These are the most exciting times at Leeds United in many, many years. Snatching a late draw away at Newcastle kept play-off dreams strong, whilst today’s opponents, Wolverhampton Wanderers, saw their faint top 6 hopes come to an end after a two-nil home defeat against Brighton. Will they have any fight left in them at Elland Road?
Playing for the future
Friday’s results for both clubs were pivotal in setting the tone to the remainder of the season. Leeds’s heroic defensive displays at St. James’ Park earned a vital point which could prove more than convenient as the season nears its end with 6th place Sheffield Wednesday only one point back and 7th place Fulham now only three points behind the Mighty Whites.
@GarryMonk "We need Elland Road rocking on Monday, we need you to pack it out and get us over the line, every point is crucial now"— Leeds United (@LUFC) April 14, 2017
Wolves however, are not looking up, but down. They are only 8 points above the relegation zone and with their remaining games involving teams such as Derby, Huddersfield and Preston, gaining the points they need won’t be easy. Every game counts for them now.
At stake then are the points that could decide which division these two clubs could be plying their trade in next season. While Wolves seem likely to stay up, Leeds hope to leave them behind come August.
The two clubs last met at Molineux in October 2016, and United were victorious thanks to an unanswered Kemar Roofe goal. It was his first goal for Leeds. Since that date, Wolves Manager Walter Zenga has been replaced by Paul Lambert in November with Wanderers lying 19th in the table at that time.
In January, Wolves made 3 signings: Duckens Hazon, Helder Costa, and Ben Marshall, with Andreas Weisman arriving on loan. The combination of signings and Paul Lambert’s arrival improved matters for awhile. Their league placing improved after going on a good run in the Spring, highlighting that Wolves could prove difficult for the Whites as they try to keep breathing space between themselves and the chasing pack.
Leeds, meanwhile, have progressed from 10th that day up to 5th... for now.
Wolves Player to watch
Keeping hold of Helder Costa, making his loan permanent in a £13million deal with Portuguese side Benfica, has proved vital in an otherwise dismal season for Wanderers fans. Costa is their current top scorer with 12 whilst his assists total 11. They missed his influence in their two recent defeats but, should he play Monday, will prove a handful for Leeds United’s back line.
Other Notable Fixtures
Brighton (1st) vs. Wigan (23rd)
Ipswich (15th) vs. Newcastle (2nd)
Derby (8th) vs. Huddersfield (3rd)
Reading (4th) vs. Rotherham (24th)
QPR (17th) vs. Sheffield Wednesday (6th)
From 43 games at Elland Road, Leeds have taken the honours on 25 occasions, Wolves 8 with the remaining 10 games drawn.
From their last 5, Leeds have won 2, lost 2 and drawn 1.
In their last five, Wolves have won 3 and lost 2.
Leeds United vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
EFL Championship Fixture
Elland Road, Leeds, England
LUTV, BBC Radio Leeds, International Listings
Monday, April 17th, 2017
7:00am PT / 10:00am ET / 3:00pm BT
Leeds United’s predicted starting XI
Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, Bridcutt, Phillips, Roofe, Hernandez, Pedraza, Wood
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ predicted starting XI
Lonergan, Coady, Batth, Hause, Doherty, Saiss, Edwards, Weimann, Cavaleiro, Marshall, Bödvarsson
Wolves are looking over their shoulder and actually needing a win. Leeds are looking over their shoulder and also need a win. League positions don’t lie at this point in the season, and so United are the more capable side of the two. Chris Wood is still on fire and the fans will answer Garry Monk’s call to get Elland Road rocking.
Leeds will be too confident and too strong for Wolves. 2-0 Leeds: Wood and Doukara.