Brighton vs Leeds | Saturday 1st May 2021, 15:00 | Amazon
Brighton missed a huge opportunity to all but secure their Premier League status for next season after a shock defeat to Sheffield United last weekend.
They face another Yorkshire side this weekend as they host Leeds United. They defeated Leeds at Elland Road in January, and a win here would surely clinch league survival.
Brighton have only won two of their home games this season so they surely can’t be touched to win this outright at 6/5. Such a price is garnered from their excellent performance data at both ends of the pitch, but their inability to score goals and win football matches is the reason they are 17th.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men do travel in good form as well, without defeat in six and winning at table toppers Manchester City in their last away game. They have taken points off Liverpool and Man United since then, too.
We saw last weekend against United just how physical this Leeds side is. They are averaging 19.3 tackles per game in the league this year, which is the most in the league, and this total rises to 19.6 away.
Last weekend, for all their tackles and interceptions, they picked up four cards, three of which came from cynical challenges to prevent United attacks. We could see a similar pattern here at the Amex.
Leeds have picked up 2+ cards in 10 of their last 14 matches which is some going. I like the look of 20+ Leeds booking points at 1/1 with Sky Bet.
They have averaged 1.9 cards per game over the last 14 matches, hitting 20+ booking points in 10/14. They have picked up 26 cards in this sequence, as many as they did in their first 19 games.
Brighton’s opponents have seen 20+ booking points in all of their last four games.
Referee Chris Kavanagh is the referee on the South coast, and he has officiated three Leeds games this season, all away from Elland Road. He has given them 2, 2 and 3 cards in these games, so a repeat would see 20+ booking points land.
Kavanagh has blown his whistle for multiple Leeds fouls in this sample. 16, 14 and 16 fouls to be precise. Last weekend, after Kavanagh sent off West Ham’s Fabian Balbuena (since overturned), Leeds captain Liam Cooper criticised the official on Twitter – saying it was a shocking decision.
He misses out through suspension, but the captain will be Luke Ayling. The right-back has been carded six times this season, and twice already by Kavanagh and I fancy another here, best price 7/2 at either Sky Bet or William Hill.
- Ayling has six cards to his name, 33% of which have come from Kavanagh’s pocket. (Everton and Leicester – Away)
- He was booked against The Seagulls in January, and in his last visit to the Amex Stadium.
- He is Leeds’ second most carded player, but only 7th for fouls committed – suggesting his cards come for more cynical fouls, not for frequent offences.
- 5 of Ayling’s 6 cards this season have been the first in the match, suggesting 11/1 with Bet365 for him to be booked first is worth some attention.
- In fact, 8 of his last 9 cards have come in the first half.