Leeds United v Crystal Palace Cheat Sheet
Leeds United v Crystal Palace
Sunday afternoon sees Crystal Palace travel to Elland Road to face off with Leeds in an important battle at the bottom of the table. New Leeds boss Javi Gracia has impressed, winning three of his six in charge, but they remain just two points above the drop coming into this round of fixtures. Sitting one place and one point above them, new Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson was delighted with his side’s 2-1 victory over Leicester last time out, ending a 12-match winless run in the Premier League.
Leeds looked in trouble when Jesse Marsch was sacked, one place above the bottom three and only outside it on goal difference. However, since Spaniard Javi Gracia was appointed at the end of February, they have looked much better – particularly at Elland Road. In his three matches in charge here, he has overseen victories over relegation strugglers Southampton and Nottingham Forest and picked up a very creditable draw against Brighton. Another couple of wins should see the club safe in the Premier League for another year and they will be sensing Sunday’s match as an opportunity. Their fans were delighted to see Wilfried Gnonto on the bench last time out so he may be able to start here, but that is not certain. Max Wober, Stuart Dallas, Adam Forshaw and Tyler Adams are all injured for this one.
Crystal Palace were on an awful run of form under Patrick Vieira and looked to be sleepwalking into a relegation battle, but many of their fans were disappointed to see him leave following a tricky run of fixtures, despite being winless in 2023. Fans were further underwhelmed when former boss Roy Hodgson was appointed but a win over Leicester, a game in which they dominated, helped to ease those concerns. They remain just three points above the drop but given that they have a fairly straightforward run-in, involving just two teams in the top 11 (Fulham and Spurs), they should be able to secure another year of top-flight football for next season. However, the Eagles are likely to be without tricky winger Wilfried Zaha who may miss up to a month with a groin injury, and first-choice keeper Vicente Guaita will miss out here too. Nathan Ferguson and Chris Richards remain in the treatment room.
Leeds have been in fine form since Javi Gracia joined. They have lost just two league games – both away at the Emirates and Stamford Bridge – and have picked up points against the teams around them. In their six league games, they have scored ten goals, conceding ten (four of which to Arsenal). Excluding that game against the league leaders, they have amassed 6.2 expected goals, conceding 8.1. Whilst they have slightly overperformed against this data, they have dominated the games against the teams around them – Southampton (0.9 xGF, 0.4 xGA) and Nottingham Forest (1.8 xGF, 0.8 xGA). They will expect a similar performance here.
Crystal Palace have been very bad in 2023, and their results have shown that. In their 12 games under Vieira in 2023, they lost ten of those on expected goals, being contained to under 1.0 xGF in eight and conceding over one xG in nine – implying that their results were not unfair. They were much improved last time out with Hodgson back in charge, but that was against a Leicester team that is on a terrible run of form, most recently losing at home to Bournemouth on Saturday. Given that they will not have their main goalkeeper – Guaita – or their star man – Zaha – they should struggle again here. Slightly more risky selections are Leeds draw no bet @ 4/9 or Leeds outright @ EVS.
Eberechi Eze has been in and out of the Southampton team this season but the forward played 90 minutes in Hodgson’s first game last weekend. In that game, he had five shots, with three on target, and across the season he is averaging 2.32 shots per 90 in the league. In seven of the eight league games he has played 89 minutes or more in this season, he has had two or more shots – with the exception being away at Manchester City. One of those games was against Leeds where he had three shots, scoring once. With Zaha being out, there is more responsibility on the young winger to take the game to Leeds. He has also had ten shots from free kicks for Palace this season.
With Zaha being out, it remains to be seen who will be on penalties for them but Eze scored four of his five league penalties for his former club, QPR so may be given that responsibility. Leeds have conceded plenty of shots under Javi Gracia, conceding at least 12 in the most recent five of his six league games at an average of 14 per game.
Jack Harrison has committed 30 fouls in 2007 league minutes this season, at an average of 1.35 per game. Since Javi Gracia has joined the club, he has played at least 79 minutes in all six league games, conceding seven fouls – including at least one in five of the six. He has conceded two fouls in two of his three league games here in that time.
The Englishman has played 73 minutes or more on 21 different occasions this season, committing at least one foul in 16 of those, and at least two in seven. Of those 21, 11 have been at home and his numbers increase drastically here. In ten of those 11, he has given away one foul (the exception being Chelsea in August) and in six he has committed two. Two fouls @ 9/5 look like value too.
Crystal Palace games this season average 4.52 cards per game and 4.50 away from Selhurst Park. They have received an average of 2.48 cards per game and have been shown two cards in 69% of their games. They have had at least two bookings in five of their last six games on the road. In their last five at home, Leeds have drawn an average of 2.40 cards per game, with their opponents being given at least one card in all of them and at least two in three.
The referee for this one is Simon Hooper and whilst he has shown few cards this season (3.10 per game in his 21 Premier League matches), he tends to show the away side considerably more cards. Home sides have an average of 1.24 cautions per game (being shown two or more in 38%) whilst away sides given 1.90 per match (two or more in 62%). An alternative angle is Crystal Palace most cards @ 6/5.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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