Reading vs Leeds United – match preview

The Preamble

It had to happen all good things come to an end; some mediocre things do too. January finished with Leeds on an ‘unbeaten run’ of four games and fans full of hope, things were looking good – well better. Then Leeds slipped back into 2014 Vintage mode and put in an indifferent display against Brentford on Saturday just gone, losing a winnable game 1-0 to the Londoners. Leeds now face Reading in the reverse game after a 0-0 draw between the two teams at Elland Road on 1st October 2014. In the game at Elland Road, Leeds (16 shots – 1 on target) outshot Reading (14 shots – 4 on target). Reading come into this game on the back of a 2-1 victory over Wolves and have not lost in their last four games (3 wins and 1 draw).

Leeds’ last starting line-up [4-2-3-1 formation]

Silvestri (GK), Wootton (RB), Bamba (CB), Cooper (CB), Taylor (LB), Cook (DM), Murphy (DM), Byram (RM), Austin  (CM), Sharp (LM), Morison (ST)

Leeds United team news

Leeds United saw only one enforced change last time out, due to Giuseppe Bellusci serving the final game of a two-game suspension, recent loan signing Sol Bamba. Bamba has gone on to sieze his opportunity with two Man-of-the-Match outings. Leeds’ head coach, Neil Redfearn, confirms that there are a couple of niggles resulting from Saturday’s game. Leeds’ other piece of transfer window business, the signing of 6’4″ Albanian striker Edgar Çani came on for a 12 minute cameo and has asserted that he’s aiming to push for a start soon. Leeds fans are also crossing body parts hoping that their very own Brazilian meninho prodigio, Adryan, get the nod for a start soon in a formation more suited to his playing style as an archetypical Brazilian #10.

Leeds United away performances

Despite being ranked 20th in the Championship table with a total return of 32 points from their 29 games (1.10 points p/game), Leeds are ranked a place lower, in 21st-ranked place when considering their away form. Leeds have a return of 10 points from an available 42 points (23.80% of total points) on their travels. This is in stark contrast to their ‘home’ form which sees them ranked 15th in the Championship with 22 points from an available 45 points (48.90% of total points). Differences such as these help to mark out why Leeds are considered a ‘home team’ when it comes to gaining points. At home, Leeds have scored 16 goals and conceded only 12, a difference of +4 goals; away from Elland Road Leeds have scored 14 goals and conceded a total of 27, a difference of -13 goals.

Leeds’ last 5 away games: vs Huddersfield (1-2 win), vs Bolton (1-1 draw), vs Derby (2-0 loss), vs Nottingham Forest (1-1 draw), vs Ipswich (4-1 loss): 5 points from 15 (33% total points available); scored 5, conceded 9, goal difference -4.

Reading home performances

Reading sit in 13th place with 37 points from their 29 games (1.28 points p/game), whilst 7 places ahead of Leeds, they are only 5 points better off..At home, Reading have a 10th-placed ranking in the Championship with 24 points from an available 42 points (57.10% of total points) and at a rate of 1.71 points p/game. Reading have scored 21 goals at home , having 13 scored against them giving a goal difference of +8.

Reading last 5 home games: vs Sheffield Wednesday (2-0 win), vs Middlesbrough (0-0 draw), vs Norwich (2-1 win), vs Watford (0-1 loss), vs Bolton (0-0 draw): 8 points from 15 (53% total points available); scored 4, conceded 2, goal difference +2.


Reading vs Leeds – expectations?

With Leeds not being consistent away from home, I fear the worst. I know that results have been better away from home recently with the adoption of the new 4-2-3-1 formation but the last game against Brentford showed how frail Leeds can be if they are bossed out of the game. If you look at the ‘home form’ table (form over last 6 home games), Reading come in as the 16th-ranked team in the Championship with 8 points at an average of 1.33 points p/game. Looking at the corresponding ‘away form’ table, Leeds come in as 20th-ranked form team with only 5 points from their last 6 games (0.83 points p/game).

Attack-wise, Leeds have scored 14 goals away from home, marking 1 goal on nine occasions. Reading have scored 21 goals at home in 14 games, averaging 1.50 goals p/game, their most numerous amount of goals scored being three on 5 separate occasions. Defensively, Leeds have conceded 27 goals in their 14 away games. averaging 1.93 goals conceded p/game. Reading are the 6th-ranked Championship team at home conceding only 13 goals in 14 games, an average of 0.93 goals p/game.

The verdict? It pains me to say but I don’t see Leeds getting anything out of this game. Reading’s superior ability to score at home contrasted with Leeds’ goal-shyness on their travels marks this as nothing more than a win for Reading.

Prediction: Reading 2 – Leeds 1

Current match odds (from Sky Bet): Leeds 7/2, Draw 17/2, Reading 4/5; Reading 2 – Leeds 1  odds 15/2

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