EFL Championship

Leeds v Norwich: How to boost hosts' price up to 10/11

Daniel Farke - Leeds
Leeds are strong favourites at Elland Road

The Championship play-offs second legs get underway on Thursday with Leeds and Norwich locked at 0-0. Betfair writer Mark O'Haire is backing the Whites to reach Wembley.

Leeds v Norwich
Thursday May 16, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports

First leg deadlock

Leeds and Norwich meet for the decisive leg of their Championship play-off semi-final on Thursday after playing out a tense, cagey, goalless first leg draw at Carrow Road on Sunday. Neither side fashioned many goalscoring chances in Norfolk with the contest concluding with only three shots on-target and an Expected Goals (xG) output of just 0.76 xG.

Both teams limped into the play-offs, with Norwich winning just two of their final seven games to scrape into sixth, while Leeds managed just two triumphs in eight to blow their automatic promotion hopes. That poor form was reflected in a cautious approach by the two teams with Gabriel Sara and Sam Byram fluffing the best two opportunities.

Norwich were boosted by the return of Jonathan Rowe to the right-side of their attack, who returned for his first start since January following injury problems. Meanwhile, Leeds boss Daniel Farke made an unexpected change with Archie Gray replacing striker Joel Piroe, meaning a forward role for Georginio Rutter in the Whites' 4-2-3-1 system.

Match Preview

Leeds - Norwich
Leeds
  1. L
  2. W
  3. D
  4. L
  5. L
  6. W
Norwich
  1. L
  2. D
  3. L
  4. D
  5. D
  6. W
Full Stats Powered by Opta

Analysing the stalemate, Norwich boss David Wagner said, "It's a result I can totally live with. My team worked really hard, started on the front foot and were brave to get the crowd behind us. I know how good this result can be, so it's game on. Both teams neutralised each other, especially offensively, and I was fine with how focussed the players were."

Farke was also pleased with his team's efforts, saying: "In a semi-final over two legs, to get an away draw and a clean sheet, especially at a difficult ground, is always a good and solid result. I'm happy with the performance and the result. We wanted to be rock-solid and didn't allow them one chance. The longer the game went, the more control we had."

Wembley in-sight for Whites

Leeds 1.674/6 look a touch short on first glance but the Whites command plenty of respect at Elland Road. Daniel Farke's side posted W16-D5-L2 in front of their own supporters during the regular Championship season, including W7-D3-L1 when welcoming top-half teams - that sample includes 3-1 and 4-0 home victories over both Leicester and Ipswich.

The Yorkshire giants comfortably topped the performance data metrics at Elland Road, leading the way in both the Expected Points (xP) and Expected Goals (xG) charts. In fact, Leeds won the shot count, as well as the non-penalty Expected Goals (npxG) count, in 21 of their 23 Championship home fixtures, including a strong display against Norwich in January.

Norwich 6.005/1 have produced their best work at Carrow Road, claiming only six away triumphs on their travels this term (W6-D6-L11), including W1-D1-L4 when travelling to the top-eight. The Canaries kept only three clean sheets on the road and were ranked as a bottom-half dweller when viewing away season-long xP and xG ratings.

The visitors also come into this clash with a doubt over Josh Sargent's fitness and are therefore easy to oppose, even at the bulbous lines and prices. With that in-mind, I'm happy to support Leeds to win and Over 1.5 Goals at [1.91] with the Whites well-capable of rising to the occasion and producing a much higher ceiling than Norwich when it matters most.


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