Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Leeds vs Sheffield United in the Premier League on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa is waiting to learn whether Mateusz Klich has completed protocol and is available after recently testing positive for coronavirus, but Liam Cooper is available after illness.
Both Pablo Hernandez and Rodrigo could return to contention after recovering from respective muscle strains.
It has been a frustrating season for both Spaniards due to injury and illness, while Rodrigo was compelled to issue a statement on Instagram this week strongly refuting claims he was unhappy at Elland Road.
Paul Heckingbottom is hoping John Egan will be fit enough to return to the Sheffield United squad. The 28-year-old has been sidelined since suffering a dislocated toe in the defeat at West Ham on February 15 but he is back in training and close to making a comeback.
However, Chris Basham is out having been unable to train since sustaining an injury in the build-up to the FA Cup defeat at Chelsea prior to the international break.
Enda Stevens is expected to be available, despite the wing-back being ruled out of the Republic of Ireland’s match this week, while club captain Billy Sharp (muscle injury) is thought to be out for around another two weeks.
How to follow
Follow Leeds vs Sheff Utd in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
Jones Knows prediction
Sheffield United have gone from likeable losers to an embarrassment in a matter of weeks.
Their adventure through the leagues with Chris Wilder at the helm is ending in calamitous and sad fashion. No goals in their last eight games is the definition of toothless and sums up their current plight. Leeds shouldn’t have too much to fear if bringing their usual intensity and relentless pace to the table.
A Leeds win to nil at 6/4 with Sky Bet will surely be popular with punters, as will the 13/2 about Raphinha opening the scoring. He is fast becoming the bargain of the season at just £17m.
We’re seeing a side to him over recent performances that make him more than just a nutmeg and stepovers merchant. There is genuine quality in his boots and unlike most maverick-type players, he consistently comes to the party at big moments in matches and has substance to back up the style.
Only eight players in the Premier League have scored more goals than him (5) since Boxing Day and he ranks 10th on the list during that period for most shots at goal from a player (33). In a match Leeds are expected to dominate with their superior quality, Raphinha should see plenty of opportunities to make his mark.
JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 2-0
BETTING ANGLE: Raphinha to score first (13/2 with Sky Bet)
Last time out…
- Leeds have won two of their last three league games against Sheffield United (L1), as many as in their previous 11 against the Blades (D3 L6). They’re looking to complete their first league double over their Yorkshire rivals since their 1991-92 title-winning campaign.
- Sheffield United have won their last two away league games against Leeds – they’ve never won three in a row at Elland Road. However, in the top flight, they’ve won just one of their last 15 away games against Leeds (D4 L10), with this their first such visit since a 1-2 defeat in September 1993.
- Leeds have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four home league games, as many as they had in their previous 27 top-flight games at Elland Road.
- Leeds are looking to win consecutive Premier League games for just the fourth time this season, though the Whites have won all four of their meetings with sides in the relegation zone by an aggregate score of 12-4 this term.
- Leeds have scored a league-high share of 22% of their Premier League goals from outside the box so far this season (10/45), while Sheffield United have conceded more goals from distance than any other side in the competition so far (11).
- Leeds’ Premier League games have seen a league-high 92 goals scored so far this season, with the Whites scoring 45 and conceding 47. Indeed, Leeds’ haul of 45 goals is the most by a promoted team at this stage of a Premier League season since Sunderland in 1999-00 (46).
- Sheffield United have scored a league-low 16 Premier League goals this season, but have an expected goals (xG) total of 26.8, meaning they’ve scored almost 11 goals fewer than expected based on the quality of their chances. Indeed, the Blades have the lowest shot conversion rate in the league this term, netting just 6.56% of their attempts (16/244).
- Sheffield United’s Paul Heckingbottom was in charge of Leeds for 16 games in 2018. He’ll be the 14th different manager to face the Whites in a league game at Elland Road having previously managed them, with only three of the previous 13 winning their first visit back (D1 L9) – Allan Clarke in 1986 (with Barnsley), Neil Redfearn in 2015 (with Rotherham) and Neil Warnock in 2017 (with Cardiff).
- Patrick Bamford scored the only goal in Leeds’ 1-0 win at Bramall Lane in the reverse fixture – the last Leeds player to score home and away against Sheffield United in the same league season was Peter Swan in 1987-88.
- No player has scored the opening goal in more different Premier League games this season than Leeds’ Patrick Bamford (6). Leeds have gone on to win five of the six games in which he’s netted the first goal, losing the other at Chelsea.
Pitch to Post Preview: Jamie Redknapp on Arsenal vs Liverpool; Plus how do Man City replace Aguero? And crunch time for Newcastle
In this week’s Pitch to Post Preview Podcast Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp joins Peter Smith to look ahead to Saturday’s big clash between Arsenal and Liverpool. Could Jurgen Klopp’s side turn a frustrating season into a glorious one with a late top-four push and Champions League charge? Redknapp assesses their chances – and explains where they will have to strengthen in this summer’s transfer window.
We also hear from Sky Sports News’ Man City reporter Ben Ransom on life after Sergio Aguero at the Etihad Stadium and who Pep Guardiola and his recruitment team will target to replace the iconic Argentina ace.
Plus Sky Sports features writer Adam Bate examines Newcastle’s clash with Tottenham – two teams with lots still to play for during this run-in, and two managers who need a strong finish to the campaign.