Middlesbrough vs Leeds Preview: Boro to edge close encounter
Middlesbrough take on Leeds in Friday night’s EFL Championship encounter, with both teams still having play-off aspirations. Infogol’s Analyst previews the game using expected goals (xG), generating the best bets in the process.
Middlesbrough Expected Goals (xG)
Middlesbrough conceded a very late equaliser at Sunderland last weekend, but a draw was a fair result in the end, with both sides generating an even share of chances (xG: SUN 1.9 – 1.8 MID) despite each ending the match with 10 men apiece.
Middlesbrough have played 10 games under Tony Pulis, winning four, drawing two, and losing four, so it has been a mixed bag. They still find themselves only three points off of the play-off places despite this inconsistent form, though, and their overall process has been pretty good this season, so there is no reason why they can’t gate-crash the top six.
As you might expect given his style, Pulis’ side have conceded fewer than 1 xG in six of his matches in charge, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see another tight and low-scoring game.
Leeds Expected Goals (xG)
Leeds got their first win under Paul Heckingbottom last time out as they beat Brentford to reignite their play-off push. They were fortunate to pick up the three points though, as they once again created very few chances (xG: LEE 0.4 – 0.7 BRE).
Leeds have the ninth-worst attacking record in the league this season, having generated just 39.8 xG in 34 matches – the worst output in the top half of the league. Recent appointment Heckingbottom has plenty to improve on, with his team averaging just 1.2 xG/90.
They haven’t been much better at the back, but that 1-0 win over Brentford was their best defensive performance in eight games, since they were held by Nottingham Forest. There have been signs of improvement, but this is another tough test.
It’s no surprise that Middlesbrough have been good defensively since Tony Pulis arrived, while Leeds have the worst xGF in the top half of the league, so another low-scoring game is expected.
Under 2.5 goals @ 8/11