the recent poor play. Specifically, the goals against had been treacherous and the man-marking difficult to watch. The defenders looked lost and certainly had lost confidence in the manager’s tactics.

Jesse Marsch came to Leeds and passed the media tests early. He has great respect for his predecessor, the players, and the club. The way Marsch wants his club to play has similarities to Bielsa’s style, but still with differences that the squad must learn quickly.

The first match against Leicester City was extremely positive despite the result. Leeds was much better positionally and pressed in a more organized manner. The same issues resurfaced as the club has desperately missed a true striker at the top.

The xG favoured Leeds quite dominantly, but the finish was just not there.

Villa was similar in the sense that Leeds seemed to have the better of the early chances but could not capitalize. Once the ball was deflected by Pascal Striujk into their own net, the energy dropped.

The start to the second half was spirited but again could not find the back of the net. Marsch has shown that he can make the halftime adjustments, but these players do not have a fresh start as the new gaffer does.

All campaign, the players have endured injuries and untimely goals against. It is difficult to put that all behind facing a relegation. Marsch made several observations that the players were playing scared and afraid to fail the home crowd.

Will the moment be too much to overcome for this group at home against an opponent they should defeat?

With the way things were going before the change of managers and how the results have started with the new manager, a defeat or draw to Norwich would ultimately put the nail in the coffin.

The club would have plenty of opportunities to stay up, but it is difficult for this group to continue experiencing such defeat and heartbreak. The confidence must take a hit after some time.

The return of Kalvin Phillips and a full match from Patrick Bamford will lift the spirits down the stretch for sure. But it is time to put take three points from the matches and ensure a Premier League campaign next season.