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How Leeds can get the better of Derby in playoffs

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Marcelo Bielsa’s men will face The Rams in the first-leg on May 11

Ipswich Town v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Leeds United have had a mixed season to say the least with tons of ups and downs leaving their fans on the edge of their seat.

There were times when The Peacocks looked certain to return to the English Premier League after more than a decade and there were times when they looked frustrating.

In the final seven weeks of the league campaign, it was the latter Leeds show as they only managed to secure seven points out of the possible 21 which saw them miss out on an opportunity to cement automatic qualification.

After finishing third on the league table with 83 points, the Whites will going to be involved in a tough playoffs where they will face Derby County, who finished on the sixth position with a big 3-1 win against West Bromwich Albion in their last match on Sunday.

Coming into the playoffs, many believe that regardless of the league position, Derby will be favourites considering they’ve lost just one match out of last 12 with six wins and five draws in it, which is considerably better than that of Leeds who have suffered three defeats in last four matches.

However, manager Marcelo Bielsa will be optimistic of his team’s chances against a side which they’ve already defeated twice in the league campaign this season. Many will wonder how a tired looking Leeds can achieve that considering their recent form in particular where they looked short of ideas.

The answer clearly lies in fragile Derby’s defense which can be unlocked if they are looked upon in a little detailed manner.

The Rams looked relatively weak on the left side of their defensive line where they are found wanting on more than few occasions in the league campaign.

In the previous both meetings between the teams, Leeds scored three of those six goals on that side which expose Derby’s weakness.

Another area which can be exploited from Leeds can be Derby’s aerial presence as the Whites registered four of those six goals against Derby on the high deliveries inside the box whereas three came from the header.

Another thing which can go in Leeds favour is their counterattacking approach as not only Derby have shown their weakness on the counterattack but Leeds have also had the most number of shots in the league campaign (791), 82 more shots than any other team in the division and 168 more than their playoffs’ rivals.

With those stats in view, Bielsa and his coaching staff will be optimistic that his players will be able to turn it around and secure a place in the playoffs final at the expense of the Frank Lampard’s men.