Leeds vs Wolves | Monday 19th October 2020, 20:00 | Sky Sports
Leeds host Wolves on Monday night with eyes on the Champions League spots, a perhaps accurate reflection of the unpredictability within the Premier League this campaign.
The two sides are equally matched when looking at the underlying statistics. The number of shots taken is a marginal difference, with Wolves averaging 11.5 per game, compared to Leeds 11.25. Although it’s statistics like these that can be deceiving and that’s where the xG stat comes into play.
Having played Liverpool and Manchester City in their opening four fixtures, Leeds have accumulated an xG average of 1.44 per game, with the Manchester City match doing wonders to drastically bump up that overall average.
The visitors have become toothless in front of goal and their xG output is a fairly accurate representation of their struggles. Wolves xG average of 0.9 is only better than the two relegation battlers, West Brom and Burnley.
Wolves four goals thus far have come from just 12 shots on target, a 33% conversion rate. Whilst that may come across as clinical, such data is likened to sides struggling at the bottom and Wolves will need to see an upward trajectory in terms of chances created if they are to challenge the European spots.
In a Premier League that has exposed porous defences and equally infectious attacking moves, Leeds have been at the forefront of that motive. Marcelo Bielsa’s newly-promoted side have particularly impressed with their fearlessness going forward, while their defending leaves much to be desired. Their high press often exposes them to counter-attacks and Wolves are one team you shouldn’t present that opportunity too.
A deficiency in Leeds’ game last season was being vulnerable to set-pieces and with the increase in quality from dead-ball situations, Leeds have struggled. Of their eight goals conceded, five of them have come from a set-piece situation (a corner, penalty or free-kick).
Wolves are a stronger unit physically than Leeds and an avenue the visitors could look to exploit is from set-pieces with their aerial advantage – 50% of Wolves’ goals have come from headers.
Wolves defensive record last season ranked them in the top two for xG Against (xA) with an average of 0.98 conceded per game. If you marry that statistic to the one in this campaign then you will see an alarming drop-off in their defensive output.
Wolves have an xA average of 1.76 across their four matches so far and while a large proportion of that statistic would have come in the defeats to West Ham and Manchester City, their levels to keep out the opposition will need to see an improvement if they are to keep Leeds United out.
Last season, Wolves had a particularly strong record against newly-promoted sides – W4-D1-L1 and having already beaten Fulham, that record has seemingly carried over to this campaign. However, Leeds are a completely different proposition to The Cottagers so I wouldn’t advise on backing a Wolves victory at 19/10 with SkyBet.
Perhaps a market to stray away from in this contest is the cards market. There are two very disciplined sides on show tonight and this is demonstrated with the number of yellow cards accumulated thus far – Leeds United (4) and Wolves (3)
The betting angles
Referee David Coote has the whistle for this clash, who averaged 3.18 cards per-game last season, and has given an average of 6 cards per-game in two Premier League matches this campaign.
While the two sides are ranked lowest for the most yellow cards, the ref clearly doesn’t hesitate to caution players. This is something I wouldn’t back personally, although Coote’s record prior to this fixture leaves some food for thought.
Leeds are very dangerous going forward and the contest is likely to be open, and if you couple that with Wolves defensive troubles and Leeds obvious attacking threat then a bet on the goalscoring market is the way to go in this one. Leeds to score 2+ goals is a tasty 11/8 with SkyBet.
Having previously spoken about Wolves using their aerial advantage from set-pieces in this contest, perhaps a bet on the corner market is something that takes your interest. In their four matches this season, Wolves have averaged 4.5 corners. I like the look of over 4 Wolves corners and both teams to score at 7/4 on bet365’s Bet Builder tool.
If Leeds continue their impressive early-season form and given Wolves struggles in front of goal, then I fancy a victory for Marcelo Bielsa’s men and they are a priced at a tempting 11/8 with SkyBet to do so.