David Prutton, Sky Sports’ Championship expert, has shared his prediction for Leeds United’s upcoming game against Derby County, and suggested the gap between the two sides has widened since the play-off semi-final second leg.
The Rams travel to Elland Road on Saturday looking to record only their second win of the 2019/20 Championship campaign, and are tasked with doing so at a stadium where the Whites have taken four of a possible nine points this term (TransferMarkt).
Derby won on their last visit to West Yorkshire, though, with a then-Frank Lampard managed side overturning a first-leg deficit to progress into the play-off final at Wembley, where Aston Villa would beat them.
Life under Phillip Cocu is yet to see the Rams fare as well as they managed under Lampard, with the Pride Park natives drawing four of their opening seven league games, whereas Leeds top the table with five wins, one draw and one defeat.
The opening seven results of the season for each side have led Prutton to feel the gap between Leeds and Derby has widened in favour of Marcelo Bielsa’s free-scoring United, who head into the Saturday encounter with the second-most prolific offence in the second tier.
“Well well! Safe to say this is a fixture with a bit of recent history behind it,” the Sky Sports columnist wrote in his weekly predictions, as he backed Leeds for a 2-0 win. “We may not have Frank Lampard involved anymore, but after Spygate and that play-off semi-final, second leg there should be plenty of needle at Elland Road on Saturday.
“Leeds are top of the table heading into the weekend and the gap between themselves and Derby looks to have grown this season. I can’t see past this being a home win.”
The early-season form of either side would support Prutton’s inclination that the gap between Leeds and Derby has widened in favour of Saturday’s hosts, with the Whites not only boasting the second-most prolific offence, but also the best defence.
Bielsa’s men have shipped just three goals in seven games, a quarter of the amount they have hit at the other end of the field.
Leeds are managing their record by shutting down the opponent before they can test Kiko Casilla, with the Whites only allowing an average of 8.7 shots a game, and are recording an average of 19.7 tackles and 10.6 interceptions, per WhoScored data.
Derby, on the other hand, have shipped ten while scoring seven, having allowed an average of 15 shots on goal each league game this term, and rank as the second-worst defence for interceptions with 6.7.
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