The battle to avoid the drop from the Premier League took another twist on Thursday night and Leeds United will be hoping that it does so again on Friday evening when they head to Molineux to take on Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Leeds sit four points above the relegation zone after their win last weekend but two sides below them have enough games in hand to overtake them so the Yorkshire club dare not lose here. Wolves still haven’t given up on European football next season so there is plenty at stake here.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League channels. The build-up show begins at 7pm with the match itself kicking off at 8pm.
A lot of credit has to go to Wolverhampton Wanderers for the season they have put together. I still wonder if it can be sustained because a lot of their metrics don’t point to them being as good as their league position suggests and I guess we saw that a few weeks ago when they lost three on the spin, but to their credit once again they have come back and won their last two matches. In terms of the race for Europe I think they are going to need to rely on others to falter and make sure they take advantage if they do but however this season ends it is a positive one for them.
If you were being critical of this Wolves side it is that they don’t score enough goals. What disappoints me when I watch them is that they have some wonderfully creative players but their goal contributions are nowhere near as high as you would expect. If they can just get those players to produce on a more consistent basis then we know defensively they are fairly tight even allowing for their xGA being much higher than the number of goals they have conceded.
This will be a good test for Leeds United. They are clearly undergoing a pretty big change after the sacking of Marcelo Bielsa. It was important that they got a win under Jesse Marsch to avoid the pressure piling up on him as an unknown coach in England. That came at the weekend against Norwich City but there has to be a concern at how unconvincing it was on the scoreboard with them needing a very late goal to win the game.
The one thing you would say is that there looks to be a more organised approach to Leeds under the American. That doesn’t mean they are not conceding goals still, they haven’t kept a clean sheet under him yet, but they don’t look like conceding every time the opposition had the ball which was beginning to become the case towards the end of the Bielsa reign. If they can begin to keep clean sheets then they still have enough at the other end to win matches.
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Wolverhampton Wanderers have been rocked by the news that Pedro Neto has suffered another foot injury which will keep him out of this match. Nelson Semedo and Ki-Jana Hoever are also missing but Hwang Hee-chan is available.
Leeds United are boosted by the news that Kalvin Phillips has recovered from injury and could be available in this match. Liam Cooper is another who may be available while Patrick Bamford should be good for a longer role. Rodrigo faces a fitness test though.
I’m expecting a low scoring game here. I don’t see Leeds United being anything like as entertaining and certainly not as expansive as they were under Marcelo Bielsa and even under him matches between these two were pretty tight. Wolverhampton Wanderers won both meetings last season 1-0 and that would have been the score earlier this season at Elland Road had Leeds not been awarded a penalty deep into injury time to make it 1-1.
Wolves are pretty organised defensively but light in attack. Even when they play well offensively they squander a lot of chances and Leeds could certainly be described as wasteful in front of goal as well. I think there will be more of a structure to Leeds from now on and when you consider that a point after a win last week wouldn’t be the worst result in the world I fancy this will be quite a tight game. I’ll back that trend of under 2.5 goals between these two to continue.
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