Sheffield United vs Leeds United, 01 DEC 2018
Despite recent injury crisis, Leeds United travel to Bramall Lane after two wins in last two games, looking for a win which would bring them back to the top of the league. For a few hours at least. Sheffield United are two points behind Leeds in fifth place, and will certainly hope for another win against their local rivals, which would put them level with leaders Norwich.
Photo by Hawksworthm - English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder may filed identical starting eleven as he fielded on Tuesday night against Brentford. Leon Clarke is pushing for a starting place after scoring the winner away at Brentford, while defender George Baldock is back from illness, so Wilder will have the full squad to choose from.
Leeds United could welcome back influential defender Pontus Jansson, who missed last two games with a foot injury, while playmaker Samuel Saiz could be set for a start after halftime appearance in 1-0 win against Reading on Tuesday. Keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell is expected to retain his place between the posts, after returning to action in midweek win against Reading, and securing 3 points for his team with the injury-time penalty save.
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa is still without some first-team players, including defenders Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi, midfielder Izzy Brown and striker Patrick Bamford - all out injured.
With two teams separated by only two points, this match should be a proper old-fashioned Yorkshire derby match. With a win, either side would go to the top of the table ahead of the rest of the 3 pm games.
Two sides are in similar form at the moment.
Sheffield United was beaten only by Nottingham Forest in last six rounds, and that match was followed by two draws - scoreless draw in the local derby against Wednesday, followed by 2-2 away at Rotherham. The Blades ended their three-match winless streak by beating Brentford in midweek.
Leeds on the other hand recovered from the heavy 4-1 defeat at West Brom with two wins - 2-0 against Bristol City and 1-0 against Reading, and despite huge injury problems managed to collect valuable points which have kept them near the top of the table.
Man to watch: Billy Sharp
Sheffield United talismanic striker Billy Sharp played 33 games for Leeds United in the 2014/15 season and managed to score only 5 goals. However, he managed to score 6 goals in his last 4 games against Leeds, so keeping the striker quite in this match will be of huge importance for Bielsa's side in this match.
Head to head
Leeds United are without a win at Bramall Lane since 1992, and since then they played 8 games there. Blades are kind of bogey team for Leeds in the last several years, as they lost only once in last 11 games against Whites.
If we put head to head stats aside, this should be a match between two evenly matched sides. Leeds are not in best shape in the last couple of games, but they still were getting some results. With Jansson probably back to side, they should be more solid at the back, while Pablo Hernandez's decent form will be of huge importance up front.
Blades, on the other hand, scored 5 goals in the last two games, and seem to be in slightly better form, despite Leeds' two wins and two clean sheets in the last two games.
This match could go either way, but goals seem to be certain. Over 2.5 goals are priced 10/11 (1.91) at Betfred and Totesport, which looks like a decent price.