Newcastle United vs Leeds United: A battle of the statistics
Posted on April 6th, 2017 | 2 Comments |
Newcastle are hurtling back towards the Premiership after opening up a commanding lead at the top of the Championship and they could seal promotion in their upcoming home game against Leeds Utd. Gary Monk’s men have enjoyed a strong season and will make life difficult for Newcastle, but the Magpies will be confident of victory.
These sides met at Elland Road in November and Dwight Gayle put Leeds to the sword with a superbly taken brace. Leeds battled bravely but Newcastle were superior in all departments, and the gulf has widened between the two sides since. Leeds are fifth in the table, but 12 points behind leaders Newcastle, who have been brimming with confidence all season.
A strong summer in the transfer market paid off for Rafa Benitez, who raised around £90 million by selling off players like Giorginio Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko reinvesting £60 million in new stars. It has clearly worked as a review of the best soccer odds at Labrokes shows Newcastle are odds-on favourites to win the Championship and be promoted, and they are favourites to win almost all of their remaining games this season.
Benitez gutted out a team that was relegated with a whimper and fashioned a new side perfectly placed to secure promotion straight back up to the top flight. Gayle has been a revelation, banging in 22 goals and enjoying by far the best minutes per goals ratio in the division, while Matt Ritchie was another shrewd signing.
The only player with more Championship goals than Gayle this season is Leeds striker Chris Woods, who has scored 24 times, albeit with more games under his belt than Gayle. But the supporting cast has not been as hot for Leeds, who have only hit the net 52 times compared to 72 goals for Newcastle.
What has propelled Newcastle to the top of the Championship is their magnificent away form. If you divide the table into home and away, they would only be sixth in the home table, but they are well clear at the top of the away table, with 13 wins from 20 games leaving them 10 points better off than Brighton & Hove Albion, the second best team on the road. At home Newcastle are well behind Brighton, and have recorded 12 wins in 19 games. But that should still be good enough form to see them past a Leeds side they have already beaten this season.
Leeds would be third in the home table but sixth in the away table, with eight wins, three draws and eight defeats. It is hard to advise backing a team that has already lost eight times on the road and is coming up against the league leaders. One trend of late, however, is that Newcastle have rarely been covering handicaps. A lot of their wins have come by a single goal. The best option is probably to back the straight Newcastle win, while Gayle to score at any time also looks good as his pace, movement and finishing ability should once again cause nightmare for the Leeds defence.
Benitez now has the opportunity to turn Newcastle into a Premiership force once again. He will be hoping for a similar experience to Leicester City, who won the Premiership in their second season in the top flight, defying odds of 5,000/1 and earning legendary status around the world.
A lot will depend on the board’s willingness to back him in the transfer market. He has shown a great deal of loyalty by staying on to manage in the Championship after a relegation that was not really his fault as Newcastle were in all sorts of trouble before he joined near the end of the season. The owner has been reluctant to back certain managers in the past but has loosened the purse strings in the last few years. If he does not do so in the summer, Benitez could walk. Newcastle should consider themselves fortunate to have a manager that has won the Champions League and managed huge clubs like Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea. He stuck by them for away games at Rotherham and Burton, now they need to back him to take a strong team to Stamford Bridge and Anfield and make Newcastle a big club once more.