Leeds v Derby Friday December 11, 19:45 Live on Sky Sports
Leeds aiming to end losing streak
After winning seven games on the spin, Leeds are now on a three-match losing streak across all competitions. A home defeat to Hull and a loss at Nottingham Forest could show signs of the predicted fatigue, before a reverse at QPR in the FA Cup when fielding a much-changed XI.
Even so, Marcelo Bielsa's side remain two points clear of the pack as promotion rivals have also stalled in recent weeks. The Argentine boss has said that he's been happy with performances; an early red card against Forest was perhaps to blame, whilst the Whites just couldn't find the back of the net against Hull.
Leeds have only lost two of their last 17 Championship games at Elland Road (W11-D5-L2) and will undoubtedly be keen to bounce back to winning ways here. Bielsa made six changes against QPR and such tinkering should ensure his front-line favourites return ready and rested for Friday night's fixture.
Derby making a habit of draws
Derby, like Leeds, haven't been on a great run of form and have just one win in their last six games (W1-D4-L1) to show. The Rams have clearly drawn too many games in that sequence but, admittedly, they did face some strong opponents, such as Southampton, Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest.
Scoring goals hasn't been problem in that run and Frank Lampard's side have notched nine times in their last five games. In fact, County have scored two or more goals in 11 of their 26 games this season as their array of attacking talent, including Jack Marriott, Mason Mount and Harry Wilson, have excelled.
There are some fitness doubts over Wilson, however, with the Liverpool loanee not taking part in the Rams 2-2 draw with Southampton in the FA Cup. Duane Holmes, who was signed from Scunthorpe in the summer, has been impressing in Wilson's absence, potentially softening the blow if the Welshman is unavailable.
Whites odds-on favourites to excel
Leeds comfortably dispatched of Derby at Pride Park, beating them 4-1 in the reverse fixture earlier this season, and it was a game which highlighted the Yorkshire sides' title intentions. You can back them as 1.84 favourites for this one.
Derby have only lost two games against the current top six this season (W3-D3-L2) and the Rams are backable as 4.50 outsiders on Friday night.
In the last six games between these two teams, Leeds have won two, Derby have won two and they've drawn two. It's generally a close encoutner when these two cross swords, so it wouldn't be a surprise for this game to end all-square at 3.85.
Goals expected at Elland Road
Derby have seen Over 2.5 Goals 1.76 land in 14/26 (54%) of their Championship games this season and Leeds have seen Over 2.5 Goals come to fruition in 13/26 (50%). With both these teams desire to get forward, I think it's likely that we'll see goals in Yorkshire on Friday night.
However, Under 2.5 Goals has landed in 8/13 (62%) of Leeds' games at Elland Road and with a couple of Derby's attacking threats not fully fit, there's potential this could peter out into a low-scoring affair. Despite the concern, price dictates here and so supporting goals holds most appeal.
Mark O’Haire says: Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.76 in Leeds v Derby