Difficult Leeds To Delve Deep At City GroundStats
Nottm Forest v Leeds
Two former heavyweights of English football, Nottingham Forest and Leeds, face each other on Saturday evening at the City Ground.
Following a run of nine games undefeated at the start of the season, Nottingham Forest then went on a run of ten games without a win to slide from promotion challengers to mid-table obscurity.
More recent form has improved, however, and Stuart Pearce’s side go into this weekend’s game having lost only one and won two of their last five league games. Perhaps significant in that mini revival has been the return to form of striker Britt Assombalonga who has now scored three in his last four following a run of only one goal in nine appearances. At the other end two clean sheets in the last four have also helped the cause.
Leeds, meanwhile, remain one of the most difficult teams in the league to predict from week to week. A recent 2-0 win against Derby shows what they are capable of when on song, but just two wins in their last 13 league games show that they cannot always be relied upon to get the job done.
Mirco Antenucci scored both goals in that win against Derby and is the club’s top scorer with eight goals for the season and three in his last three appearances. Souleymane Doukara has scored seven times this season.
Jack Hobbs and Andy Reid are both back in light training for Forest, but remain at least a couple of weeks away from making a return to the first-team squad.
The visitors will be hoping to welcome back Giuseppe Bellusci following an injury that has kept him out of the last two games, while there could be recalls for Billy Sharp and Rudy Austin.
Both clubs were recently slapped with transfer embargos after failing to comply with Financial Fair Play rules.
Forest have won each of the previous three head-to-head meetings, including both home and away fixtures last season. Matt Derbyshire scored three goals in last season’s two meetings, while Billy Sharp was on the scoresheet twice for Forest in a 4-2 win at the City Ground a couple of years ago.
Odds of 8/11 on a home win seem fair enough given the inconsistencies of Leeds United and the relative league positions and recent form.
But at odds of 4/1 on a Leeds victory I’m willing to take a chance on the visitors putting in one of their infrequent impressive performances this Saturday against an opposition that aren’t necessarily reliable themselves.
Both teams have scored in two thirds of Leeds’ league games this season and it’s a 5/6 chance that both sides find the back of the net this weekend. And combining those two selections offers us a tasty 8/1 for Leeds to win with both teams scoring.