Really looking forward to playing Leeds United. It just feels right them being in the Premier League (Like it would for Nottingham Forrest).
Its a tough game though to have for our first match.
This is what we should expect:
Expected formation: 4-1-4-1
Goalkeeper: Illan Meslier
One of the few positions which feels like it could be decided on the flip of a coin. Kiko Casilla is the more experienced and senior goalkeeper, but Meslier performed excellently while the Spaniard was banned at the end of last term.
Meslier is confident and proved himself on the pitch, while Casilla’s status within the squad after last season’s racism allegations poses question marks.
Right-back: Stuart Dallas
A role affected by the hole in the centre of defence. Dallas is expected to start the season in one of the full-back positions, but incoming deals will dictate which side.
The Northern Ireland international played much of the title-winning campaign at left-back and excelled, but as it stands, he would be needed on his more natural side because of the gap in the middle.
Centre-backs: Luke Ayling and Liam Cooper
With the departure of White and Gaetano Berardi out of contract, there are very few experienced heads to play alongside captain Cooper in central defence.
Ayling, the first-choice right-back, looks the simplest fit in the middle with the alternatives being under-23 regulars Pascal Struijk or Oliver Casey.
Left-back: Barry Douglas
This may be the most difficult to predict call Bielsa makes. With the shifting around mentioned above, it leaves a hole at left-back for someone out of favour to start the season.
Douglas is the most natural fit, but Ezgjan Alioski, a tireless winger Bielsa has moulded into a full-back, is also a favourite of the head coach’s.
In the Championship, Alioski would have been the expected option here, but in the top flight, with more defensive work to do, there is every chance Bielsa opts for Douglas, who is better in his own half.
Defensive midfielder: Kalvin Phillips
A fans’ favourite and arguably the team’s most important player. Will be incredibly important going to Anfield in breaking up attacks and supply to the champions’ front three.
Right-wing: Helder Costa
Started all but five league games since late September. Ended the season with injury, but already spotted in pre-season training looking fine.
Central midfielders: Mateusz Klich and Pablo Hernandez
Klich had a run of 92 consecutive league starts ended in the penultimate game of 2019/20 after a few days of celebrating promotion. He is nailed on.
Hernandez’s minutes were managed during the run-in because of a nagging hamstring injury, though he still delivered goals and assists from the bench. If he proves his fitness, he starts.
Left-wing: Jack Harrison
Like Klich, Harrison started more than 60 league games in a row until he was pulled in the penultimate match of last season. Will have plenty of defensive work to do with Trent Alexander-Arnold attacking down his flank.
Striker: Patrick Bamford
Even if United bought a new striker between now and the start of the season, many would be surprised if they started ahead of Bamford, such is Bielsa’s liking and loyalty to him. Misses many chances, but plays a crucial role in the way the team plays.
Source of information