Leeds were at times irresistible in the second half at Elland Road on Thursday evening as they swept Stoke City aside 5-0. Whether it was the patient and precise play at the back, Pablo Hernandez picking up fantastic areas in which to get the ball and bewitch or it was Patrick Bamford’s fine goal which was the cream on top of the cherry on top of the icing on top of a pretty tasty cake.
Yet, it is still tight at the top with four fixtures remaining as West Brom and Brentford both won.
We take a look at key stats from the midweek Championship games involving teams vying for promotion.
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The Robins could perhaps count themselves fortunate to defeat struggling Hull City. Despite scoring twice their xG was just 0.77 compared to the Tigers’ 1.26. They were also out-shot.
Manager Gary Rowett would have been left frustrated against Boro. Millwall had more possession (56.71), more shots (11) and enough passes into the final third (53) but didn’t create enough clear cut chances.
Adam Armstrong was instrumental in the win in Wales. Not only did he score a wonder goal from far out but he also provided an assist. He made 5 progressive runs - way above his 1.96 average for the season - and was largely accurate when playing into the final third.
The Rams were the definition of toothless in their defeat to the Baggies. They had an xG of just 0.04, attempting three shots all game, none failing to hit the target.
Alex Neil’s men didn’t need much possession to get all three points against the owls. They had less than 42% of the ball and made nearly 130 fewer passes. They were wayward with their passing forward compared to their opponents but were clinical shooting more often and more accurately.
The win for the Swans was one of those which falls into the ‘the type of win which gets you promoted’. They weren’t at their best. While they dominated the ball they scored all three goals from nine shots. Birmingham had 19.
The Bluebird were deservedly beaten if we look at the xG of both sides. Cardiff’s was below 1 and Blackburn’s above two, despite the Rovers scoring from distance.
Forest will be kicking themselves they lost, conceding the only goal of the game from one of Fulham’s two shots on target. The Cottagers had an xG of just 0.21.
While the Londonders didn’t do much in the way of creating clear cut chances, defensively they did the gritty work making more clearances (31) and interceptions (50) than their opponents.
The Bees are on fire at the moment. The scoreline against the Addicks may not have been comfortable but the team dominated the ball with just shy of 70% of possession. They made nearly 600 passes at an accuracy of more than 87%.
Unusually, the Baggies had less than 38% possession against Derby. Well below their 53% season average. They gave up only three shots, however, attempting 19 of their own.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men were absolutely dominant against Stoke. The visitors didn’t have a shot on target. Leeds hit the target with 11 of their 19, in addition they had 71.7% of the ball.