Opta predicts Championship play-off results as Leeds United given promising Norwich City sign amid Southampton and West Brom verdict

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Leeds United welcome Norwich City to Elland Road on Thursday with a place at Wembley up for grabs.

Leeds United will feel they are in a strong position to reach the Championship play-off final after Sunday’s draw at Norwich City - and Daniel Farke’s side are strong favourites to be at Wembley later this month.

Leeds avoided any serious damage in the first-leg of their play-off semi-final clash, having left Carrow Road with a hard-fought 0-0 draw. The Whites had endured a dismal end to the regular campaign and so a return to the norm, defensively at least, was welcomed by the 2,000-plus travelling supporters come full-time.

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That Leeds go into Thursday’s home leg with it all to play for should put them in the driving seat, particularly given they finished three places and 17 points ahead of Norwich in the regular season. And it seems that data experts Opta are expecting a home win, with their supercomputer calculating that Farke’s men have a 58 per cent chance of winning on the night and progressing.

They have given Norwich a 19 per cent chance of inflicting a second consecutive home-leg play-off defeat on Leeds, following the chaotic 2019 clash with Derby County. There is also a 23 per cent chance it ends even inside 90 minutes, which could mean the unbearable tension of extra-time and even penalties at Elland Road - something Canaries boss David Wagner is all too aware of.

Leeds are actually the favourites among all four semi-final teams, with Southampton slightly less fancied at home to West Brom, having also earned a 0-0 draw on the road. Russell Martin’s side have a 50 per cent chance of winning, according to Opta, with a 25 per cent chance each for a West Brom win or a draw.

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After ending the regular season with one win in six, Leeds’ ability to rally and produce such a solid performance on Sunday will have done them plenty of good. A first clean sheet on the road since the start of March will also be welcomed by Farke, who has built this season’s success on strong defensive foundations.

Their chances of a win on Thursday will also be boosted by the surprising difference in Norwich performances at home, compared to on the road. Wagner’s men were actually 19th in the Championship away table over the 46-game regular season, having won just six times away from home - victories which all came against teams who finished outside the top-six.

Leeds supporters know better than anyone that the play-offs can throw up plenty of chaos but a settled first-leg performance will have boosted confidence massively. Farke was evidently pleased with the shutout after Sunday’s draw and will look to utilise his side’s home advantage come Thursday.

But the scars of that 2019 defeat against Derby - a tie in which Leeds were 2-0 up on aggregate part-way through the second-leg before eventually losing 4-3 - should ensure there is no complacency. And Farke knows nothing can be taken for granted at this most crucial point of the season.