Kick-off: 1500, 02/10/2021
Stadium: Elland Road
Leeds are one of five teams still waiting for a first Premier League win of the season and are under pressure to get up and running when they host Watford.
The Whites have only managed three draws and three defeats from their opening six games and start the weekend in the relegation zone.
Nobody at Elland Road will be panicking yet but a home win looks too short at 4/5 and we prefer the visitors to avoid defeat at 21/20 as our opening Leeds vs Watford prediction.
A Look At Leeds United’s Betting Odds
Talk of second-season syndrome may be premature but Leeds are struggling to reproduce the success they enjoyed in their first year back in the top flight.
They made a bright start last weekend when Brazilian winger Raphinha fired Leeds into a first-half lead but left-back Junior Firpo’s own goal, deflected in off Jarrod Bowen’s cross, hauled West Ham level.
Michail Antonio then struck in the 90th minute to snatch victory for West Ham and Leeds have now failed to win any of their first six games at the start of a league campaign for the first time in 69 years.
Boss Marcelo Bielsa said: “The succession of bad results, the absence of points, the position in the table, they are all factors that affect the morale of any team, but when the performance is not negative, the recovery is more probable.”
Leeds were without Patrick Bamford, Diego Llorente, Robin Koch, Luke Ayling and the suspended Pascal Struijk, who at least returns this weekend.
Raphinha was withdrawn after aggravating a hip problem and Jack Harrison started on the bench after a recent bout of Covid so a Leeds squad which lacks depth has been stretched and several of those players could be missing again.
They are creating chances but only rock-bottom Norwich have conceded more goals so, looking at the Leeds vs Watford odds, we like over 3.5 goals at 6/4.
Last Leeds line-up: Meslier, Junior Firpo, Cooper, Cresswell, Dallas, James, Phillips, Klich, Shackleton, Raphinha, Rodrigo.
Bamford has not recovered from an ankle injury and Ayling requires minor knee surgery, but Raphinha (hip) is available after being forced out of the West Ham game and defender Llorente (muscle strain) is also back in contention.
Germany defender Koch remains sidelined with a troublesome pelvic injury and midfielder Adam Forshaw (muscle strain) is still out.
A Look At Watford’s Betting Odds
Watford were widely tipped for relegation at the start of the season but last week’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle means they have seven points on the board and can be satisfied with their efforts.
They fell behind to Sean Longstaff’s first-half goal but levelled when Ismaila Sarr found himself unmarked to nod home at the far post in the 72nd minute.
The Hornets thought they had a winner three minutes from time when Josh King slotted the ball past goalkeeper Karl Darlow, but VAR ruled the goal out for offside.
Watford’s front three of King, Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis can certainly cause problems for a shaky Leeds defence and Sarr has four goals already this season.
Watford have put three goals past both Aston Villa and Norwich, while the pressure is on Leeds to attack.
With that in mind, there may be some value in backing the visitors to score at least three goals – as they have on their last three visits to Elland Road – at 6/1 to complete our Leeds vs Watford betting tips.
Last Watford line-up: Foster, Rose, Troost-Ekong, Cathcart, Kiko, Cleverley, Sissoko, Kucka, King, Sarr, Dennis.
Midfielder Peter Etebo suffered a torn quad muscle against Newcastle and is set to miss “four to five months” according to boss Xisco Munoz. It is a blow for the Hornets but could see summer arrival Ozan Tufan handed a full debut at Elland Road.
Tom Cleverley will also be part of the travelling squad after he passed concussion return-to-training protocols following a blow to the face against the Magpies while goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann (knee) is fit again.
LEEDS 1-2 West Ham – Raphinha
WATFORD 1-1 Newcastle – Ismaili Sarr
Head-to-head: Watford 1-0 Leeds, Leeds 2-3 Watford, Watford 4-1 Leeds, Watford 3-0 Leeds, Leeds 3-3 Watford, Watford 1-2 Leeds, Leeds 1-6 Watford
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