Football Tips: 3 for glee with Leeds poised to dominate against stuttering Stoke

Leeds are getting nervy but they should have enough to beat Stoke.

MarceloBielsaJul19

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Thursday evening’s clash between Leeds and Stoke (17:00) has massive implications at both ends of the Championship as the races to win promotion to the Premier League and avoid relegation to League One continue to heat up. Both Leeds and Stoke have enjoyed something of a mixed bag since the return of the Championship and both will be keen to improve their records at Elland Road on Thursday.

For Leeds, it has been a somewhat frustrating return to football. Marcelo Bielsa’s men looked to have recovered from a damaging defeat to Cardiff with an impressive win over Fulham, but they have since dropped points at home to basement side Luton and will be anxious to avoid a similar result against Stoke.

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Michael-O'Neill-Stoke-manager

Leeds (-1)

Leeds’ win over Blackburn last time out has ensured they have some breathing room for the run-in, but they can ill afford any slip ups with Brentford breathing down their necks. Stoke, on the other hand, will be full of confidence after thrashing relegation rivals Barnsley 4-0 at
the weekend.

However, the Potters’ performances prior to that left a lot to be desired, losing convincingly against Middlesbrough and Wigan and rescuing a late point against Reading.

Michael O’Neill’s side have yet to face anyone in the top half since their return to competitive action and haven’t played anyone near Leeds’ calibre. It is unlikely that they will come away with anything from Elland Road and their Championship safety could be thrown into further doubt by 7pm on Thursday evening.

Patrick Bamford to score anytime

In terms of goalscorers, Leeds have options all over the pitch, but Patrick Bamford is by far the safest bet to find the back of the net. Bamford comes in for his fair share of criticism from Leeds fans, but he is by far and away their top scorer this season, bagging nine more goals than anyone else this season.

In Leeds’ two crucial wins since the restart, Bamford has struck the opening goal within the first 10 minutes to lay the foundations for potentially season-defining victories and Leeds will need him on song in the remaining five games of the season if they are to make sure of their place the Premier League next term.

Under 9.5 corners

Whatever happens on Thursday night Leeds will dominate the ball. Their win over Fulham aside, they have enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in almost every game they have played this year. However, if Leeds do strike early as they have done against Fulham and Blackburn, don’t expect them to have too many corners.

In both games, Leeds won just four corners since they had less impetus to force the issue. When chasing the game against Luton two weeks ago, on the other hand, Leeds had a whopping 17 corners.

That stat is not particularly surprising given that they were chasing the game and applying a huge amount of pressure on Luton. It was the same story in their defeat to Cardiff in the first game back after lockdown.

Stoke, for their part, can’t expect to have too many corners since they will be without the ball more often than not and opportunities to get balls into the box will be thin on the ground. It all points to a low corner count on Thursday.

Tips for Leeds v Stoke on Thursday 17:00

Leeds (-1)
Patrick Bamford to score anytime
Under 9.5 corners

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