Sheffield Wednesday welcome Leeds United to Hillsborough on Sunday lunchtime, after a week that has dealt blows to the promotion hopes of both clubs.
The visitors will want to recover quickly from their deserved 3-1 loss at Cardiff, while The Owls may still be slightly shaken by their 4-2 Steel City Derby defeat to bitter rivals Sheffield United.
Carlos Carvalhal’s men are 6/5 (2.2) with bet365 to win and ease the pressure on their head coach, which intensified after another lacklustre performance in midweek; they lost 1-0 at Birmingham, mustering only three shots on target, even if they were perhaps unlucky to see Gary Hooper’s goal ruled offside.
Thomas Christiansen’s men are 21/10 (3.1) to inflict a third straight defeat on Wednesday, but The Whites themselves are having a mini-blip with two losses in three league games. Despite some excellent football from Leeds at times this season, Cardiff exposed their difficulties in negating aggressive, physical midfields, especially when neither Eunan O’Kane nor Ronaldo Vieira start.
After a big recent defeat for both teams, a stalemate at 12/5 (3.4) looks plausible, however if Leeds can recover the confidence that has seen them become second-top scorers in the division, they may take advantage of the problems at Hillsborough early on.
Wednesday tend to start slowly, having been behind after 10 minutes in two of their last four games and are 7/2 (4.5) to trail at that point again, whilst their West Yorkshire opponents have scored 11 first half goals, more than any other side and are 10/1 (11) to lead with over 1.5 goals at the break.
They are also 13/5 (3.6) simply to be ahead at half-time, odds that imply a probability of 29%; in fact, Leeds leading at the break – or Wednesday trailing – has happened in 45% of matches involving either side this season.
Pierre-Michel Lasogga, who averages a goal every 109 minutes in the Championship, looks likely to return to the starting line-up and is 7/4 (2.75) to score anytime. With the same odds, Hooper can be backed to score at any point and add to his five-goal tally in the Championship this season.
Leeds though remain just three points off the top and the best value lies with them doing the damage early on.