Leeds United’s promotion push received a huge boost at the weekend with more twists and turns at the top of the Championship. Not only did Fulham dropping points mean the Whites increased their lead over third, but they also leapfrogged West Brom into pole position after the Baggies draw at Bristol City.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men were in confident mood at Elland Road on Saturday as shown by Luke Ayling’s incredible early strike.
We take a look at some key statistics from the last weekend of sides looking to reach the Premier League, as well as the individual players who shone or struggled elsewhere in the division.
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Both of Leeds’ goals in the win over Huddersfield Town came via crosses. Marcelo Bielsa’s men created some of their best chances from the flanks. The 43.75% accuracy was one of their highest this season.
The left-back was one of the Baggies’ best players, creating two chances, while showing his quality defensively with six interceptions and six aerial duels won.. But West Brom struggled in front of goal, their xG of 0.66 well below their 1.47 season average.
Fulham missed a chance to close the gap on West Brom and weren’t helped by their passing. They played nearly 100 passes fewer than their average with their success rate dropping below 80% in the draw at Bristol City.
Josh Dasilva was man of the match for the Bees in their 5-0 trouncing of Sheffield Wednesday. He scored two goals, created a chance, made five progressive runs, completed 91% of his passes and was successful with half his dribbles.
It was a Friday to forget for Nottingham Forest as they went down 3-0 to Millwall, all goals coming in the first half. The game showed that possession isn’t everything. Forest had more than 68% of the possession, way above their season average of 47.85%.
Despite going down 3-1 to QPR at home on Saturday, Preston still managed to have a better xG than their opponents - 1.32 to 0.93. What it means that realistically they should not have been defeated. Yet they hit the target with just two of their ten shots.
Tomas Kalas put in a commanding performance as Bristol City held Fulham and kept themselves in the play-off hunt. The centre-back made four clearances, nine interceptions and two blocks. He won five defensive duels and six aerial duels. Imperious.
It could only be one man. The striker netted a 13-minute first half hat-trick to down Nottingham Forest. Smith scored with all three of his shots and all three of his touches in the box ended up in the back of the net.
It was a difficult weekend for all associated with the Tigers for the second week running. Pennington struggled in the 5-1 defeat at Stoke City. He was involved in just one defensive duel and lost it despite playing in the middle of the defence.