Everton-Leeds United Preview
Marcelo Bielsa is not surprised Leeds United's Championship champions are impressing in the Premier League, insisting they were not sentimental in building a team for the top flight.
Leeds approach Wednesday's game against Everton just four points behind the Toffees after back-to-back wins.
Bielsa's side edged past Newcastle United but were then brilliant against Leicester City, dealing a big blow to their opponents' title hopes.
With Rodrigo and Raphinha injured, Leeds ended the Leicester match with 11 players they had used in the second tier.
However, Bielsa explained he kept these stars knowing they could perform in the Premier League.
"Clearly, the level is totally different," he said. "In the Championship, we played to be the best.
"At this level, we have to make a massive effort to be able to keep up, to look like our opponents, to not let them be superior to us.
"But when the club decided to build the squad for this campaign, all the players that were conserved, they were conserved because we thought they could live up to the expectations of playing in this league."
Their next test is against an Everton side who suffered a surprise setback on Saturday in a home defeat to struggling Newcastle United.
"I was a little bit surprised because in the last period we showed good consistency, good spirit," manager Carlo Ancelotti said.
"How can we keep this? By working day by day on this. There is no other way, but we have to understand that this season is really peculiar."
Leeds United - Patrick Bamford
Striker Bamford scored one and created the other two against Leicester City, meaning he now has 11 goals and four assists in 20 Premier League games this season. Tony Yeboah (17) is the only Leeds player to have been directly involved in more goals in his first 20 games for Leeds in the competition.
Everton - Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Everton need Calvert-Lewin to rediscover his best form. The England striker scored 10 goals from 29 shots in his first nine league games this season for a conversion rate of 34 per cent. He has since netted one from 19 shots, a five per cent conversion rate.
- Following their 1-0 win at Goodison Park in the reverse fixture, Leeds are looking to complete their first league double over Everton since 1990-91, when they were also a newly promoted side.
- Everton have only won one of their past 37 top-flight away games against Leeds (D9 L27), winning 1-0 in November 2002 thanks to a Wayne Rooney goal.
- Of the 45 sides Everton have faced at least 10 times away from home in top-flight history, their lowest win rate on the road is against Leeds; the Toffees have won just three of their 49 visits to Elland Road (six per cent - D12 L34).
- Leeds have won all three of their midweek Premier League games this season (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), scoring 12 goals and conceding three.
- Everton have won four of their past five away league games (D1), including each of the most recent three in a row. They last won four consecutive top-flight away games in December 1985.
Updated February 1, 2021