Thursday 17th December Kickoff: 1945hrs
Wolves v Leeds United
Football – England – Championship
With just over a week until Christmas, both Wolves and Leeds will be looking for some festive cheer as the two clash at Molineux. Neither of the teams will be pleased with their current position and the upcoming busy period provides an opportunity to improve their fortunes as the build towards the New Year.
Wolves would have thought they were on the cusp of ending their winless home run against Nottingham Forest on Friday, only to concede a late equaliser and extend that run to five games. Their last victory at Molineux came all the way back on the third of October. It had been a major source of frustration for Kenny Jackett who has enjoyed nothing but success in his spell in charge. He will be slightly comforted by the fact that his team are on an unbeaten run of five games, albeit with four of those being draws. If Wolves are to mount a serious challenge for the play-offs, it goes without saying that they must start converting those points, into three.
Leeds have been the epitome of inconsistent this term, mixing some terrific results with disastrous performances. Wins over local rivals Huddersfield and Hull are some of the highlights in what had been a largely underwhelming campaign. They currently sit in 18th position and remain closer to the bottom three than the top six. Whether or not a play-off spot is a realistic target for the club, considering the issues they are contending with off the field, is another matter, but a club their size have to strive to climb the Championship. Steve Evans – who replaced Uwe Rosler earlier in the season – is as ambitious as they come and will be drilling into his players the importance of gaining some much-needed consistency to achieve that.
Unsurprisingly on a long, winless run at home, Wolves have struggled to find the net in front of their own fans. Managing just two goals in five home games, Jackett has tried to shuffle his pack in a bid to improve their fortunes but Friday night’s game against Forest was a further illustration that the threat is still not what it needs to be. Adam Le Fondre was given the task of leading the line with Benik Afobe left on the bench. I would be surprised if that is the case against Leeds, as Afobe offers much more in a lone-striking role. Jacket may also look to play two up top as he has done in the past but whatever he decides, the manager will know that the supporters will be restless should it not be successful.
Only Brighton and Derby have lost fewer games away from home than Leeds this season which is somewhat of a surprise considering where they sit in the table. The Elland Road club have proved a difficult nut to crack for a lot of teams, with Middlesbrough and QPR the only two teams to have won on their own ground against them. Their style of play is certainly not the most attractive but it has been effective in allowing them to pick up some welcome points, and it will be no different on Thursday when they travel to face Wolves. Evans might not be everybody’s cup of tea but there’s no doubting he gets every bit of effort out his individual players and collectively, as a team.
Wolves v Leeds Betting Tips
This game is unlikely to be one of the most exciting and end-to-end contests to be played in the Championship this season, but if one of the team could get three points then that is all that matters. Wolves will certainly harbour hopes of gaining ground on the teams above them as the try to make their presence felt in the race for the play-offs, whilst Leeds will want to move away from the wrong end of the table.
Historically this is actually a high-scoring fixture with 20 goals coming in the last six encounters. I do not envisage that trend continuing as neither side have been in goalscoring form and are also short of confidence. With that in mind, I think this will come down to who makes the fewest mistakes and although Wolves have not won at home in over two months, they are in the middle of a decent run which suggests that their fortunes will turn soon. It might not be pretty and they home team will be made to work for it by Leeds, but fancy Wolves to edge it and get a vital win.
Wolves Evens @ Bet365