Leeds United will be in early action this weekend in the Championship as they welcome West Bromwich Albion to Elland Road. When these two sides last met, the Baggies ran at The Hawthorns, winning 4-1. However, with Izzy Brown looking as close as ever to a return, he could be set to outdo Darren Moore’s goalscoring machine, Dwight Gayle.
The clash between two of the Championship’s biggest sides could send shockwaves throughout the Championship. Both sides are in the hunt for the automatic promotion places, and between the two of them, Norwich City and Sheffield United, nothing is guaranteed. For both this clash and the rest of the season, Brown and Gayle will be key to their respective sides and we’ll be comparing them here.
When Izzy Brown was signed in the summer by Marcelo Bielsa, a lot of fans were left scratching their heads. The Chelsea man was signed on a season-long loan, yet when he put pen to paper he was mid-way through the recovery process of a torn knee ligament that he sustained whilst on-loan at Brighton, and faced a number of months on the sidelines.
However, the attacker is now almost back to fitness after a number of blows along the way, and with Bielsa having to do without Kemar Roofe, the addition of Brown now has come at a key time. The brilliance of the situation is that no one knows what to expect from Brown, he has previously been a demon in the Championship, yet under Bielsa’s instruction he could reach even high levels, and the question marks over his level of performance make him a dangerous prospect.
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Whilst the unpredictability of Brown is something that Darren Moore will be worrying about, he’ll be losing no sleep over the hitman he’ll be deploying in Gayle. The on-loan Newcastle man knows the Championship inside out and finding the back of the net in England’s second tier is Gayle’s bread and butter. In his 88 Championship outings, the striker has bagged 52 times, and the numbers don’t lie.
In the reverse fixture of this clash at The Hawthorns, Gayle stepped up to add insult to injury when he added the Baggies’ 4th of the game to make the scoreline 4-0, although Pablo Hernandez grabbed one bag for the hosts. If Gayle gets going then he’ll be a menace to stop, yet you’d think Bielsa has learnt his lesson after the way the on-loan Newcastle man has been firing this season.
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Whilst what you see is what you get with Dwight Gayle, a reliable goalscorer at this level who’s a strong addition to any promotion chasing side, the unpredictability of what Brown could bring to this Leeds side surely makes him the bigger danger heading into this clash. The Whites will be the favourites for the clash and if they have Brown to rely upon then it will be an interesting watch for the neutral and a nervy one for the Baggies.