Leeds v Norwich Saturday February 2, 17:30 Live on Sky Sports
Leeds record vital Rotherham victory
Mateusz Klich scored twice as Leeds came from behind to win 2-1 at Rotherham last weekend, cementing their position at the top of the Championship standings. The winner - arriving just four minutes from time - sparked pandemonium amongst away supporters and was no more than the Whites deserved after a dominant second-half display.
The overdue victory came on the back of a run of four defeats in five for Marcelo Bielsa's men and Klich's goals mean that Leeds are now the first second-tier side to score in each of their opening 15 away games within a single season since Blackburn way back in 1984/85. United's triumph also gave them a six-point cushion ahead of third-placed Sheffield United.
Bielsa gave a debut to on-loan Real Madrid goalkeeper Kiko Casilla at Rotherham and the Spanish stopper impressed between the sticks. Kalvin Phillips filled in at centre-back at the New York Stadium, although Pontus Jansson's return from suspension should see him return to midfield here. elsewhere, Stuart Dallas, Patrick Bamford and Gaetano Berardi are all out.
Norwich lose ground on league leaders
Norwich twice surrendered a lead when welcoming Sheffield United to Carrow Road last weekend with the Canaries only managing to claim a point apiece in an enjoying 2-2 draw as both sides lost ground on Championship leaders Leeds. Onel Hernandez and Teemu Pukkihad both given City an advantage but David Farke's troops were unable to hold out.
Free summer signing Pukki continued to excel. The Finland striker added a seventh assist of the season to tee up Hernandez for the opener, before bagging his 17th goal of the campaign 10 minutes after the half-time interval. And Farke admitted post-match, the stalemate was "a fair result" despite seeing Norwich win just once in six Championship outings now.
Argentinian playmaker Emiliano Buendia recovered from a dead leg to face the Blades and should keep his place at Elland Road. However, fellow midfielders Alex Tettey and Moritz Leitner are still rated major doubts as they both continue their rehabilitation, while Swiss defender Timm Klose remains sidelined by a knee problem which will not need surgery.
Hosts backed to clip Canaries
Leeds ran out comfortable 3-0 winners when the two teams met at Carrow Road back in August and the hosts have suffered a sole defeat in eight when welcoming Norwich to their Yorkshire base since 1994 (W4-D3-L1). The Whites may have lost three of their most recent five, but were imperious on their last home outing when brushing high-flying Derby aside.
Marcelo Bielsa's men are posting divisional-high figures across a range of performance data metrics this season - possession, Expected Goals, shots inside the penalty box - and have taken top honours in six of their last eight Elland Road encounters. The hosts have W5-D1-L1 against top-seven rivals and are fair 1.93 favourites to succeed on Saturday.
Since the end of November, Norwich have registered just four victories from 11 in the Championship (W4-D6-L1) as two of those triumphs came against struggling Bolton and Rotherham. The Canaries have W1-D4-L4 when taking on the top-seven this term, conceding at least twice in six of those nine meetings.
Entertaining encounter expected at Elland Road
Norwich have recorded just four clean sheets since October, although only three clubs have managed to keep the Canaries scoreless this season. Unsurprisingly, goals have therefore been a regular feature in the Norfolk outfits contests as 19/29 (66%) have seen both sides score, with an average goals per-game figure standing at 3.17.
Leeds have fired only two blanks under Marcelo Bielsa's watch in the Championship, and despite recording 11 shutouts across the campaign thus far, only two have arrived since December. With six of Norwich's nine duels with top-seven teams returning Over 2.5 Goals1.80 profit, another high-scoring match could be on the cards here.