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Leeds logo
Championship | 2nd Leg
May 16, 2024 at 8pm UK
Elland Road
Norwich logo

4 - 0

Gruev (7'), Piroe (20'), Rutter (40'), Summerville (68')
Gruev (54'), Rutter (56')
FT(HT: 3-0)

Rowe (37'), McLean (90+1')

Preview: Leeds United vs. Norwich City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Championship clash between Leeds United and Norwich City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

A place in the Championship playoff final is up for grabs when Leeds United welcome Norwich City to Elland Road for the second leg of their semi-final showdown on Thursday night.

The tie is delicately poised after both teams could not be separated in a goalless stalemate in last weekend's first leg at Carrow Road.

Victory for either side will set up a Wembley showdown with the winners of the second semi-final between Southampton and West Bromwich Albion.

Match preview

Leeds United head coach Daniel Farke on May 12, 2024.© Reuters

Tight affairs tend to be played out in the first leg of playoff ties, but there were hopes that both Leeds and Norwich, two of the Championship's most attack-minded teams, would provide the Carrow Road faithful with an entertaining contest last Sunday.

However, both sides cancelled each other out and lacked the cutting edge required to take a valuable advantage into the second leg. Just 13 shots were registered in the entire match, which also had an xG of just 0.76; only four Championship fixtures have had fewer shots and a lower xG this season.

Daniel Farke would presumably have been the happier of the two managers to come away from Norfolk with a draw, considering his Leeds side came up against a Norwich outfit that have not lost on home soil since November 5. The German will still have concerns about his team's recent form, though.

Indeed, the Whites enter Thursday's fixture having won only one of their last seven matches and have failed to score in four of those, including two of their last three games at Elland Road.

Leeds have come out on top in their last two home meetings with Norwich, though, including a 1-0 win in January, so there is reason to be optimistic as they endeavour to reach an EFL playoff final for the fourth time and first time since the League One showpiece in 2007-08.

Norwich City manager David Wagner before the match on January 28, 2024© Reuters

Norwich also find themselves in a difficult spell of form as they have only won two of their last eight matches since the beginning of April, failing to win any of their last four in the process. They have also come out on top in just four of their last 10 away fixtures.

A first-leg draw with Leeds on home soil was considered by some quarters of the Canaries fanbase as a disappointment, but manager David Wagner has insisted that they have not 'automatically handed an advantage' to the Whites, who will host the return fixture at Elland Road.

Norwich's recent head-to-head record with Leeds leaves little to be desired, as they have won just two of their last 12 meetings with the Whites across all competitions. Their most recent triumph was at Elland Road, though, in February 2019 under the tutelage of current Leeds boss Farke, who steered the Canaries to a 3-1 win in the Championship en route to winning the title.

In what is their third appearance in an EFL playoff, Norwich are seeking to reach the final at Wembley Stadium for the third time, having previously done so in 2002 and 2015. Success on Thursday would see the Canaries become only the sixth team to reach the final with a 100% record having won at least three playoff semi-finals.

Leeds United Championship form:

Norwich City Championship form:

Team News

Kenny McLean and Georginio Rutter in action for Norwich City and Leeds United on May 12, 2024.© Reuters

Leeds defender Pascal Struijk has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing groin surgery, while striker Patrick Bamford is facing a few weeks on the sidelines and will be a major doubt if the Whites make the playoff final, as he is nursing a "minor trauma to his patellar tendon".

Daniel James managed to shake off a costal cartilage injury and an oblique abdominal muscle tear to feature as a second-half substitute in the first leg, and the Welsh winger will be pushing to start on the right flank ahead of Wilfried Gnonto, who has failed to score or assist in his last three home games.

Farke could be tempted to name the same midfield trio of 18-year-old Archie Gray - who made his 50th appearance for the club last weekend - Glen Kamara and Ilia Gruev, but one of those could make way for Joel Piroe to start in attack if the German boss opts to bolster his frontline that should also include Georginio Rutter and Crysencio Summerville.

Summerville has been one of Leeds' standout performers this season and is the club's top scorer with 19 goals in 44 league appearances, including 11 strikes at Elland Road; only Blackburn Rovers' Sammie Szmodics (27) and Southampton's Adam Armstrong (21) have scored more than the Dutchman thus far.

As for Norwich, they are sweating over the fitness of striker Joshua Sargent who was forced off in the closing stages of the first leg with an ankle injury.

USA international Sargent is the Canaries' leading marksman this term with 16 goals in 26 league outings, with 13 of those strikes netted since the turn of the year, but he has emerged as a doubt for Thursday's contest.

Ashley Barnes is also a doubt after missing the first leg with a calf problem, so the potential absence of him and Sargent could see forward Sydney van Hooijdonk handed his first start for the Canaries since joining the club on loan from Bologna in January.

Midfielder Liam Gibbs (muscle) and attacker Onel Hernandez (broken foot) both remain in the treatment room, but Jon Rowe was fit to start the first leg and the 12-goal winger is expected to retain his place on the right flank, supported in attack by Borja Sainz.

Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Byram, Rodon, Ampadu, Firpo; Gray, Gruev, Kamara; Gnonto, Rutter, Summerville

Norwich City possible starting lineup:
Gunn; Stacey, Duffy, Gibson, Giannoulis; Nunez, McLean, Sara; Rowe, Van Hooijdonk, Sainz

SM words green background

We say: Leeds United 2-1 Norwich City (Leeds United to win 2-1 on aggregate)

Leeds will certainly fancy their chances of success in front of a fired-up Elland Road crowd and have already beaten Norwich on home soil this season, so they enter Thursday's contest as slight favourites.

The potential absence of top scorer Sargent would be a huge blow for the Canaries, and although they can rely on other star attackers to step up in the final third, they may just come up short against the Whites this time around.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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