Derby County vs Leeds UnitedEnglish Championship, KO: 17:15 May 11, 2019, Pride Park
DERBY County clash with Leeds United for the first time since “Spygate” and it will take place in the pressure cooker of the English Championship playoffs.
Marcelo Bielsa admitted to spying on a Derby training session prior to their previous meeting, so the spying scandal should add an extra bit of spice to this playoff semi-final.
In the bookies eyes Derby are the least likely of the playoff sides to reach the promise land of the Premier League and that is reflected in the Rams being priced at 12/5 (Ladbrokes) for a home win on Saturday evening.
After being pipped to automatic promotion, Leeds are slight favourites with most bookmakers to be promoted via the playoffs and as such are 7/5 (Bet 365) favourites to take a semi-final first leg advantage away from Pride Park.
However, the Whites are without a win in their last four games and have only won four of their last 12 games away from Elland Road. For all of the fabulous football Leeds have played this season they do appear to be showing signs of burnout, which may be attributed to the high demands of Bielsa's high-pressing style of play.
Derby, on the other hand enter the playoffs having only suffered one defeat in their last 12 games. The Rams charge to the top-six went to the wire last weekend against West Brom, but Frank Lampard's side held their nerve to preserve their place in the playoffs.
In beating the Baggies 3-1 last Sunday highly rated Harry Wilson scored his 17th goal of what has been a superb season. The Welsh winger on loan from Liverpool has an eye for goal and is regularly capable of the spectacular from distance.
Furthermore, Wilson scored from the penalty spot last time out so he could be a shrewd bet to net anytime at 7/2 (Paddy Power)
Wilson won't be the only man the Whites will have to watch out for, with the likes of Martyn Waghorn and Mason Mount having both reached double figures for Derby this season.
The visitors themselves have an abundance of attacking talent and although playoff encounters are traditionally quite tense affairs, this could be a rare exception.
Leeds will look to score at Pride Park, but in doing so the Rams could pick them off. In addition to that Derby and Leeds were two of the Championships top scoring sides, so there could be profit from having a punt on Both Teams To Score at 10/11 (Ladbrokes)
Both of these teams found the net at Pride Park when they met earlier in the season and although Leeds have defeated Lampard's side home and away in the league, I suspect that may change in this playoff semi-final first leg.
Leeds look lethargic and the Rams are on a roll. Therefore an eye-catching angle to consider is to take Derby Draw No Bet at 6/5 (BET 365)
This English Championship match between Derby County and Leeds United will be played on May 11, 2019 and kick off at 17:15