Leeds United vs Crystal Palace
Two of the top flight’s upwardly mobile teams are set to meet on Monday night as the Premier League Leeds United vs Crystal Palace is the treat on offer to round off the weekend’s football.
Both teams have put plenty of distance between themselves and the drop zone and, with the two locked together on 29 points in 11th and 13th place, the winner can climb into the top ten, should Arsenal and Southampton both falter at the weekend.
Leeds come into the game in good form, but on the back of a narrow defeat to high-flying Everton, while the Eagles have picked up six points from their last two games.
Here at SBOTOP we’re backing the Whites to edge a tight contest, but all three results are in the game and it should be a fascinating, and definitely entertaining tussle.
Bamford is the real deal
Leeds have been playing an attractive brand of football in their first season back in England’s top division and striker Patrick Bamford has been the main beneficiary, scoring 11 goals.
Bamford has certainly confounded his critics this season. He spent four seasons plying his trade in the Championship with sporadic loan spells at Premier League clubs, where he didn’t get much of a chance.
But Bielsa has shown great faith in the former Chelsea academy player and Bamford has responded with a sequence of confident and clinical displays, scoring some brilliant goals which have put him up amongst the Premier League’s best strikers.
He’s currently joint-sixth alongside last season’s Golden Boot winner, Jamie Vardy, and a single goal behind the group of players in second, which includes Harry Kane, while Mo Salah leads the pack.
Bielsa has revolutionised the club since his arrival in 2018, taking it from a stodgy mid-table Championship team to an expansive and free-flowing attacking side in the Premier League.
The 65-year-old Argentinian is keen to share the credit for the club’s success with his players. Alongside Bamford, defenders Liam Cooper and Luke Ayling have stepped up superbly to life in the top flight, and the new recruits are contributing too.
Jack Harrison, on loan from Manchester City, has five goals and is growing into one of the league’s most skilful players while Raphinha showed his class with a lovely finish against Everton.
Zaha so important for Crystal Palace
Back-to-back victories against Wolves and Newcastle United have eased any lingering worries that the Eagles would be dragged into a relegation battle. But while Leeds have a plethora of creative players, Palace rely heavily on one man.
Much of the pre-match Leeds vs Crystal Palace news surrounds the fitness of the Eagles’ talisman, Wilfried Zaha. He has nine goals so far this season and his team has a much higher win ratio when he is in the starting 11. But he limped off during Palace’s victory over Newcastle and is in a race to be fit for the clash with Leeds.
Of course, Crystal Palace isn’t a one-man team; winger Andros Townsend has proven Premier League quality, while summer recruit Eberechi Eze is an exciting prospect. The attacking midfielder is a fearless runner at defences and he has already weighed in with three goals and three assists.
Meanwhile, centre-back Gary Cahill has added experience and stability to the Eagles backline alongside Scott Dann, and he scored his first goal since 2018 in the victory away to Newcastle, converting a cross from Eze.
Leeds are a tough team to beat at Elland Road, particularly when their passionate fans are raising the roof. They have a good record against their opponents, winning ten matches to Crystal Palace’s five, while there have been two draws in all meetings since 1994.
The Whites are unbeaten at home to the Eagles in five games and they will be looking for revenge. Palace thumped Leeds at 4-1 in November as Eze put in a man-of-the match performance, teeing up Dann for a goal and then scoring his first of the season with a brilliant free-kick.
|Leeds United vs Crystal Palace||Total Goals 2-3 @ 2.05|
|February 9, 04:00 (GMT+8)|
The latest Leeds vs Crystal Palace betting odds back the hosts to win, at odds of 1.74, while the Eagles are at 3.84 with the draw at 3.44.
Bielsa’s team was unlucky to lose to Everton, but Roy Hodgson is a fine coach and his Palace team is hitting form, though much depends on the fitness of Zaha. I can see a 1-1 draw or a victory for someone by the odd goal in three; and that could mean a top ten place.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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