Leeds United vs. Birmingham City Preview

Npower Championship

Published: 02/02/2012

Elland Road is the venue on January 31 for what promises to be an enthralling midweekbattle between two of the Npower Championship’s biggest sides as Leeds United host Birmingham City.

A Nikola Zigic strike separated the teams at St Andrews earlier in the season, giving the Blues a vital three points whilst simultaneously ending a long unbeaten streak for United.

The Whites have subsequently struggled to recapture the form and consistency which they displayed during the first third of the campaign and have fallen some way behind in the race for automatic promotion.

A run of three consecutive defeats over the Christmas period cut Leeds adrift of the play-off places however positive results against Burnley, Crystal Palace and most recently Ipswich Town have put them firmly back in the hunt.

After pursuing their European engagements prior to the festive period, City have now almost caught up on the games which had to be rearranged and as expected they are now demonstrating a truer league position in sixth place, still with a game in hand and the top two of West Ham and Southampton well and truly within their sights.

Chris Hughton’s men are slight underdogs heading into this fixture according to the bookmakers however they quite conceivably should be favourites based on current form and the turnaround of league positions since the two clubs last met.

That, coupled with the psychological advantage of having already beaten the Whites this season, is enough to suggest that Birmingham can continue to kick on towards the upper echelons of the league and reaffirm their bid to bounce straight back to the Premier League.

Leeds are not a team to be trusted at home and although they have managed to stop the Elland Road rot by recording back to back wins, Birmingham should bring a much stiffer challenge than both Burnley and Ipswich and they can take advantage of the gaping hole in Leeds’ midfield, left by the sale of captain Jonny Howson to Norwich City.

Simon Grayson was a man under intense pressure from the fans prior to that piece of transfer business, which has now shifted the impetus over to Chairman Ken Bates who is feeling the wrath of the United faithful for selling their home grown star.

Many people believe that both Bates and the club are showing a distinct lack of ambition which is threatening to hinder their chances of making a return to the top flight – as well as damaging the relationship between the supporters and the club’s authorities.

Birmingham look to be a naturally stronger outfit and they can complete a notable league double over Leeds to confirm their superiority.

19/10 is currently the best the bookies have to offer about an away win and on balance that looks the way to go although a straight 2/1 would be more appealing to the punters eyes.

Games between the two clubs are usually tight in terms of goals, as demonstrated by their first meeting this season in early November.

So bearing this in mind, it could be worth siding with the Under 2.5 Goals market at around even money – even despite Leeds’s leaky defence.

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Any odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of publishing (02/02/2012) but are subject to change.

02/02/2012     © Frixo 2018

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