A place in the Championship playoff final is up for grabs as Elland Road hosts the return leg of this playoff semi final. The advantage is firmly with hosts Leeds, with Marcelo Bielsa’s men securing a much needed and well earned 1-0 first leg victory away from home. The Rams must overcome the first leg deficit and move to make playoff history if they want to keep their premier league hopes alive, since no side has ever overturned a home loss to qualify for the finals.
While the match itself was shrouded in some controversy, with the Rams claiming to have been denied a valid penalty call that could otherwise have turned the game on its head, Leeds were rather impressive in victory. The third-placed side, who only just missed out of the automatic qualification spots due to this patchy late season form which saw them take a point from the last 12 available, had almost looked dead in the water as a result of Bielsa’s demanding style. They responded in great fashion, earning a comfortable win over their mirror opposites, Derby.
Leeds vs Derby TIP – BOTH TEAM TO SCORE
Derby had had a mixed mash season until the latter stages, where the juggernaut picked up pace. With a chance in the playoffs looking unattainable, Derby went on an impressive streak to just about steal a march on sixth. They only lost one of the last 12 Championship matches as they managed to attain 6th on the final day. They did themselves no favors at Pride Park in the first leg of this round of matches, with Leeds managing to win by a solitary goal. They will need to overcome a patchy away record to make it into the final and earn a place in history.
History is strongly in Leeds’ favor, with the side finishing third having been unbeaten in the home leg of this playoff round for a decade. The streak (P8 W7 D1 L0) should continue at Elland Road. Leeds proved superior to Derby in the Championship this season, winning both ties of the regular season and last week’s first round win. Derby have also struggled against bigger opponents away from home, with the Rams only winning two out of five away games with sides that finished above them and ranking ninth overall in the league.
Derby will need to overcome their recent history with Leeds as well, with the Rams only winning 2 out of 9 previous games, with their last win at Elland Road coming in late 2017. They can channel their recent form, which has seen them outscore opponents 8 to 3 in the last five, hoping to see out a Leeds side that has been outscored 5 to 8 in that time.