* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
Once you’re outside the top six, and above the bottom three, the only difference in the Premier League is perception. Right now, Leeds are just five spots and 11 points ahead of Burnley – but plenty will consider Leeds to be revolutionary in their approach to their first season back in the top-flight, while Burnley have done very little to convince people that they’ll contribute going forward. But, the reality isn’t quite that straightforward.
If Leeds continue to play in that fashion, there’s every chance some of their wins won’t translate and teams who were foolishly open and allowing them to dictate with quick switches and dazzling runs, will now sit back against them and watch them scratch their heads.
Saturday May 15, 12.30pm
BT Sport 1
Burnley produced as many shock results as Leeds this year, but didn’t quite have the brazen nature to keep the foot on the accelerator. For all that this is a Lancashire/Yorkshire clash, it’s little more than an exhibition. But, very often these late-season exhibitions are when philosophies come to the fore.
And for that reason, I think Sean Dyche’s side might actually hold the aces. So, here are three shrewd positions to take on what I’m christening the Chris Wood derby.
Burnley are the masters of schedule manipulation and management. They know where their opportunities lie to take points and I’d argue Leeds are the antithesis to this, in that they could not care less who they’re playing – they’ll be doing the exact same thing. It’s admirable.
Now with the shackles removed and the desire for points not quite paramount, I believe you’ll see a relatively open game of football that brings the quality in both sides to the fore. Remember, Leeds have scored two more times than Chelsea this year, with a game fewer played. Backing them to score is always wise.
There’s a number of players in this Burnley line-up that could be departing the club in the summer, least not Dwight McNeil, who you could genuinely have made a case to be on the subs bench of the Team of the Year.
But, backing an away side in a game that doesn’t matter makes no sense to me – nor does the pricing. Yes, Leeds are probably the bigger attacking threat, but remember that the only difference between the two sides when they last met was a fifth-minute Patrick Bamford penalty.
I hope this game is the one that makes people realise that Burnley have been somewhat transformed this season and that the narratives around them are now not just exhausted, but incorrect.
I love Leeds largely because of the sheer neck of their full-backs bombing forward at every possible opportunity. They don’t always have midfielders quick enough to cover those spaces, and that generally is the source of them shipping goals.
McNeil is at the centre of a bidding war between Man United, Arsenal and *checks notes* Aston Villa, and this would be the ideal stage for him to make Burnley a few more quid in the transfer market.
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