West Brom vs Leeds Utd preview, predictions & possible XIs
West Brom and Leeds face off at the Hawthorns in a mouth-watering clash at the top of the Championship.
A disappointing defeat away at Middlesbrough meant that West Brom enter the new year second in the league, just behind their title rivals on goal difference. It was their first defeat in 15 games. The last team to beat them before that? Leeds.
Marco Bielsa’s side’s last game was an absolute classic: a 4-5 victory away at Birmingham saw them leapfrog West Brom to the top of the Championship, meaning Leeds have now ended the last three decades on top of the league. They’ll be hoping this time, finally, it pays dividends.
Both sides are surely destined for Premier League football next season, but who can boost their chances of finishing on top of the pile?
When is West Brom vs Leeds and where can I watch live?
Venue: The Hawthorns
Date: Wednesday, 1 January 2020
Kick-off: 5:15 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): Live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football
Last five meetings: West Brom vs Leeds
1 October 2019: Leeds 1-0 West Brom (Championship)
1 March 2019: Leeds 4-0 West Brom (Championship)
10 November 2018: West Brom 4-1 Leeds (Championship)
20 January 2007: Leeds 2-3 West Brom (Championship)
6 January 2007: West Brom 3-1 Leeds (FA Cup)
Aggregate Score: Home team (WWDLL) SCORE Away team (LLDWW)
Ones to watch
West Brom: Charlie Austin
Having a goalscorer in a promotion push is absolutely pivotal and Austin is proving exactly that for West Brom so far this season. Despite his game time being limited (mainly by injury), Austin has still managed seven goals this season and will be crucial if West Brom are to keep up their form.
Key stat: Of the top 25 scorers in the Championship, no one has a better minutes per goal (120) number than Austin.
Leeds: Patrick Bamford
Talking of goalscorers, Patrick Bamford is proving his worth as a top Championship striker once again. He’s scored 10 goals and created two more this season as Leeds’ main striker; the fact that he’s keeping Eddie Nketiah out of the side speaks volumes as to how he’s playing this right now.
Key stat: Bamford has two goals in his last two games against West Brom.
Kyle Bartley – the man who scored an own goal the last time these two met – could return to the starting XI after injury. Grady Diangana and Kieran Gibbs are both likely to miss out.
Predicted XI: Johnstone; Townsend, Bartley, Hegazi, Ferguson; Sawyers, Livermore; Phillips, Costa, Robson-Kanu; Austin.
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Pablo Hernandez and Adam Forshaw are both out, but Patrick Bamford should start ahead of Eddie Nketiah after a dead leg.
Predicted XI: Casilla; Ayling, Cooper, White, Dallas; Phillips, Berardi; Klich, Harrison, Costa; Bamford
West Brom will be desperate to exact revenge on Leeds after they were defeated in Yorkshire at the start of the season, whereas Leeds need to prove that they can keep their heads better than last season. Both sides may be afraid of losing, however.