Leeds look to cut Forest down to size.
This Championship season is bloomin’ fantastic! Two points separate the top six; four points separate 7th and 16th – it’s just a classic, frantic Championship season. I love it!
Leeds United and Nottingham Forest are right amongst the action: the hosts sit top of the pile, above Middlesbrough and Sheffield United on goal difference, while Forest are four points behind them in 7th.
But what on earth does the league table mean at this stage? There is so much more football to be played, and I am itching to find out the next twist in this wonderful-yet-horrible league.
Marco Bielsa has made quite the impression at Elland Road, and although many naysayers are confident in their assertion that Leeds will run out of steam, their quality thus far has been undeniable.
Aitor Karanka’s Forest are a little less swashbuckling than their hosts, but a good side nonetheless, and will give Leeds a really good game on Saturday afternoon.
Ultimately, I see this one ending as a stalemate. Forest have kept three clean sheets in their last four away matches, while Leeds have just three wins in their last nine. Karanka is one of the best mangers at getting results away from home: two wins, four draws and just one defeat is brilliant going in The Championship – this including a 2-0 win at The Riverside against Boro – and their trip to Yorkshire could be a similar story.
You’ll get a great price for backing a draw, so that’s what I’m going for.
I’ve gone a little out-of-the-box for the anytime goalscorer market – I’m plumping for Mateusz Klich.
The Polish midfielder has been an integral part of Bielsa’s system, but he has another key string to his bow: goals.
He’s netted against Stoke, Derby, Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn this season, which is a mightily impressive return from the middle of the park.
I’m backing him to score another cheeky goal.
Karanka has more than a shade of Tony Pulis about him – on the pitch, anyway – and this is reflected in how he approaches football matches: avoiding defeat appears to be the most important target.
In their away matches against Middlesbrough, Blackburn and Swansea, Forest found themselves going into the half-time break at 0-0.
I like the look of this market, so my final tip is for the score to be 0-0 at half-time.