Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds | Friday 28th September 2018, 19:45 | Sky Sports
After a period of just over five years without a competitive meeting, we can now safely say that Sheffield Wednesday versus Leeds United is a proper rivalry again with the two now facing-off in every season since 2012/13. Those encounters have returned a perfect of 4 – 4 -4 in terms of Sheffield Wednesday wins, draws and Leeds victories making Friday’s meeting a tough game to call!
Wednesday can call upon the services of the fit-again Jordan Thorniley once again. He was enjoying a run in the side prior to injury. The more experienced Daniel Pudil came in for the win at Aston Villa. An unchanged team is possible, but if a change was to be made, then a straight swap is likely.
Jos Luhukay must decide if he is to retain the new look 3-4-3 shape which worked so well at Villa Park.
Interestingly, Marcelo Bielsa used Wednesday’s pre-match press briefing to reveal that he will name an unchanged starting XI. This again means the likes of Gaetano Berardi, Kemar Roofe, Pablo Hernandez, Patrick Bamford and Izzy Brown remain out of action.
There had been a call to bring in Adam Forshaw in place of Mateusz Klich, but the Argentinian will keep faith with the XI that lost to Birmingham.
A tight first half anticipated
For all that Leeds proudly sit at the top of the Championship, they aren’t in the greatest of form. In all competitions, it is just two victories from their previous seven, and previously winless Birmingham just consigned the Whites to their first league defeat at Elland Road last weekend.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have certainly missed the creativity of Hernandez and the instincts of the reformed Roofe in attack.
Wednesday have been a little more hit and miss, but a home win under the lights here would take them joint-third for 24 hours at least. Jos Luhukay changed from his usual 4-3-3 in the away triumph at Aston Villa last time out, and it’ll be interesting to see if he retains that when Leeds come to town.
Tyler Roberts is no Roofe, and although he has done OK of late, he may struggle against a trio of Sheff Wed centre-backs, certainly in the early stages when both teams tend to find their feet.
Derby matches are commonly tight affairs with very fine margins. Four of Leeds’ nine Championship games so far has seen then level at the interval. Leeds full stop have drew two of their four away in the league as well.
All of Sheff Wed’s home matches have been close too. Two ended in draws, and the other two were slender 2-1 wins versus out-of-sorts Millwall and Ipswich, respectively.
Three of the most recent five between these two have been draws at half-time, which is why he think the 5/4 on the half-time draw with bet365 looks to be worthy of some interest.
Match to open up in second half
Whilst a stalemate wouldn’t be the end of the world for either side, the fans will certainly at least want their heroes to push to win. It is rare in any Championship game for any side to play for a point these days, given how ‘anyone can beat anyone’.
Sheffield Wednesday did do the double over Leeds last season, albeit a very different Leeds.
The Owls have scored in every game at home, and the same can be said of Leeds away. Of course, that will end at some stage, and often statistics and form heading into derby matches can be secondary, but they are very hard to ignore at the same time.
The stats do tell that both teams begin to be more expressive in the second half of their games. The average time Sheff Wed tend to score is the 47th minute, whilst for Leeds it is the 52nd.
The 9/1 from Paddy Power on the first goal occurring between 46th-55th minute is tempting, but to give us an extra five minutes, the 69/10 for 46th-60th from 188BET is very much a stats-based bet worth supporting.