Leeds come into this game off of a mightily impressive handling of Reading in their last away match, handing them a 2-0 defeat thanks to goals from Luke Murphy and Sam Byram. Leeds were impressive in that game and easily held and contained a Reading team higher in the table than them. Since the start of 2015, Leeds have played 6 games and have 3 wins, 2 draws and only 1 loss; they have picked up 11 points from a possible 18.
Leeds’ last starting line-up [4-2-3-1 formation]
Silvestri (GK), C Taylor (LB), Bamba (DC), Bellusci (DC), Wooton (RB), Cook (DM), Bianchi (DM), Mowatt (LM), Murphy (CM), Byram (RM), Morison (ST)
Leeds United team news
Liam Cooper, Leeds’ captain and central defender is still out of the team with a dead leg and is rated as ‘doubtful’ whilst one Leeds player definitely out is midfielder Tommaso Bianchi who has possible ACL damage and could be looking at an extended stay on first the treatment table, later the sidelines. Coach Neil Redfearn is hopeful that both Rodolph Austin and Gaetano Berardi will be available for selection after missing the game against Reading due to illness.
Leeds United home performance
Leeds are currently 17th in the Championship table with 32 points (1.17 points p/game), after a run of 3 wins in a four game span, punctuated by a lone 1-0 defeat at home against Brentford. However, if you take only Leeds’ home form into account, Leeds are ranked #14 in the Championship with a return of 22 points (1.47 points p/game) from their 15 home games. In these 15 games, Leeds have scored 16 goals and conceded 13 to leave them with a +3 goal difference at Elland Road. If you look at the ‘home’ form table (last 6 games), then Leeds are ranked #18 in the Championship with 2 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses in their last 6 home games, bringing them a return of 7 points from a possible 18. Leeds United also have the #20 ranked home attack averaging 1.07 goals p/game and the #3 ranked home defence in the Championship, allowing only 0.87 goals p/game.
Leeds’ last 5 home games: vs Brentford (0-1 loss), vs Bournemouth (1-0 win), vs Birmingham City (1-1 draw), vs Wigan (0-2 loss) , vs Fulham (0-1 loss): 7 points from 15 (47% total points available); scored 2, conceded 5, goal difference -3.
Millwall away performance
Millwall currently occupy 22nd place in the Championship, the last relegation place, with a season’s total of 30 points (1.00 points p/game) but they have put together a series of decent results of late. Whilst languishing in 22nd place in the league, if you only consider Millwall’s away form then they are the #12 ranked team in the Championship with 17 (1.13 points p/game) of their total of 30 points coming on their travels away from the New Den. On their travels, Millwall have scored 12 goals but conceded 20 goals to leave them with an ‘away’ goal difference of -8. Form-wise, over the last 6 away games, Millwall rank #9 in the Championship with a record of 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses – this gives a return of 10 points from 18 with them scoring 6 goals and conceding 9 goals, a difference of -3. Millwall have the #19 ranked away attack in the Championship scoring 0.80 goals p/game and the #10 ranked away defence conceding 1.33 goals p/game.
Millwall last 5 away games: Birmingham City (0-1 win), Nottingham Forest (0-1 win), Blackpool (1-0 loss), Norwich (6-1 loss), Brighton (0-1 win): 9 points from 15 (60% total points available); scored 4, conceded 7, goal difference -3.
Leeds United vs Millwall – expectations
Leeds are building a rightful reputation as being a ‘team to beat’ and will be buoyed by the recent upturn in fortune that the new 4-2-3-1 Double Six formation has brought about. The defence is more solid of late and looked extremely organised against a decent (on paper) Reading attack who they more than capably handled. With Leeds controlling matters more in midfield, this is allowing them to stifle more of their opponents attacks at source and it is also allowing them to mount rapid counter attacks. It will be a bear pit atmosphere on Saturday at Elland Road and Leeds will be cheered on by a fiercely partisan crowd. This game has all the hallmarks of a true blood and thunder encounter and one, with the teams being separated by five places and five point, that takes on the clichéd ‘6-pointer’ status; for both teams it becomes a ‘must win’ encounter.
The verdict? I am quietly optimistic about this game and don’t see Millwall overcoming Leeds United on their own patch. I don’t think Leeds will run away with the game but I do think that they will nick it with at least a single goal advantage.
Prediction: Leeds 2 – Millwall 1
Current match odds (from Sky Bet): Leeds 11/10, draw 12/5, Millwall 12/5; Leeds 2 – Millwall 1 odds 8/1