Leeds United vs Southampton. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats, and more

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Some will rise to glory, while others face their darkest hour. Who will seize the last ticket to the Premier League's paradise?

Leeds United FC will meet with Southampton FC in the Championship playoffs final match at the Wembley Stadium. The fixture will take place on Sunday, May 26, beginning at 19:30 IST.

Parimatch News will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.

Leeds United News & Current Form: 

Leeds had every chance to go directly to the Premier League: the club was on top of the table of the Championship. But in recent months the Whites began to make a lot of mistakes and lost points recently in matches with Coventry City FC (1:2), Sunderland AFC (0:0), BlackburnRovers FC (0:1), Queens Park Rangers FC (0:4) and Southampton (1:2). As a result, the club finished in third place in the final table of the tournament, the club won 27 times, drew nine times and suffered 10 defeats, while scoring 81 goals and conceding 43.

The side of Daniel Farke is 6 points behind second-placed Ipswich, who finished second, and had to play in the knockout matches, in the first round of which Leeds defeated Norwich City FC, the former club of their head coach. United drew 0:0 away, but left the opponent no chance at home – a 4:0 rout.

The score was opened in the 7th minute when Ilia Gruev sent the ball into the opponents‘ goal, and 13 minutes later Joel Piroe doubled Leeds’ lead. In the 40th minute, Georginio Rutter scored the third goal, effectively securing the victory for his team before the break. The final result was set by Crysencio Summerville in the 68th minute, scoring the fourth goal against City.

Leeds became much less effective in the other side’s half of the pitch, and the defence began to show very strong gaps between the lines. This is probably due to the fact that the team did not have enough physical strength for the end of the season.

United seem to approach this crucial duel with only one personnel loss – injured defender Pascal Struijk. But defender Sam Byram and forward Patrick Bamford, who missed the return leg of the play-off semi-final against Norwich, have already recovered and could be included in the squad for Sunday’s game.

Now the Peacocks are waiting for the decisive match for a trip to the EPL at Wembley, against the same recent inhabitant of the elite division, as Leeds itself. By the way, the top two teams in the Championship, Leicester City FC and Ipswich Town FC, have previously been promoted, while Sheffield United FC, Burnley FC and Luton Town FC are all relegated.

Leeds forward Cricencio Summerville has scored in 36% of his team’s matches in the current season in the Championship

The Tractor Boys beat Huddersfield Town FC with a score of 2:0 in the last round and finished in second place, thus returning to the English Premier League after 22 years. The team made this breakthrough under the leadership of young coach Kieran McKenna. The Northern Irishman is only 37 years old, he took over the team in December 2021, and this job was his first independent coaching experience at the adult level.

Leicester, meanwhile, have sealed an early return to the English Premier League. The Foxes, who lead the Championship, were promoted after Leeds’ 0:4 defeat to QPR in round 45. The team spent nine consecutive years in the top division, winning the league title in the 2015/16 season, but was relegated to the second division last season.

Archie Gray of Leeds, the rising star of the team, is poised to make history with his exceptional talent and unwavering dedication to the game:

“I can’t really describe how excited I am but hopefully we can just get a good result. We’ll enjoy it with the fans and we’ll be working hard this week to get the best result we can. I’ve followed Leeds since I was born, pretty much and it obviously means everything to me. I’m walking out there as a fan and as a player as well so it will mean everything to me.”

“It’s been amazing so far this season. Obviously, we’ve still got one game left to go, but I’m just really grateful for the boss and his coaching staff, they’ve trusted me this season, put me in different positions and given me the chance to learn different things about the game. I’m very grateful to the boss.

“It’s really nice to be noticed by the fans and people after winning the Championship Young Player of the Year, it means a lot to me. It’s been a good year and hopefully, we can top it off on the weekend.”

Southampton News & Current Form: 

Under the leadership of Russell Martin, Southampton have undergone a fundamental transformation in their game. The summer squad renewal perpetuated only those players who were genuinely fanatical about remaining aboard this football ship, and it was with them that Captain Martin made a remarkable journey across the fields of honor. Saints have begun to erect a veritable temple of football, where the key chords of a flamboyant combinatorial style that looks down on the pitch from the heights of the throne of dominance are striking.

Yet, as in a terrifying dream, the ghosts of defensive lines and goalkeeping shroud the possibilities of a direct ascent into the aristocracy of English football. But the sacred purpose is not yet lost, for in the depths of the play-offs lie the keys to the gates of glory. 

The Saints realized the inevitability of the playoffs long before the end of the regular season, so they didn’t really look forward to the end of the campaign. The team finished in fourth place in the regular season and in 46 rounds played they won 26 times, drew nine times and lost 11 games. In recent months, Southampton also often lost points, and in the final matches they lost to Cardiff City FC (1:2), Leicester City (0:5) and Stoke City FC (0:1). 

One of the top scorer of Southamptons – Che Adams

Only the visit to Leeds ended in a victory for Martin’s wards in the 46th round. As if Southampton knew in advance that this opponent better not to show their weakness (1:2). The game unfolded with fiery emotions and the Saints players showed their power, creating many dangerous chances and successfully finishing off attacks thanks to their individual skills.

In light of this struggle, Will Smallbone stood out as he opened the scoring for his team, while Adam Armstrong made a solid contribution by scoring the decisive goal of the match. Despite this, the encounter also showed some weaknesses in the team’s play. Aggressive behaviour and too many individual errors could have caused difficulties. But thanks to effective play and tactics, the team managed to overcome these obstacles.

Leeds also showed strength but were unable to cope with the onslaught of the opponent. A goal scored by Piroe revived hopes of a possible comeback, but it was not enough to change the course of events. In the end, the victory went to Southampton, who confidently showed their superiority in creating chances and successfully completing attacks. This magnificent success allowed the team to break the series of three consecutive defeats and raise their heads above the clouds.

In the play-off semi-final, the White and Reds performed exactly like their final opponents. A goalless away draw at West Bromwich Albion FC in the first game and a comfortable 3:1 home win in the return leg at St Mary’s, secured by Smallbone’s goal and Armstrong’s double.

Stuart Armstrong will not take part in the decisive game of the season at Wembley due to injury. Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, who was injured back in April, is also 100 per cent not ready for the final. But for Ross Stewart and Che Adams, there are still hopes of being included in the squad.

Leeds United form guide: L-W-L-L-D-W

Southampton form guide: L-L-L-W-D-W

Leeds United vs Southampton Head-To-Head Record:

Leeds UnitedDrawSouthampton
  • February 25, 2023: Leeds United 1 – 0 Southampton (Premier League);
  • September 30, 2023: Southampton 3 – 1 Leeds United (Championship);
  • May 4, 2024:  Leeds United 1 – 2 Southampton  (Championship).

Leeds United vs Southampton Predicted XI:

Leeds United’s possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Meslier; Gray, Ampadu, Rodon, Firpo; Gruev, Kamara; Gnonto, Rutter, Summerville; Piroe.

Southampton’s possible starting lineup (4-3-3): McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Harwood-Bellis, Bednarek, Stephens; Aribo, Downes, Smallbone; Brooks, Armstrong, Fraser.

Statistical preview of the match Leeds United vs Southampton:

  • Leeds’ First XI average age is 23.9 yrs, and Southampton’s First XI average age is 27.7 yrs.
  • The total value of Leeds’ squad is 205 mln euros, while the total of Southampton comes up to 189 mln euros.
  • John Brooks has been appointed as the centre referee. The match official has already served 26 games this season, showing an average of 4 yellow cards and also whistles 22 fouls per game. 
  • Leeds won only one of the 4 last matches of the season (a draw and 2 defeats).
  • Southampton do not know defeat in 3 matches of the season in a row (2 wins, 1 draw).
  • Southampton have not lost in 5 of their last 7 matches against this opponent.
  • In the last 5 games, Leeds conceded an average of 1.80 goals per game and scored an average of 1.80 goals per game.
  • In the last 5 games, Southampton conceded an average of 1.60 goals per game and scored an average of 1.00 goals per game.

What has been said before the match:

Daniel Farke, coach of Leeds, emphasized the significance of the play-off final, describing it as a pivotal moment where mistakes cannot be rectified:

Play-off final is always special because it’s a do-or-die game, you can’t repair mistakes. You can repair over 46 games with some other good results. In cup games you have to be spot on, the focus is pretty special and the concentration level is very high.”

“You have to make sure the players are not over-motivated or excited. I quite like that we’ve had time to prepare and to work with the players because even during the season we were at our best when we had time to work on habits, contents and principles. Only negative is the opposition manager has had time to prepare as well.”

“I always like challenges, where you can create something special. If possible create a bit of a legacy. There are coaching legends here at Leeds, we all know their names, hopefully, in a few years when we can bring the club back, I can be proud I played a little part in the history of this club. The first step is to return back to the Premier League.”

“Never in Wembley before, first time for me but it’s no major news that there are spotlight games or sold-out stadiums, so for that it’s important when you want to lead a young group, to show this leadership, to show what’s capable and to lead with the right choices.”

“Important to send the messages, to be focused on ourselves rather than trying to pretend to be something we are not. We will not try to do something completely different. It’s important to find a good balance, I am highly motivated, focused, and keep going with a smile on your face.”

Russell Martin, the gaffer of the Saints, spoke passionately about his love for the game, highlighting the joy he finds in coaching and training with his team:

“That time you get on the grass is the best part of the job for me. It’s a big motivation to get there personally, with this team and club. It would definitely be one of the perks of getting to the Premier League – having that time to train and to work and try some really crazy stuff on the training pitch. The dream is to put this team out on the biggest stage every week, to show what they can do and how brave they can be. Now we’re just one game from doing that.”

“There won’t be any different messages to any other game this season and we’ll train the same way. But we can’t pretend it’s a normal game otherwise, because it isn’t. It’s a huge occasion and that has to come into the thinking because we have to prepare the players for that.”

“I presume most people would see finishing fourth in this league with Southampton as a failure. But we were worse than the two teams who came down last season with us, we had three different managers and we had to sell players. I was delighted with the squad we had, but of course, there would be some level of damage and hurt caused by the relegation. I’m really proud of what we achieved this season.”

“I do what feels right for me, and that’s to care and give as much as I can to people. That’s always my intention. All I want to do is help develop players as people and footballers as best as I can.”

Leeds United vs Southampton Prediction:

Regular season trends and statistics rarely translate into decisive matches, especially when they take place on neutral ground – England’s premier stadium, Wembley. With all the hard work of the 23/24 campaign at stake, this is a final that both opponents are tuning up for, motivation will be at an all-time high and the coaches have spent plenty of time learning all the opposition’s tricks. There are no favourites here, suffice it to recall the Europa League final – Bayer had not known defeat for 51 games before meeting Atalanta, but that did not prevent the Italians from defeating Xabi Alonso’s men. The teams are worth each other. The history of head-to-head meetings this season is behind the Saints, who have prevailed in the two matches played. Many other metrics are similar for the clubs, for example, the away form in this Championship campaign is almost identical: Southampton are third in the league in away points, Leeds are fourth. In such a confrontation, it is the coaching experience that can decide everything: Russell Martin has only been coaching since 2019 and he may be lacking the experience of such pivotal confrontations. His vis-a-vis, Daniel Farke, has a long track record stretching back to 2009. The German coach has twice won a Championship play-off series with Norwich — in 2019 and 2021. And that trump card is up the Yorkshire head coach’s sleeve. We expect that Leeds will not lose in the regular time of a match not very rich in goals.

Parimatch News staff prediction:

We say: Leeds United will not lose in the regular time – Yes.

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