Leeds United vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Leeds United go in search of a Premier League pick-me-up this weekend – and boy do they need it!
The Yorkshire club have taken many plaudits since returning to the top flight for the first time in 16 years.
Yet since the turn of the year they have been left to mull over back-to-back 3-0 defeats.
A loss at Tottenham on January 2 was as emphatic as the scoreline suggested but it was the context of the setback which followed by the same margin eight days later which really hurt.
That is because Leeds were embarrassed in the FA Cup by League Two outfit Crawley on Sunday – a result which was a real humbling for a strong side named by manager Marcelo Bielsa – probably the club’s worst result in the competition since the 1971 defeat to Fourth Division Colchester.
Now can they move on from last weekend’s belittlement?
This was the former Argentina manager’s first taste of an FA Cup shock, after far more mundane exits against Arsenal and QPR in Bielsa’s two previous campaigns since taking the Elland Road reins in 2018.
It was something neither he nor his players will be happy about and, by the time this encounter kicks-off, they will have had six days to stew and try and put it right.
In contrast, while they have had a week preparing, it’s a quick turnaround time for Brighton who put up a spirited midweek display at Manchester City, despite not being able to produce any Premier League highlights of their own.
They will be without Danny Welbeck and Adam Lallana once again at Elland Road, while it’s unclear if Aaron Connolly and Tariq Lamptey will be able to return.
On a brighter note, Yves Bissouma should return from suspension and Alireza Jahanbakhsh will be assessed ahead of what will be Brighton’s 301st top-flight fixture.
There could also be a place on the substitutes bench for Jakub Moder – the Polish international recent recruited by the Seagulls.
It will also be interesting to see if Percy Tau retains his place in the starting XI. The South African was handed his Premier League debut for Albion at City after they made seven changes from the side which knocked the lowly Welsh club out of the FA Cup.
Brighton are punching above their weight and have made real progress under boss Graham Potter but the form book is against them.
Not only are they without a win in their past nine top-flight matches, they are also without a victory in all 14 of their Premier League matches in January (drawn six, lost eight).
Leeds, who will be without long-term absentee Robin Koch and the suspended Kalvin Phillips after he picked up his fifth booking of the season during the defeat at Spurs, have identified several players in this transfer window but it remains to be seen if they strengthen.
Even if they do, no-one new will be signed in time for this game as the hosts try and address their deficiencies, the main one being the amount of goals they are conceding.
Can Brighton capitalise or can Leeds finally learn how to shut up shop?
The clubs have met 45 times in history – the first came back in 1960 in the former Division Two.
Surprisingly close it has been ever since too with 18 Leeds triumphs, 16 Brighton victories and 11 draws.
This will be their first top flight clash since May 1982 when Leeds won 2-1 at Elland Road in the then Division One.
Leeds also won their last meeting – in March 2017 – in the Championship thanks to a Chris Wood double, although it didn’t stop the Seagulls being promoted to the Premier League a few months later.
Until then, Brighton had won six straight matches against them, including a 2-1 success at Elland Road in 2015 when Bobby Zamora netted an 89th minute winner.
|Leeds United vs Brighton & Hove Albion||Leeds United Asian Handicap -0.50 @ 2.04|
|January 16, 23:00 (GMT+8)|
The SBOTOP Premier League betting odds make Leeds clear favourites – and I think that is justified so my prediction is Asian Handicap -0.50 @ 2.04.
The hosts can be backed 1X2, also @ 2.07, and the draw is on offer 3.35.
If you fancy Brighton to return home with the points, then how about 1X2 @ 3.45 and Asian Handicap +0.50 @ 1.86.
Goals are expected, judging by the odds on total goals 2-3 @ 2.06, 4-6 @ 2.75 and over 3.00 goals @ 2.00.
If there’s to be a re-run of their last meeting nearly four years ago – correct score 1-0 – the odds are @ 9.75.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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