Sky Sports pundit David Prutton has suggested Leeds United will be “too good” for Middlesbrough to handle when the two sides meet on Saturday afternoon.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites welcome Jonathan Woodgate’s Boro to Elland Road for matchday 19 of the Championship season, sitting second in the standings and just two points shy of league-leaders West Bromwich Albion.
Middlesbrough, meanwhile, travel to Elland Road just a point above the relegation places, having pulled themselves up the table by beating Barnsley 1-0 on Wednesday through Ashley Fletcher’s third goal of the season.
The result marked an end to Boro’s ten-game winless run, dating back to when they beat Reading 1-0 in September for their second three-points of the term after a 1-0 win over Wigan Athletic in August.
Only bottom-placed Barnsley have won fewer times than Woodgate’s Riverside natives, who actually hold the joint-tenth best defensive record in the Championship having conceded 23 times in their 18 games played.
Scoring goals has been an issue for the Wearside outfit, though, as they have only managed to fire home a joint-league low 16 times, and should struggle on Saturday with Bielsa’s Leeds holding the best defensive record in the second-tier having shipped just ten all season.
And former Leeds striker Prutton does not expect Boro to score any on Saturday, with his prediction for this afternoon’s encounter a 2-0 win for the Whites, who he firmly expects will be the standout star of the show.
What will the result be on Saturday?
“Another late win for Leeds at Reading on Tuesday night,” Prutton noted in his weekly predictions for Sky Sports. “Marcelo Bielsa’s side and West Brom are starting to give themselves a little bit of daylight away from the rest.
“Middlesbrough got a massive win in midweek to ease the pressure on Jonathan Woodgate and lift themselves out of the relegation zone, but Leeds will be too good for them at Elland Road.”
Despite struggling to score this season, Middlesbrough actually rank eighth for shots taken when on the road in the league with 11.9 efforts per game, of which only 3.3 per game have been on target.
They could struggle to meet their numbers on Saturday afternoon, though, as we hold the best defensive record in the Championship for shots allowed when at home, having given up just 7.4 shots per game, while recording the second-most tackles with 19.6, second-most interceptions with 12.4 and catch the opponent offside the most with 3.1 per game.