The Whites are in search of their first win in the division since the turn of the year and Jesse Marsch will be hoping that their success in the FA Cup will give them the confidence they need to pick up all three points today.
Jack Harrison, Luis Sinisterra, and Junior Firpo all got on the scoresheet in a 3-1 win over Accrington Stanley last time, but the American head coach may not go with an unchanged XI in spite of the victory.
Here is how we predict the team will look when the news drops at 1pm…
Illan Meslier; Rasmus Kristensen, Maximilian Wober, Pascal Struijk, Junior Firpo; Tyler Adams, Marc Roca; Brenden Aaronson, Wilfried Gnonto, Jack Harrison; Patrick Bamford.
We predict that Marsch will make three alterations to his XI, with Struijk, Adams, and Gnonto all returning to the side to replace Robin Koch, Sam Greenwood, and Georginio Rutter.
At the back, the head coach will need to bring in a replacement for the suspended Koch and Struijk, who started at left-back in their last Premier League match, could come in to take his place alongside Wober and allow Firpo to start at full-back.
The Dutch defender has averaged a Sofascore rating of 6.89 in the top flight, which places him sixth in the squad, and this suggests that the gem is a reliable performer who is capable of stepping in at the heart of the defence.
In midfield, new signing Weston McKennie could be left on the bench after arriving less than a week ago and regular midfield pair Adams and Roca, who are both in the club’s top five performers on Sofascore ratings, could continue until the USA international is fully up to speed and ready to compete for a place in the XI, which also leaves Greenwood on the bench.
Marsch could also bring in Gnonto to start in the attacking trident behind the striker to replace Rutter. FFC published an article explaining why the young Italian should replace the fresh arrival from Hoffenheim, after the 20-year-old Frenchman’s difficult debut against Accrington Stanley.
Finally, the head coach must unleash Patrick Bamford in the number nine position after the news that Rodrigo is set to be out of action for around two months.
The £70k-per-week dynamo, who was once hailed as “outstanding” and “exceptional”, has scored three goals and provided three assists in his last five appearances for the club and this suggests that the attacker is on form and deserving of a place in the XI.