Prepare for a feisty Yorkshire derby under the Hillsborough lights.
So, Leeds have finally lost in the league! Their 2-1 home defeat to lowly Birmingham City – for whom that was their first win of the season – came as a massive surprise, and it will prove to everybody else that Marcelo Bielsa’s men are mortal after all.
Their trip to a raucous Hillsborough will prove an extremely tough test; the Owls are unbeaten at home this season and have scored in all but one of their league matches - Jos Luhukay’s men will have a packed crowd behind them on Friday, and will want to inflict another blow on the league leaders.
Leeds were fortunate to emerge from their last away game with a 1-1 draw – this being courtesy of an 89th minute Jack Harrison goal – while Wednesday will be mightily buoyed following their impressive 2-1 away win against Aston Villa.
This should be a really entertaining match. We know the qualities Bielsa has brought to The Championship, but here have been recent signs of vulnerability from Leeds, and Wednesday – who have won four of their last six – will fancy themselves to get a result here.
Wednesday beat Leeds 3-0 in this fixture last year; I know it’s a totally different Leeds side, but home advantage in a highly-emotional derby such as this counts for so much.
I’m tipping the double chance of a Sheffield Wednesday win or draw – Leeds will be rocked by their shock home defeat to Birmingham, and a trip to Hillsborough will prove to be an extremely tough place to bounce back at.
If previous results are anything to go by, then you needn’t expect a dull affair. Both teams have scored in eight of Sheffield Wednesday’s nine league matches this season, and what’s more encouraging is the Owls are scoring goals from all over the pitch – six players have scored two or more goals for Luhukay’s men already – which removes any sort of reliance on a single goalscorer.
Leeds are the league’s second-highest goalscorers with 19, so everything is pointing towards this being an entertaining affair.
I’m backing both teams to score and over 2.5 goals to be scored in total.
My final tip is for Sheffield Wednesday to score first. Leeds have conceded first in three of their matches this season, and the atmosphere inside Hillsborough will be cranked up to maximum under the lights, which will hopefully inspire the home side to a good start.
While Leeds will look to emphatically bounce back from their Birmingham disappointment, Wednesday may smell blood, which should result in us enjoying a Friday night belter.