Leeds United vs Sunderland: Preview and Prediction

Leeds United will be eager to return to winning ways when they welcome Sunderland to Elland Road on Tuesday.

Just five more rounds of fixtures remain for the 2023/24 EFL Championship regular season to end. Matchday 42 gets underway with the table-topping Leicester City taking on Millwall. Leeds United will be in action a few minutes later, with the Whites hosting Sunderland at Elland Road this midweek.

Leeds United have been on a roll in 2024, embarking on an unbeaten start to the year in the EFL Championship until this past weekend. The West Yorkshire club racked up a 15-game run without being at the wrong end of a result, rising to the automatic promotions berths. However, the 2-1 defeat to Coventry City has dropped Daniel Farke and his charges to third on the table.

As for Sunderland, they have endured a horrendous campaign thus far. The Black Cats have sacked two managers, with Tony Mowbray getting the axe in December, while Michael Beale lasted only three months in the job. Mike Dodd replaced Beale in February, and he has overseen a dreadful run of only one win in eight games (D2 L5) to drop to 13th in the standings.

The reverse fixture ended in a 1-0 win for Sunderland, with Jobe Bellingham scoring the match-winning goal. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Leeds United

Daniel Farke does not have any new injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Sunderland on Tuesday, the Leeds United manager will be bereft of the services of three first-team players.

Pascal Struijk (groin) and Stuart Dallas (hip) are closing in on returning to action. But Tuesday’s game has come too soon for the duo. Darko Gyabi (groin) is the only other absentee for the home side. Meanwhile, Farke is sweating over the fitness of Ethan Ampadu.

Illan Meslier will take his usual spot between the sticks, with Leeds United lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him against Sunderland. The backline should feature Connor Roberts, Joe Rodon, and Junior Firpo. Liam Cooper will start alongside Rodon at the heart of the defence if the Welshman is not fit enough to start.

As for the midfield unit, Archie Gray should get the nod over Glen Kamara, joining Ilia Gruev in the double pivot in the middle of the park. Georginio Rutter will reprise the no. 10 role, with Daniel James and Crysencio Summerville being the two wide attackers. Finally, Joel Piroe should spearhead the Leeds United attack instead of Patrick Bamford.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Meslier; Roberts, Rodon, Ampadu, Firpo; Gray, Gruev; James, Rutter, Summerville; Piroe


Unlike his counterpart in the Leeds United dugout, Mike Dodds has a few pressing issues hampering his preparations ahead of the trip to Elland Road. The Sunderland manager will be without five first-team players on Tuesday.

Nazariy Rusyn is the most notable absentee due to his calf injury. The Ukrainian attacker’s absence means Jobe Bellingham will lead the line for Sunderland against Leeds United on Tuesday. Niall Huggins (knee), Dennis Cirkin (hamstring), Corry Evans (ACL), and Jenson Seelt (knee) are the other players on the sidelines.

Sunderland will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Leeds United, with Anthony Patterson being an automatic pick between the sticks. The backline should consist of Trai Hume, Luke O’Nien, Daniel Ballard, and Leo Hjelde.

As for the midfield unit, Pierre Ekwah and Dan Neil should pair up in the double pivot in the middle of the park. Bradley Dack will likely reprise the no. 10 role, with Patrick Roberts and Jack Clarke being the two wide attackers. Finally, Bellingham will spearhead the Sunderland attack on Tuesday.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Patterson; Hume, O’Nien, Ballard, Hjelde; Ekwah, Neil; Roberts, Dack, Clarke; Bellingham

Key Stats

  • Leeds United are without a win in four league games against Sunderland (D1 L3) since a 2-0 victory in the Premier League in April 2002.
  • Sunderland can do the league double over Leeds United outside of the top flight for just the second time after the 2006/07 season.
  • Leeds United are yet to taste defeat at Elland Road in the EFL Championship this season (W16 D4). They can record ten successive home wins in the top two tiers of English football for the first time since 1969.
  • Sunderland’s 2-0 win over Cardiff City last month ended a run of seven successive away games without a victory (D2 L5). They last won consecutive league matches on the road in September.
  • All 11 of Dan James’s home league goals for Leeds United this season have come across the last 14 games, with no player finding the back of the net in more different home matches than him (10).

Player to Watch

Crysencio Summerville

Embed from Getty Images

With Patrick Bamford expected to drop to the bench on Tuesday, the onus of affecting the play in the final third will fall on Crysencio Summerville. The Dutchman has been exceptional thus far in the 2023/24 season, amassing 18 goals and nine assists.

The 22-year-old has piqued the attention of several high-profile clubs in the Premier League with his exploits. However, the short-term objective remains taking Leeds United back to the top flight. So, he will be focused on the job at hand, with the goalscoring burden falling on him in Bamford’s absence.


Leeds United 2-0 Sunderland

With Sunderland being poor travellers, Leeds United will have the opportunity to return to winning ways with a bang. However, despite their shortcomings, the Black Cats should take the game to their hosts, giving them a run for their money.

Jobe Bellingham will threaten again, but Leeds United will have learnt the lesson from the reverse fixture. Meanwhile, Crysencio Summerville and Joel Piroe should deliver the goods in the final third to help Leeds United return to winning ways with a 2-0 win over Sunderland on Tuesday.

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