Elland Road entertains a firecracker of a fixture between Leeds United and Derby County on Saturday.
Both teams come into the weekend clash with the aim of gaining a tighter grip over playoff positions – one that Leeds will be most desperate to clinch.
After all, it’s fair to say that last May’s playoff defeat to the Rams was one that the hosts won’t have forgotten quickly.
So much so, that our Leeds vs Derby predictions are wagering in the Whites favour to do exactly that.
Whether they sink last season’s demons and return to the Premier League is anyone’s guess. You can read ours in our 2019/20 Championship season preview.
Leeds vs Derby predictions
The tables have well and truly turned ever since Derby’s last visit to Elland Road. Leeds now sit atop the Championship table and look to be tightening their grip.
None more so evident than in their 2-0 victory over Yorkshire rivals Barnsley.
It was a last-gasp effort from Bielsa’s men. But one more so of determination to come away from the game with the win in hand, rather than a desperation to avoid defeat.
And it was the Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah who was instrumental in Leed’s sixth consecutive away win. The 20-year-old was sent on with 20 minutes to go when the game looked as if it was destined to end goalless.
This despite the fact that Patrick Bamford was still on the pitch. The 26-year-old twice drew saves from Brad Collins. Yet Bamford was unable to penetrate the Barnsley back four.
But from the onset of his introduction, the England international was hard to contain. From a direct style of attacking, to creativity on the flanks, it was no surprise when Nketiah netted from a Kalvin Phillips free-kick.
The Leeds attacker now has four goals in six games and is clearly on the path to success under Bielsa. Will his recent performances be enough to grant him a start against this weekend’s opponents?
Our Leeds vs Derby predictions wagers that it would be worth a shout. Especially given that the current league leaders will be facing a side still looking for their first win of the season. In the eyes of many Leeds fans, the opportunity could not be more perfect to put Nketiah in the starting XI.
It’s a potential inclusion that will be worrying Phillip Cocu to no end. His side capitulated against Brentford two weeks ago. A 3-0 scoreline was capped off for the Bees with an attacking display that Derby could not nullify.
Against Cardiff City last weekend there were more promising signs. A 1-1 draw at the Pride Park saw the likes of Jack Marriot and Martyn Waghorn come close to ensuring the points went to the visitors.
But amidst Video Assistance Refereeing mishaps, crossbar frustration, and ruled-out goals, a draw was how the evening ended.
They face a side this week who will punish any lapses in concentration, who are ruthless in front of goal. The stage is set for Leeds to secure another win atop the table.
Leeds vs Derby Head To Head
Unfortunately, the head-to-head stats only fuel our Leeds vs Derby predictions.
Indeed, it’s telling that the Rams most recent playoff pick over Leeds was their only victory over Bielsa’s men in the last five clashes in this fixture.
From defeat in the first-leg of May’s playoff semifinals to conceding eight goals in the three clashes proceeding, all evidence points to another defeat.
True, last February’s 2-2 draw was a completely different side of Derby. Despite the fact that they do have the talent in their arsenal to emulate that performance, Leeds just happened to be the in-form side.
In all essence, this fixture comes for Cocu’s men at the wrong time.
Leeds Team News
Bielsa’s men don’t come into the weekend clash without injury problems.
For starters, Adam Forshaw’s health is a big concern at Elland Road. The midfielder has been managing a minor hip injury ever since the Whites won 2-0 against Wigan Athletic.
Yet, with Forshaw being such a crucial player to the Argentine’s plans, Bielsa may sideline him for the game against Derby.
Aside from the Englishman, there is considerably more positive news. The return of Luke Ayling provides Bielsa with the kind of headaches most managers don’t mind sustaining.
With Stuart Dallas performing just as well as Ayling’s understudy, it’ll be interesting to see whether the latter is allowed to reclaim his place in the squad.
Derby Team News
Cocu does have some cause for optimism ahead of this weekend’s clash – the return of Duane Holmes.
The USA midfielder had a recurrent muscle injury to blame for his absence in the preseason. It was a repeat of the same knock that saw him sidelined from the squad in the latter stages of last season.
Yet in the brief moments Holmes has been fielded, he’s impressed.
Against Cardiff City last moment, the 24-year-old was an attacking livewire, causing the Bluebirds defensive havoc.
Deployed in an attacking midfield role, Holmes was able to truly come into his own. None more so evident than in his role in Scott Malone’s early goal.
With his raw pace and direct style of attacking, expect the Leeds back four to cave.
Leeds vs Derby Betting Tips
The Whites look as if they’ll be edging the betting markets, given the odds they’re wagering at in our Leeds vs Derby predictions.
Indeed, Bielsa’s men are operating as 2/25 odds-on favourites in our Leeds vs Derby match bets. Meanwhile, their opponents are tipped as 6/1 underdogs.
Considering that a draw is forecast at 37/10, there is more safety in punting on our projections – one that Leeds will play into fruition on Saturday.