Leeds welcome Brentford to Elland Road. The Yorkshire outfit beat Cardiff in an FA Cup replay 5-2 on Wednesday which was a much needed victory for the club and manager Jesse Marsch, who continues to be under a lot of pressure. Leeds only have 2 wins in their last 15 Premier League matches and face a Brentford side who have been flying this year. Thomas Frank has been doing a great job, massively overachieving with the Bees who are as high as 8th in the table.
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The big question mark surrounding Leeds is the makeup of the backline. There are no assured spots here either due to injuries or poor form. Robin Koch will probably come back into the XI but Firpo, Kristensen or even Llorente could all potentially feature. Patrick Bamford scored twice off the bench in midweek and is an option to start upfront. New £40m signing Georginio Rutter will be in the squad, but the former Hoffenheim attacker is likely to be sitting on the bench initially.
Brentford are expected to revert back to a 5-3-2 formation for this fixture. Centre back Pontus Jansen is still injured and won’t feature against his former club. There is a chance Kristoffer Ajer will play in one of the three centre back spots. If Brentford do employ a front two, then Yoanne Wissa is the most likely to miss out. Ivan Toney is a banker to play until the FA resolve his betting charge allegation, and Bryan Mbeumo has been in red hot form.
Leeds xG and xGA metrics correlate quite closely to their actual goalscoring numbers. They have scored an average of 1.44 goals per game but have a leaky defence, shipping in 1.83 in each fixture. Leeds matches can often be quite frantic, fast paced with lots of action at both ends of the field. They fire in 12.60 shots in each fixture but average a large 13.60 shots against. Their opponents average 4.89 SOT in each game which is one of the main reasons why they concede so many goals.
Corners are something to watch out for in Leeds games. They obtain an average of 5.61 themselves, but also concede 4.83. It is worth noting that the Mighty Whites didn’t concede a single corner vs Villa in their most recent Premier League game and only one vs Cardiff in the midweek FA Cup replay. Leeds are one of the most ill-disciplined teams around, amassing 2.33 cards per game. They can get involved in several dirty contests and their opponents also average a high number of cards in each fixture (1.83).
Brentford average 1.68 goals per game and 1.47 goals against. They have definitely been overachieving at both ends of the field. Their xG is only 1.26 and their xGA is a whopping 1.89. At some stage these metrics should regress to the mean which is something to look out for. Brentford only average 10.10 shots per game but have been quite accurate, with 4.11 SOT. Opposition teams have been firing readily at them at an average of 15.50 times, with 5.88 on target.
Brentford average 4.58 corners per game and 5.84 against. They are known for their long throw routines so will often try to play for the throw rather than the corner. The Bees have been a reasonably well disciplined side under Thomas Frank, only picking up 1.37 cards per game. Cards against is 1.72. Brentford place a big emphasis on set piece routines and will look for some tactical fouls.
Player shots and shots on target
Joe Gelhardt averages the most shots per 90 mins of any Leeds player on this list (4.17). There is talk of him leaving the club on loan though and at best he will start from the bench here. Top scorer Rodrigo fires in 3.70 shots per 90, but only 1.26 of those have been on target. Rodrigo has a decent scoring record but it’s mostly by a scattergun style approach.
Summer signing Willy Gnonto has been catching the eye recently, most notably with a spectacular goal vs Cardiff and averages 1.80 shots. Patrick Bamford scored three goals off the bench in the last two games and could be in line to start here. He averages 3.60 shots per 90 at a strong 50% accuracy rate.
Ivan Toney unsurprisingly averages the most shots for Brentford with 2.66 per 90 mins. Bryan Mbeumo fires in 2.08 shots at a 1.01 SOT rate per 90 mins. Brentford have three strong attacking options with Yoanne Wissa who has similar statistics to Mbeumo. Christian Norgaard is an interesting candidate in this market. He only averages 1.17 shots per 90 mins, but the midfielder has converted that into 0.78 SOT. Quality over quantity is very much his motto.
Player goals and assists
Rodrigo is the leading scorer for the White Rose outfit. He is normally on penalty taking duty as well which adds to his scoring credentials. The Spaniard has 10 goals this season and has been in good form recently. Both Jack Harrison and Brendan Aaronson top the assist charts for Leeds with 4 and 2 respectively. Gnonto is a rising star and if he continues his good form then he will be threatening the back of the net a lot in the second half of the season.
Striker Ivan Toney is the third highest scorer in the Premier League with 13 goals. He is a key man for the Bees and scored a hat-trick vs Leeds earlier this season. In addition, Toney has supplied three assists, Brian Mbeumo and Yoanne Wissa are also worth looking at. Each have scored four goals this season and weighed in with one assist. Mathias Jensen is the leading assist provider for the Bees with four. He is a long throw specialist and that is always an area which needs consideration with Brentford.
Leeds are a very mixed possession team and their numbers can vary from game to game. They only had 46% vs Villa last Friday and surprisingly only 52% vs Championship side Cardiff in the midweek FA Cup replay. No player of significant minutes averages more than 60 passes per 90 mins but the two probably worth considering in this market are midfielder Tyler Adams and defender Pascal Struijk.
Brentford only average 43% possession and no player in their ranks averages more than 50 passes per 90 mins. This is not a ball hungry team and best suited on the counter-attack. The two players who are likely to have the most passes are Mathias Jensen and Ben Mee. The latter especially should be on the field for the full 90 mins and does average 49.9 passes per 90 mins. This is not an area where we can expect too much from the Brentford players though, even if Leeds are also not known for being particularly possession hungry.
Leeds are a strong pressing and high energy team which can lead to a lot of fouls. Midfielder Tyler Adams tops them in this category with 1.88 fouls per 90 mins. He also has five cards and regularly gets stuck in. Right back Rasmus Kristensen is another who won’t shy away from a tackle, in addition to Marc Roca. This whole team is capable of fouling regularly. The centre backs Pascal Struijk, Liam Cooper or Robin Koch all average at least 1.20 fouls per 90 mins and have each picked up several cards.
Ivan Toney is a physical monster, and it is no surprise to see him get fouled 2.07 times on average per 90 mins. He will cause a lot of issues to the Leeds defenders. Midfielder Jay DaSilva averages nearly three dribbles per 90 mins and Tyler Adams will have to deal with him. Whoever partners Toney, either Yoanne Wissa or Bryan Mbeumo is also going to be a tough matchup, especially if either of them drift out to the left wing.
Matchups to watch
Robin Koch vs Ivan Toney
Tyler Adams vs Josh Dasilva
Liam Cooper or Rasmus Kristensen vs Bryan Mbeumo
The Bees are quite a clean team, and their dirtiest player is striker Ivan Toney who averages 1.66 fouls per 90 mins and obtained 6 cards. He is a very physical player who is not shy of getting stuck in. Attacker Bryan Mbeumo has obtained four cards this season and is one to watch for some battles. He is a high energetic type of player who will get stuck in if required. Jensen, Janelt or DaSilva are obvious contenders in midfield to be heavily involved.
Jesse Marsch’s men have a lot of pacey and technical players who press a lot. There are also some significant dribblers in the team such as Willy Gnonto and Jack Harrison. Whoever plays out wide for Leeds will give Brentford some major problems. In midfield Brendan Aaronson regularly gets stuck in but can also be a potential foul magnet with his style of play. He has an average of 3.65 dribbles per 90 mins and is fouled on 2.22 occasions.
Matchups to watch
Mathias Jensen vs Marc Roca
Willy Gnonto vs Mads Roerslev
Ivan Toney vs Robin Koch
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Leeds vs Brentford
Leeds average 5.61 corners taken and 4.83 conceded.
Brentfordaverage 4.58 corners taken and 5.84 conceded.
Referee Peter Bankes averages 4.56 cards per game.
Leeds games average 4.16 cards, with Leeds receiving 2.33.
Brentford games average 3.05 cards per game.
Leeds games average 3.27 goals per game, with an xG of 3.23.
Brentford games average 3.15 goals per game, with an xG of 3.15 as well.
Tyler Adams commits 1.88 fouls P/90, and attempts 4.19 tackles P/90.