Newcastle go in search of three on the bounce against Leeds after finding form
Leeds 1-1 Newcastle
Newcastle flew out of the traps in their win over West Brom at the weekend, scoring inside 20 seconds – the quickest goal so far this season.
They had to fight hard to secure a late victory, but three more points meant back-to-back league wins for the first time this season, something which will have pleased manager Steve Bruce.
He will have been particularly happy at the long-awaited return of Dwight Gayle, who scored the winner having come off the bench with only 20 minutes to go. The return of important players is crucial entering into the busiest period of the season.
Leeds, for all of their impressive football, are not currently finding the results needed to propel them up the table, currently sitting in 14th place.
The fact they sit above Arsenal says a lot about the Gunners performances this season, but Leeds have lost three of their last five matches and face Manchester United next weekend.
Form Guide (all comps): LDWLL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Defeats do not reflect their quality of football
Style of play should cause Newcastle problems
Reasons to be fearful:
Collected just eight points from nine matches
Conceded highest number of set-pieces this season
While Leeds’ style of football is admirable, opting to attack the opposition wherever possible, it is leaving them far too open at the back, something which has cost them a great deal of points so far.
They have conceded 22 goals so far this campaign, second only to relegation strugglers West Brom. This is something which is at odds to their promotion season to the Premier League last year, where they were able to combine attacking football with a solid defence.
There are still positives – only in one of their last seven matches have they failed to score, in a 0-0 draw against Arsenal.
However, Newcastle have found good form in front of goal recently, so Leeds must sharpen up at the back if they are going to take anything from this.
Star Man – Kalvin Phillips
Has a wonderful range of passing, as we’ve seen this season, but must protect his defence better.
Form Guide (all comps): WLLWW
Reasons to be cheerful
Attacking play has improved recently
Two wins on the bounce and a game in hand
Reasons to be fearful
Leeds’ intense style could spell trouble
Still too inconsistent to mount top half push
Newcastle fans will have enjoyed their last two matches, both victories, especially at how they have bounced back from an outbreak of Coronavirus in their training camp.
Having a week’s extra rest clearly paid dividends as they appeared the fresher team in their match with West Brom over the weekend. It also allowed for Dwight Gayle’s return from a serious knee injury.
A third win on the bounce would represent real progress for a Magpies side who have never really threatened to cement a top half position this season.
Their attackers are playing with a good deal of confidence right now, with Almiron, Gayle, Wilson and Joelinton all getting on the scoresheet over the past couple of weeks.
Star Man – Callum Wilson
Didn’t get on the scoresheet against West Brom, but has been Newcastle’s best player this season.
Should be an entertaining game
Both sides are better at attacking than defending
Could finish all square
Leeds are a side who fall to a defeat one week before bouncing back with victory the next, while Newcastle, despite winning their last two, never look like a side capable of a consistent run of form.
Newcastle have the slightly better defence, while you could argue Leeds are better at going forward.
Because of this, honours may well be shared in this one, though it could go either way.
Leeds 1-1 Newcastle