Newcastle United head to Elland Road this weekend looking for three valuable points to stay in the driver’s seat for a top-four finish and Champions League qualification. And an unwanted Leeds United record this season should give Eddie Howe’s side real confidence of getting the job done.
That record sees Leeds United as the joint-worst Premier League defence on home turf this season, with no side conceding more than Leeds when playing at home. Usually considered such a tough ground to visit, Leeds have struggled at Elland Road this term and have conceded 31 goals in their 17 home games, an average of more than 1.8 goals per game.
On top of that, the Whites have won just five of those 17 games with only Everton, Leicester City and Southampton collecting fewer points on home turf. The prospect should fill Howe’s side with real confidence as they head to Yorkshire looking to continue holding off Manchester United and Liverpool’s advances.
It’s particularly encouraging when considering how strong the Magpies have been away from St James’ Park this season too. They’re currently third in the Premier League away table, having won eight of their 17 games on the road, collecting 30 points in total. With 29 goals scored on their travels, only Arsenal, Manchester City and Brighton have scored more.
All that said, this game will be Sam Allardyce’s first home game in charge of Leeds. Having started with a spirited losing effort against Manchester City last weekend, the former Newcastle boss will be hoping now to use home advantage to collect what would be three huge points in their quest for survival.
Though unsuccessful in his time in the St James’ Park hot seat, Allardyce has had real success since, arriving late in seasons to save clubs from relegation. And usually such an important part of that success is made through strengthening backlines like Leeds’.
Looking ahead to the game, Allardyce said: “They’ve got some talented players on the top three more to come on, Almiron and Saint-Maximin, as well as the three up front they started against Arsenal. Goalscorer, a big goalscorer in Wilson, which we have to manage. At the other end you can get in behind and you can get down the side of Newcastle if you can break through midfield.
“Getting the first goal would be a big lift. It would help us win the game. I’m not saying we would win the game, but going a goal down would be a very difficult job I think mentally for the players to come back from. If that’s the case then they’ll have to try and do it. What they won’t have to do is go daft like they have done before, leave the back door open and concede two, three and four again.”
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