Match Preview – Leeds United

It’s difficult to oversell this match. Boxing Day games in themselves are special occasions, but this fixture in recent years has always been important. Simon Grayson saw his new Leeds side snatch a 1-1 draw on Boxing Day 2008 in his first game in charge, while Sven got his first win as Leicester manager at Eland Road earlier this season.

Since the two sides met back in October the fortunes of both have been rising, dramatically so for Leeds, who hold the Championship’s longest current unbeaten run (9 matches). Put simply, the Leeds side which City convincingly swept aside in October is unlikely to be the team which will step into the Walkers Stadium on Boxing Day.

But Leicester are a particularly difficult nut to crack at home these days, unbeaten in seven at the Walkers Stadium. It has hardly been a happy hunting ground in the past for the visitors either. Leeds have taken just two points from five visits to the Walkers, scoring twice and conceding nine. Indeed the last winning goalscorers for Leeds in Leicester were Mark Viduka and Robbie Fowler back in March 2002.

These sides’ matches have contained 143 goals between them, an average of 3.25 per game, so there should be plenty of highlights and the first goal will probably settle nothing. Leicester have won two league matches after conceding first, whilst Leeds have won four.

Of the likely scorers one man in the goals is Max Gradel, who has scored six in the last nine appearances. Meanwhile, if selected, Steve Howard will be looking for his fifth career goal against the Whites. A goal for Leicester from anyone would be their 100th in the league against Leeds at home.

Steve Howard to score first & Leicester to win 2-1 is 45/1 with William Hill. That would be nice, wouldn’t it.

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