Yorkshire giants Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds lock horns at Hillsborough on Friday night. Championship expert Mark O'Haire runs the rule over the encounter, picking out his best bets...
"Wednesday have delivered Over 2.5 Goals in all bar two of their tussles this term, as well as 9/14 (64%) at Hillsborough under the current boss."
Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds
Friday September 28, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports
Sheffield Wednesday climb into the top half
Sheffield Wednesday were worthy 2-1 winners at Aston Villa last weekend - the Owls' fourth victory in six - as they moved into the top-10 of the Championship standings. Marco Matias opened the scoring before Steven Fletcher secured the points following John McGinn's stunning equaliser for the hosts.
Wednesday's strong and confident back-three in their 3-5-2 system became a formidable back five when out of possession. Jos Luhukay's charges were well organised and defiant in defence but offered plenty of threat going forward with Adam Reach, in particular, performing superbly from the flanks.
Fletcher's match-winning exploits are likely to give him the upper hand in the battle with Atdhe Nuhiu to stop up front on Friday. Fernando Forestieri is back in contention after completing a suspension, while Sam Hutchinson is available again after recovering from injury. Kieran Lee and Joost van Aken remain out.
Leeds lose for the first time
Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa admitted he got his tactics wrong as the Whites fell to their first league defeat under his tutorship last weekend at home to previously winless Birmingham. The Argentine opted to play Kalvin Phillips in midfield rather than as a third centre-back to combat the Blues front two.
United conceded two goals in the first half hour against Garry Monk's side and Phillips was hooked for Stuart Dallas soon after. Despite an improved second half performance, a goal from Gjanni Alioski, and a late rally, the Whites were unable to get back on level terms.
The table-topping visitors head to Hillsborough without numerous front-line players through injury. Kemar Roofe is the closest to a return but may not be risked, while fellow striker Patrick Bamford, midfielders Izzy Brown and Pablo Hernandez, plus defender Gaetano Berardi will play no part.
Owls can cause rivals problems
Leeds have been chalked up as 2.305/4 favourites to secure maximum points on Friday night. Although last weekend's loss was the Whites' first reverse in the Championship this season, the guests were minutes away from an away day defeat at Millwall in their last road trip.
Marcelo Bielsa's men are sitting in the top three for the majority of performance data metrics, including returning a 68% Expected Goals from open play ratio, justifying their position as clear market leaders to win here. But United are missing a catalogue of key players through injury and are best left alone.
Sheffield Wednesday 3.3512/5 have collected 34 points from 21 games under Jos Luhukay's watch and remain unbeaten on home soil this term. The hosts are enjoying their joint-best start to a season since chairman Dejphon Chansiri took over the club and the Owls have enough offensive threat to cause Leeds problems.
Goals on the agenda
Despite averaging just 0.57 Expected Goals from open play per-game, Sheffield Wednesday are finding the back of the net with impressive regularity. The Owls have scored at least twice in five of their past six Championship outings, while six of their squad have already notched at least twice.
The hosts have been very profitable to follow in the goals markets since Jos Luhukay pitched up too. Wednesday have delivered Over 2.5 Goals in all bar two of their tussles this term, as well as 9/14 (64%) at Hillsborough under the current boss. Eight of the Owls' nine league matches have also delivered for Both Teams To Score backers.
Leeds arrive as the league's second-highest goalscorers with 19, only firing a blank against defensively-minded Middlesbrough. Six of the Whites' nine encounters under Marcelo Bielsa have crossed the Over 2.5 Goals whitewash and a repeat on Friday night looks the value bet at 1.981/1.
Mark's 2018/19 Profit/Loss
Staked: 30.00 pts
Returned: 37.30 pts
P/L: +7.30 pts
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.981/1 in Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds