Sam Allardyce's inaugural game as West Bromwich Albion manager ended in dismay with a 3-0 home defeat to Aston Villa, and life did not get easier for the 66-year-old as his side faced a trip to champions Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.
However, the Baggies produced an inspired performance to stop the champions taking all three points in front of a 2,000-strong Kop, with Sadio Mane's opener cancelled out by Semi Ajayi's header as West Brom walked away from Anfield with something to show for their efforts.
Managing to hold Jurgen Klopp's men to a draw on Merseyside certainly has West Brom fans feeling optimistic about their chances of survival with Allardyce at the helm, with the Baggies boss renowned for his great escapes as West Brom look ahead to the New Year.
With Fulham and Burnley both failing to win over the festive weekend, West Brom are now only five points adrift of safety and three below 18th-placed Fulham, but the Cottagers are unlikely to be usurped in midweek given their superior goal difference.
Leeds United's decimated defence shipped six against Manchester United after putting five past Newcastle United a few days before, but Marcelo Bielsa's side got off to the perfect start against Burnley as Patrick Bamford's penalty put them 1-0 up within the opening five minutes.
The Clarets controversially had an Ashley Barnes equaliser ruled out after Ben Mee was deemed to have fouled Illan Meslier, and Bamford's penalty ended up proving decisive as Leeds returned to winning ways on their own turf.
Sunday's game was not one of the classic goal-laden performances we have become accustomed to seeing from Bielsa's men, but a narrow win over Burnley lifted Leeds back above Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League table.
Leeds will now be determined to record yet another clean sheet when they pay a visit to West Brom - with Bielsa's men recording shut-outs in all three of their away wins this term - and the Whites are yet to draw a league game on unfamiliar territory in the 2020-21 season.
Leeds managed to scrape a 1-0 win at Elland Road against West Brom in the 2019-20 Championship campaign, but the Baggies held Bielsa's side to a 1-1 draw on New Year's Day.
West Bromwich Albion Premier League form: WLLDLD
Leeds United Premier League form: WLLWLW
West Brom midfielder Jake Livermore serves the second of a three-game ban following his sending off against Aston Villa, but Matheus Pereira will hope to earn his first start since returning from a ban of his own.
Allardyce will certainly be reluctant to make many changes after taking a point off Liverpool, but tired legs may force his hand for the visit of Leeds this week.
West Bromwich Albion possible starting lineup:
Johnstone; Furlong, Ajayi, O'Shea, Gibbs; Sawyers; Phillips, Gallagher, Pereira, Diangana; Grant
Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Dallas, Ayling, Struijk, Alioski; Phillips; Raphinha, Klich, Rodrigo, Harrison; Bamford
We say: West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Leeds United
Both meetings between these two sides last season were closely-fought affairs, and that is unlikely to change here. Allardyce has vowed to shore up West Brom's defence - and their display at Liverpool proved that the Baggies manager is doing just that - and the hosts may fancy their chances against a makeshift Leeds backline. However, the Whites' intensity and pace going forwards should see them do enough to get over the line against a fatigued West Brom.
Top betting tip
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