Reading v Leeds: Bielsa's boys to avoid the Berkshire blues
Promotion-chasing Leeds will be looking to grab a fourth successive Championship victory when they travel to Reading on Tuesday night. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter.
Reading v Leeds Tuesday November 26, 19:45 Sky Sports
Reading's unbeaten run ended by Bees
Reading's four-game unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday as the Royals suffered their first defeat under new manager Mark Bowen. The Berkshire outfit were beaten 1-0 at Brentford, conceding the only goal of the game just after the hour mark, and their Welsh boss rued his side's lack of quality in the final-third at Griffin Park.
"Overall, we had a lot of huff and puff, a lot of hard work, but that little bit of quality in the final third was lacking. Numerous times we went forward and you are thinking something is going to happen, but the ball wasn't as good as it can be" Bowen said. George Puscas spurned Reading's best chance but couldn't finish when through on goal.
The Royals had just one effort on-target all game and struggled to create a clear chance for an equaliser but went close in an injury-time goalmouth scramble. However, Bowen will need to shuffle his pack for Tuesday night with in-form right-back Andy Yiadom serving a suspension after collecting a fifth booking. Chris Gunter is expected to be recalled.
Leeds motor into second spot
Leeds moved up to second in the Championship on Saturday with a third win on the spin. The Whites were 2-1 winners at newly-promoted Luton, although Marcelo Bielsa's men required a stoppage-time own goal to seal top honours at Kenilworth Road as Matty Pearson put Mateusz Klich's cross into his own net after a touch from Patrick Bamford.
Bamford opened the scoring for his sixth goal of the season from Ben White's through ball, only for Luton to level proceedings just two minutes after the restart. Nevertheless, Leeds would have felt aggrieved had they not taken maximum points with home goalkeeper James Shea the standout star as the Whites enjoyed 75% possession and largely dominated.
Bielsa's boys registered 12 shots on-target, the club's highest tally in any Championship match since the Argentine arrived, and the Leeds boss said, "I think the result was fair, it was a good performance from the team In the first half, it was a little bit easier for us, but in the second half we had to fight a little bit more." Pablo Hernandez returned from injury to start.
Whites odds-on favourites in Berkshire
Leeds bagged a Championship double against Reading last season, triumphing home and away without conceding a goal. The Whites ran out 3-0 victors at the Madjeski Stadium in March with Pablo Hernandez bagging a brace and all three goals arriving before half-time.
Reading4.90 have registered 10 points (W3-D1-L1) from five fixtures since Mark Bowen took charge of first-team affairs, a sequence of results that includes three wins from three in front of the Royals fans. Preston (1-0), Millwall (2-1) and Luton (3-0) have all departed pointless as performances have shown a significant uplift since Jose Gomes' sacking.
Leeds1.86 are unbeaten since October's international break (W4-D2-L0) and the Whites have dominated the performance data metrics across the Championship campaign. No second-tier team is returning figures quite like Marcelo Bielsa's men, who top the Expected Goals (xG) charts with a 71% ratio, which rises to 75% when excluding set-pieces.
Bielsa's boys to keep things tight
Six of Reading's eight home outings have featured Over 2.5 Goals1.83, although peculiarly, only half have paid out for Both Teams To Score backers despite an average of 3.00 goals per-game seen at the Madjeski Stadium. The Royals have only fired four blanks thus far but Mark Bowen's men are amongst the bottom-third for chances created.
Leeds have leaked in back-to-back contests but still comfortably boast the division's best defensive record in terms of goals against and opportunities conceded. The Whites are allowing fewer than 0.40 Expected Goals (xG) from open play per-game on average and have shipped just six goals across their opening nine away days in 2019/20.
With little value in the visitors Match Odds price, it may pay to enterBetfair Sportsbook's Same Game Multi market where Leeds in the Double Chance market, alongside Under 3.5 Goals and the Whites scoring Over 0.5 Goals, is available at a very fair 2.00. Here, we're basically backing Leeds to win 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 or 2-1, as well as having the 0-0 and 1-1 draws onside.