Premier League Stats
The Head-to-Head record between the two sides is as irrelevant to look at as the Recent Meetings ... because four out of the last five meetings in the league between them date back to a time between 2002 and 2004. I guess the only relevant one to consider is the reverse fixture from earlier this season ... but even that was a long time ago when Leeds were still on a bit of a high of being back in the top flight and we on the other hand were in almost a pre-season mode.
Form Guide shows four green Ws for us out of the last five (league games) but in reality it's actually 27 Wins out of the last 28 (in all competitions) ... Forget about our stats in the Season So Far stats below as well but theirs however reflect the true up and down nature of their season so far. They have had a lot of good press over the season that has kind of masked their actual performances. Compare that to someone else like West Ham who are having a much better season but nowhere near the coverage. I guess the whole hype is more around their manager, Marcelo Bielsa, rather than the club.
Before & After
For us, it's all about Dortmund this week ... before ... and after!
Three games over a span of eight or nine days is not new for us as you can probably pick any ten day period over this whole season and would find us having three fixtures in there (except that one single postponement due to Covid in December). We are used to it ... and it's no different this week.
Leeds United had already finished their last (before) game at home ... then we have gone on and played two 90 minute games since, one against Leicester (A) and now against Dortmund (H) as well. We will go on to play two more games after this one as well ... before they'd play their next one (at home again). So they are on a very cushy one-game-a-week schedule and would be fresh for all that running around they do.
These are their (and our) before and after games:
Sat 3 - 3:00pm - Sheffield United (H) - PL
Sat 10 - 12:30pm - Manchester City (A) - PL
Mon 19 - 8:00pm - Liverpool (H) - PL
Tue 6 - 8:00pm - Dortmund (H) - CL QF
Sat 10 - 12:30pm - Leeds United (H) - PL
Wed 14 - 8:00pm - Dortmund (A) - CL QF
Yes, we want to wrap up the Premier League as soon as we can but in the greater scheme of things, this one is probably the least important game of our season so far ... and I think Pep will treat it like that.
Coincidently when we played them at the start of October in the reverse fixture, that too had come right after we had played Leicester City in the league on the prior weekend (followed by a cup game in the mid-week) ... but that's where any similarities from back then end.
If this game had come a couple of weeks later in say end of April or early May ... by when we possibly have won the title and they have secured another season in the top flight as well ... wait, it actually doesn't feel much different than that ... yes, we haven't yet won the title (mathematically) but we are as good as home and dry on that front ... and they are on that proverbial beach as far as the table is concerned (neither threatened with relegation, nor fighting to get into one of those European places) ... add to it the Champions League Quarter Final ties on both sides of this one for us, and this does have a very end-of-season meaningless game feel to it.
Just everything has aligned here for not being able to get too excited for this one as a fan. For starters, it's that early Saturday kick-off ... and between now and then, we'll hear a lot of the same old clichés from both sides ... the same love-in and mutual respect from both managers for each other ... Leeds will declare it a big game against the champions-elect ... while Pep will keep up with his next-game-is-the-most-important spiel. Yeah, it's a chance for us to take one step closer towards the title ... but that's about it.
Expect a lot of rotation ... again ... while all eyes and focus will remain firmly on finishing the job in Dortmund after this one.
Having predicted a draw against Leicester in our last league game and then seeing how we performed there (especially straight after the International Break) ... I can't see anything but another win for us here.
I doubt it would be the highest scoring game of this season ... given what Villa did to Liverpool early season ... but the nature of this game where not a lot is riding on it for both sides combined with the style of play could very well make this another end-to-end basketball game ...
Manchester City 5 - 2 Leeds United