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Will it be Leeds or Sheffield United in second-place after their game on Saturday? Get Championship tips

Ben Darvill 14 Mar 2019

Can Sheffield United dent Leeds' automatic-promotion bid on their own turf, will Norwich maintain their place at the top, and can Aston Villa continue their impressive run? Read on for our best bets for the games in the Championship this weekend. 

Leeds vs Sheffield United (Saturday, 12:30 GMT)

What a game we have to start another weekend in the Championship, with second-placed Leeds hosting third-placed Sheffield United. Leeds come into this one in a good run of form that has seen the damage from their mid-season wobble limited. 22 wins in 37 games have come along with seven draws and eight losses, while they have netted 63 times, conceding 38 along the way. Impressively, their last game ended in a very comfortable 3-0 away win over Reading as Pablo Hernandez starred with a brace to maintain United’s promotion charge. Sheffield United also arrive in good form, and they are just two points behind their next opponents after winning 21 times and losing eight, while they have also scored 63 goals, conceding 34 times. While they were reduced to 10-men in their last game after just 35 minutes, they still managed to come out on top against Brentford as they won 2-0 to keep up the pressure on the sides above them. Impressively, they were completely dominated by their opponent who looked to make the most out of their numerical advantage, but Sheffield would not be breached as they held onto their clean sheet in impressive style. This one will likely be an incredibly exciting and hard-fought game, with the pair knowing that second-place is very much on the line. 

At home this season, Leeds have looked very strong, winning 12 of their 18 games, losing three and drawing the other three in a run that has really strengthened their automatic-promotion bid. Indeed, they have won their last three home games in a row, while they have only tasted defeat once in their last seven games, winning five of these matches. Sheffield United meanwhile are also on a good run, and they have not lost a game since they were beaten 1-0 by Swansea on January 19. This means they are unbeaten in their last nine games, winning six of these matches, which has helped to see the side move onto eight away wins in 18. Despite the away side looking like a very tough prospect to beat, Leeds have been awesome at home, and we think the crowd will help them to come out on top in what should be a hugely exciting game, and we are backing the home side at 23/20 with William Hill. 

Rotherham vs Norwich (Saturday, 15:00 GMT)

This season has been a real struggle for Rotherham as they continue to languish in and around the relegation zone. Just seven wins in 37 attempts has not been good enough, while they have lost 15 and drawn 15, scoring 39 times and conceding 59 goals. However, there is some hope for the side after they were able to best QPR 2-1 at Loftus Road in an exceptionally exciting game. The scoreline was locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes, but in the fifth minute of injury time Semi Ajayi stepped up to score his second of the game to help Rotherham claw their way onto 36 points, level with Wigan and Reading, with their survival bid strengthened. Visitors Norwich arrive in great form and, after 37 games, they sit at the top of the table with 75 points, two clear of Leeds in second. The Canaries have managed to win 22 of their games whilst only tasting defeat six times. The 75 goals they have scored is massive, although they have conceded a rather weighty 47 goals in this time. Their ability to score and conceded was displayed perfectly in their last game as they beat Hull City 3-2 in an exciting game that saw Norwich maintain their lead at the top of the table. They now turn their attention to a big game against a side fighting for it’s Championship status. 

Rotherham have been far better at home this season than they have been on the road, winning six and losing four of their 18 on their own turf, while they have won just once on the road, losing 11 times. While they have only lost one of their last eight, they have only two wins in this time, with the side unable to turn a point into three. Norwich have not tasted defeat since February 13, with five wins in a row since then, while they have nine wins and just two defeats in 18 away games this year. While we are wary of Rotherham’s stubborn nature at home, we cannot see them keeping out a free-scoring Norwich side that will be desperate to make the most out of one of, or both of Leeds and Sheffield United dropping points at the weekend. In order to add value to this bet, we are backing there to be over 2.5 goals too, with Rotherham seeing this in four of their last six games, while this has been the same for Norwich in nine of their last 10 games. 

Aston Villa vs Middlesbrough (Saturday, 15:00 GMT)

Aston Villa’s fans must be suffering from some serious vertigo after 37 games of their season as the side have been incredibly inconsistent. However, they are currently on a run that looks as though it could end with a play-off spot after the side moved onto 54 points, two short of Derby in sixth. Their last game saw the side come back from an early Jack Colback goal for Nottingham Forest as John McGinn scored twice before Kortney House completed the scoring in the 61st minute. As mentioned, Villa are edging their way closer to the playoff spots, and if they can make it four wins in a row, then all of the pressure will be on the sides around them. Middlesbrough are one of the sides Villa are looking to chase down, with the side floundering of late without a win in three. 58 points from 37 games means they are 15 short of Leeds in second meaning a playoff spot will likely be the sum of what they can achieve, although they are only three points clear of seventh-placed Bristol City and four ahead of Villa so this is hardly a formality. Their last performance was a very poor one as they went down to 10-men and lost 2-1 to Preston at home in a match they would have backed themselves to pick up all three points in. Wednesday was a very disappointing day for the side as they were once again rocked in their playoff chase. 

Villa have been fairly good at home this season, winning seven, drawing eight and losing just three, while Middlesbrough have been similar, winning eight away games, drawing seven and losing three. However, recent form shows the two are worlds apart, with Villa unbeaten in four and winning their last three, while Middlesbrough are winless in three and have lost their last two home games. While we believe this will be a close match, we are shying away from backing a draw, and we are instead picking Villa to win this one after their impressive recent run, with Middlesbrough looking as though they are running out of steam at this vital time of the season. 

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