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Leeds vs Aston Villa predicted XIs: Team news as Jack Harrison explains Jesse Marsch’s ‘Rangnick-inspired’ tactical shift

By Ben Green

Leeds vs Aston Villa predicted XIs: Team news as Jack Harrison lauds Jesse Marsch's 'Rangnick-inspired' tactical shift

Published: 15:58, 9 March 2022

Jesse Marsch will look to win his first game as new Leeds manager when his side welcome Aston Villa to Elland Road in the Premier League on Thursday (7.45pm kick-off, UK time).

The American tactician succeeded the much-beloved Marcelo Bielsa in West Yorkshire at the end of last month, but his debut game in the dugout ended in defeat as Leicester ran out 1-0 victors at the weekend.

The former RB Leipzig coach will be hoping his side can respond immediately and break his duck before the pressure really starts to build. Villa, though, have proven a hard nut to crack under Steven Gerrard, so this will not be a straightforward showdown by any stretch of the imagination.

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Leeds team news vs Aston Villa: Tyler Roberts out for the season

Marsch’s misery was compounded at the King Power after Tyler Roberts ruptured his hamstring tendon which has ruled him out for the rest of the season. In more positive news, though, Patrick Bamford returned to the bench on Saturday and will be hopeful of playing some part in this contest. Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips remain sidelined with respective thigh issues, but Diego Llorente should return here, allowing makeshift centre-back Luke Ayling to scuttle back out wide.

Despite the defeat and that long-term injury sustained by Roberts, Marsch would have taken a lot of positives from their visit to the King Power. Leeds had plenty of chances, registering 14 shots to Leicester’s four, and Jack Harrison believes the club’s tactical shift from Bielsa’s hard-wired 4-2-3-1 to Marsch’s 4-2-2-2 — a system synonymous with Man Utd interim manager Ralf Rangnick, whom the American worked alongside at Leipzig — could get the best out of his ability.

He told BBC Radio Leeds: “When he came in, the sporting director Victor [Orta] said it perfectly, he’s the perfect man for the job with all of his characteristics and what he brings as a manager and a person – I think it’s exactly what we need in this moment.


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“With the change in formation and the change in tactics, I’ve been asked to play in a little bit of a different role – which I am excited about. I grew up playing in a more central role as a No. 10 so bringing back some old memories from when I was a kid is nice.

“I really enjoy playing in that system and I’m hoping to see a more improved Jack Harrison, score more goals and have more impact on games but at the same time continue that work ethic and determination defensively to get the job done.

“I’m excited to see what’s going to happen, I’ve got a good relationship with Jesse and I’m really excited to be working with him.”


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Predicted Leeds XI vs Aston Villa:

  • Meslier; Ayling, Llorente, Struijk, Firpo; Koch, Dallas; Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison; James. (4-2-2-2)

Aston Villa team news vs Leeds: Lucas Digne and Ezri Konsa return

Lucas Digne and Ezri Konsa were both absent for Villa’s thumping 4-0 win over Southampton at the weekend, but Gerrard has confirmed the duo have since returned to training and should be set to feature on Thursday. Marvelous Nakamba, though, remains sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury.

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Predicted Aston Villa XI vs Leeds:

  • Martinez; Cash, Chambers, Mings, Digne; McGinn, Ramsey, Luiz; Coutinho; Watkins, Ings. (4-3-1-2)

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