Leeds United vs Blackburn Rovers: Preview and Prediction

Leeds United will be eager to return to winning ways when they welcome Blackburn Rovers to Elland Road on Saturday.

The 2023/24 EFL Championship season is on the verge of reaching its curtain call. Matchday 43 begins on Saturday, with only five rounds of fixtures remaining for the regular campaign to end. The action gets underway at Elland Road, where Leeds United will host Blackburn Rovers.

The EFL Championship title race is going down the wire, with Leicester City sitting atop the table level on points with Ipswich Town and a point ahead of Leeds United. The Whites have been incredible since the turn of the year, losing only once in the league thus far in 2024. That has helped the West Yorkshire club close the gap to the Foxes to only one point.

On the other hand, Blackburn Rovers have found themselves in the relegation dogfight. The visitors were once as high as seventh in the standings but have been on a free fall in the last few months. They have won only two of their most recent 21 Championship games, dropping to 18th on the table while costing Jon Dahl Tomasson his job. However, John Eustace has failed to galvanise the squad since his arrival.

The reverse fixture saw Leeds United beat Blackburn Rovers 2-0, with Daniel James and Crysencio Summerville finding the back of the net. 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 Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, the Leeds United manager will be bereft of the services of two first-team players.

Pascal Struijk and Darko Gyabi are the only absentees for Leeds United, with the duo recovering from their respective groin injuries. Meanwhile, Stuart Dallas has called time on his career due to recurring injuries, which have shown no signs of letting up.

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 Blackburn Rovers. The backline should feature Archie Gray, Joe Rodon, Ethan Ampadu, and Junior Firpo.

As for the midfield unit, there is no looking past Ilia Gruev and Glen Kamara in the double pivot. Georginio Rutter will reprise the no. 10 role, playing behind Joel Piroe in the central spots. Finally, Daniel James and Crysencio Summerville should be the two wide attackers for the home side.

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

Blackburn Rovers

Unlike his counterpart in the Leeds United dugout, John Eustace has several pressing issues to deal with ahead of the trip to Elland Road. The Blackburn Rovers manager will be without five first-team players on Saturday.

The midfield unit, in particular, faces an injury crisis, with Amor Sigurdsson (ankle), Harry Leonard (back), John Fleck (calf), and Yasin Ayari (hamstring) on the sidelines. In addition, Ryan Hedges (thigh) is in the treatment room and will return to action next month.

Blackburn Rovers will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Leeds United, with Aynsley Pears taking his spot between the sticks. The defensive quartet should comprise Callum Brittain, Dominic Hyam, Kyle McFadzean, and Harry Pickering.

As for the midfield unit, Sondre Tronstad and Andrew Moran should pair up in the double pivot, with the duo looking to keep things tight in the middle of the park. Sammie Szmodics should reprise the no. 10 role, with Dilan Markanday and Tyrhys Dolan being the two wide attackers. Finally, Sam Gallagher will spearhead the Blackburn attack against Leeds.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pears; Brittain, Hyam, McFadzean, Pickering; Tronstad, Moran; Markanday, Szmodics, Dolan; Gallagher

Key Stats

  • Leeds United have won seven of their last eight (L1) and their four most recent meetings with Blackburn Rovers, scoring at least twice in those four victories.
  • Blackburn Rovers won three consecutive away league games against Leeds United between January 2014 and October 2015 but have since lost three successive matches at Elland Road.
  • Leeds United have kept 19 clean sheets in the EFL Championship this season, more than any other side. The Whites are looking to have 20 shut-outs in a league campaign for only the third time this century, doing so in 2007/08 (20) and 2019/20 (22).
  • Blackburn Rovers have won only one of their last 17 away league games in Yorkshire (D4 L12), a 1-0 win at Hull City in October 2022. They have lost on their three most recent trips to Yorkshire.
  • Daniel Farke has won four of his five meetings with Blackburn Rovers in the Championship. The exception, a 1-1 draw, came the last time his team faced Rovers at home (with Norwich City in March 2021).

Player to Watch

Crysencio Summerville

Embed from Getty Images

He was our pick in the last preview ahead of a Leeds United game, and the situation has not changed. The Whites have struggled to be productive in the final third in the two most recent matches, only finding the back of the net once in those outings.

So, the onus is on Summerville to deliver the goods in the final third, considering his exploits thus far this term. The 22-year-old has 18 goals and nine assists in 42 appearances across all competitions. The Dutchman rising to the occasion might mean Leeds United will be a step closer to clinching the much-needed three points.


Leeds United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers

Neither team can afford to drop any points. While Leeds United have fallen to the third spot in the EFL Championship standings, Blackburn Rovers have gradually found themselves in the relegation dogfight. So, three points are like gold dust for both clubs heading into Saturday’s clash.

However, Leeds United have barely missed a step at Elland Road this season, going unbeaten in 21 outings thus far (W16 D5). Considering Blackburn’s horrendous form, the Whites do not face a threat.

However, strange things often happen during the final matchdays of a league campaign. But we will not see any of that apart from a late consolation goal from Blackburn Rovers, as The Hard Tackle predicts Leeds United to win 2-1 on Saturday.

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