This is a really big game in the race for the play-off places. The longer the season goes on, the more you are convinced that Gary Monk’s Leeds are the real deal and they look like very strong top six contenders now. Derby meanwhile are the side outside of the top six that looks most likely to gatecrash it, so this promises to be a good contest and it’s likely to be a tight game between two sides that are strong at the back.
Leeds are the slight favourites and when you look at their recent home form, it’s not hard to see why. They’ve won 8 of their last 10 in the Championship at Elland Road, with only Newcastle winning at the ground during that period. The defence has very much been the foundation for their success at home. Leeds have conceded only 0.69 goals per game at Elland Road this term. They’ve kept clean sheets in an impressive 46% of their home games and are bidding for their 5th consecutive home win to nil here.
Derby though will provide them with one of their sternest tests. The Rams have kept clean sheets in a massive 56% of their Championship games this season, conceding just 0.72 goals per game on average. Only leaders Brighton have a better defensive record than Derby and in a tough game like this, they are likely to set their stall out to be tough to break down, particularly after an uncharacteristic performance as they sank to a 3-0 defeat at Norwich last time out in the league. They responded well to that though by dumping top flight West Brom out of the FA Cup at the Hawthorns last weekend, so it was probably little more than a blip.
The bookies are having a hard time picking a favourite for this match and it could be a cagey affair, at least in the opening stages. There was only one goal when they met in the East Midlands earlier in the season and both teams have scored in only 40% of Leeds games and just 20% of Derby matches in the Championship this term. Given that, there looks to be value in backing Both Teams to Score – NO at 8/11.
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