Premier League

Southampton-Leeds United Preview

New Leeds United boss Javi Garcia is not getting wrapped up in the nature of his contract at Elland Road, as he prepares to take charge for the first time against Southampton in a Premier League crunch clash.

The bottom two teams in the competition face off this weekend in a must-win match for both sides, as they look to stave off an increasingly difficult relegation probability.

Former Watford and Valencia boss Garcia, who succeeds Jesse Marsch at Elland Road, has signed a flexible deal with the Whites, but says he is not focused on what that means for his job at hand.

"I don't want to be here because I have a contract, or the club to have a difficult situation where they have a coach they don't want in the club," he said.

"It's better to be focused on the next game and that's my objective as well. I'm not worried about my future."

Opposite number Ruben Selles meanwhile has been handed the Saints job on a full-time basis after his interim stint, and he is insistent that he does not see his new contract as an audition for long-term security in the role.

"I have the job full-time, it's not an opportunity," he added.

"It's the Premier League, it's a challenge, it's a way to lead a great organisation into a good moment and that is how I am going to take it. I am already there, I don't need to prove anything."

The pair played out a draw in the reverse fixture earlier this season, drawing 2-2 in August.

Leeds - Patrick Bamford

The forward has endured two injury-blighted seasons since his first campaign back in the top flight with the Whites earned him England honours during 2021.

Seemingly back in the mix for good, he will be looking to add to his total against Saints. He has scored three Premier League goals against them, including his first ever strike in the competition while at Middlesbrough in May 2017.

Southampton - James Ward-Prowse

If he plays, this will be the midfielder's 329th Premier League game, equalling Jason Dodd for the most appearances in the competition by a Southampton player.

That's not the only record he could tie too. Following his goal against Chelsea last time out, Ward-Prowse (17) is just one short of David Beckham's Premier League record for most direct free-kick goals in the competition (18).

Leeds have lost just one of their 14 Premier League home games against Southampton (W7 D6) and are unbeaten in their last eight since a 1-0 loss in February 1998.

The Whites are however winless in their last 10 Premier League games (D4 L6), the longest current winless run in the competition. Only twice have they had a longer run without a win in the top-flight - 17 games between February-May 1947, and 14 games between December 1926 and March 1927.

Southampton are the only team whose Premier League games haven't seen a single penalty goal this season. The only team to go through an entire Premier League campaign without scoring or conceding a single penalty were Crystal Palace in 1992-93.

Leeds46.4 per cent

Southampton 26.3 per cent

Draw27.3 per cent

Updated February 24, 2023

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