Leeds United v West Brom: Key battle, Baggies key man and YEP prediction
AHEAD of the season finale between Leeds United and West Brom, the YEP's Lee Sobot picks out the key aspects of Sunday's clash at Elland Road.
Venue: Elland Road
TV: BT Sport
Odds (best available): Leeds win – 12-25; Draw – 9-2; West Brom win – 6-1.
Last time the teams met at Elland Road: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 - Championship: Leeds United 1 (Bartley OG 38), West Brom 0.
Key battle: Patrick Bamford v Kyle Bartley
Quite how Sam Allardyce looks to combat free-flowing Leeds in his final game in charge remains to be seen but Marcelo Bielsa's Whites look sure to create plenty of chances. Despite the prospect of Bielsa making changes, United no 9 Patrick Bamford appears certain to start in the lone striker role in a bid to further boost his tally of 16 goals as one last push to make Gareth Southgate's England squad for the Euros which Southgate will name on Tuesday. It will be down to the Baggies back line to keep Bamford quiet and that includes former Whites centre-back Kyle Bartley, a commanding defender who enjoyed a brilliant season on loan at Leeds from Swansea City in 2016-17 under Garry Monk. Behind him, keeper Sam Johnstone - who himself has previously made an England squad - will likely need to have a good game in goal if the Baggies are to have any joy.
Baggies key man: Matheus Pereira
West Brom have had big problems this season but 25-year-old Brazilian Matheus Pereira has not been one of them. The attacking midfielder has netted nearly one third of his side's 34 league goals having contributed 11 which is six more than next best Callum Robinson. Pereira has also weighed in with six assists, double that of any other Baggies player. West Brom signed Pereira from Sporting Lisbon on a four-year deal for around £9m last summer following his superb loan spell in the Championship and the Brazilian will need to be kept quiet from his no 10 role, if he is fit that is. The Brazilian is reportedly an injury doubt and Allardyce is set to make a late check on his fitness. Pereira plays just in front of Chelsea loanee and England under-21s international centre midfielder Sam Gallagher who is another key player for the Baggies and both Pereira and Gallagher will likely be in demand this summer.
Lee Sobot's verdict:
Leeds are absolutely storming their way to the Premier League finish line and are not surprisingly short odds to record a fourth-consecutive victory against the second-bottom and already-relegated Baggies. Even the appointment of Sam Allardyce could not keep them up and Sunday's contest at Elland Road will be his final game in charge. It would be just like him to pull off a shock. Yet even with changes to the side, a thriving Whites outfit really should have far too much for the Baggies as Leeds finally welcome back supporters to Elland Road for the first time since March 2020. If everything clicks, the tenth-placed Whites could get a hatful in their final game of a memorable campaign with a top half finish already assured. There is still a realistic mathematical chance of finishing eighth, one place below the spot needed for Europe. Seventh is gone bar some miraculous results and a 15-goal swing with Spurs.
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Thank you Laura Collins