Brighton & Hove Albion-Leeds United Preview

Marcelo Bielsa says Leeds United "respect and love" Ben White, who will face his former loan club on Saturday.

White spent 2019-20 on loan at Leeds from Brighton and Hove Albion, and played a key role in Bielsa's side winning the Championship and earning promotion to the Premier League.

Leeds attempted to buy the centre-back in the off season but Brighton declined several offers, with the 23-year-old eventually signing a long-term deal with the Seagulls.

White will be back at Elland Road this weekend with Brighton – who are without a win in nine league games – and Bielsa, whose side were dumped out of the FA Cup by minnows Crawley Town last time out, spoke of his admiration for the defender.

"Ben White has shown he's a Premier League player," Bielsa told a news conference. "All of us here, we admire him as a player. We respect him and love him as a human being. "He was an excellent professional as well as a team-mate and we hope his career allows him to grow as he deserves it."

Graham Potter, meanwhile, has no doubt that White will be fully committed to getting the better of Leeds on Saturday as Brighton aim for a much-needed victory.

"He can be proud of his time there. He helped them and they helped him. It was a perfect loan," said Potter. "He speaks highly of everything at Leeds United and is very respectful of how they helped him and progressed his career because it was a fantastic time for him.

"But he is our player now and I am sure he will want to try to get the points against them."

Leeds United – Raphinha

Since his first Premier League start for Leeds in November, only Patrick Bamford (36) has had more shots for the Whites than winger Raphinha (27), with the Brazilian having nine carries ending with a shot, five more than any other Whites player in that time.

Brighton and Hove Albion – Neal Maupay

Maupay has scored in three of his four league matches against Leeds, netting three times for Brentford in the Championship between November 2017 and April 2019, scoring home and away against Bielsa's Leeds in 2018-19.

• Brighton have dropped more points from winning positions than any other side in the Premier League this season (12).

• Leeds have lost their first two matches in 2021 in all competitions, 3-0 defeats to both Tottenham and Crawley, last losing their first three matches in a year back in 2014 under Brian McDermott, when they lost their first four.

• This is the first top-flight meeting between Leeds and Brighton since May 1982, a 2-1 victory for Leeds at Elland Road. Leeds have never lost at home against Brighton in the top-flight (P3 W2 D1).

• Brighton are winless in their last nine Premier League games (D5 L4), the longest current run in this season's competition.

• Leeds have conceded 33 goals in their 17 Premier League games this season – the Whites had only conceded 35 in their 46 Championship games last term.

Updated January 15, 2021

@STATS_Football