Leeds United vs Southampton: Preview and Prediction

Leeds United will hope for a miracle at Portman Road when they welcome Southampton to Elland Road on Saturday.

The 2023/24 EFL Championship regular season ends on Saturday with Matchday 46, with all 13 matches kicking off simultaneously. The battle for the second spot on the table has gone down the wire, with Ipswich Town hoping to seal the position by beating Huddersfield Town at home. However, Leeds United will hope for a miracle from the Terriers and aim to beat Southampton at Elland Road.

Daniel Farke will be ruing the several missed opportunities to seal automatic promotion to the Premier League in the last few weeks. The Whites had done well to plug the gap to Leicester City at the top of the table with an excellent start to 2024. However, things have gone pear-shaped for Leeds in recent outings, as they have won only one of their five most recent games to drop to third, three points behind Ipswich Town.

As for Southampton, the Saints have been the fourth-best team in the EFL Championship on the balance of things. However, they, too, had the opportunity to seal automatic promotion after the top three dropped points in April. However, after coming within four points of newly-crowned champions Leicester City, three successive losses ended all hopes of a top-two finish.

The reverse fixture saw Southampton cruise to a 3-1 win over Leeds United, with Pascal Struijk scoring a consolation goal for the Whites. 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 final EFL Championship regular season fixture. Against Southampton on Saturday, the Leeds United manager will be bereft of the services of three first-team players.

Daniel James is the most notable absentee, with the Welshman recovering from an abdominal issue. Pascal Struijk and Darko Gyabi are the other absentees, with the duo recovering from their respective groin issues.

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

As for the midfield unit, there is no looking past Glen Kamara and Ilia Gruev in the double pivot. Georginio Rutter will take his place behind the central striker, with Joel Piroe spearheading the Leeds United attack. Finally, Crysencio Summerville and Jaidon Anthony should be the two wide attackers for the home side.

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


Like his counterpart in the Leeds United dugout, Russell Martin does not have any new issues to deal with ahead of the trip to Elland Road. The Southampton manager will be without four first-team players on Saturday.

Stuart Armstrong is the most notable absentee, with the Scottish midfielder recovering from a hamstring injury. The 32-year-old accompanies Gavin Bazunu (Achilles), Juan Larios (thigh), and Ross Stewart (muscle injury) on the sidelines.

Southampton will line up in a 4-3-3 formation against Leeds United, with Alex McCarthy picking himself in the goal in Bazunu’s absence. The backline should consist of Kyle Walker-Peters, Jan Bednarek, Jack Stephens, and James Bree.

As for the midfield unit, Flynn Downes will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park, with Will Smallbone and Joe Aribo accompanying him in the central areas. Finally, Che Adams will lead the line for Southampton, with Adam Armstrong and Samuel Edozie completing the numbers in the attack.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Stephens, Bree; Smallbone, Downes, Aribo; Edozie, Adams, Adam Armstrong

Key Stats

  • Leeds United have won eight of their 13 most recent home league matches against Southampton (D3 L2), beating them 1-0 in the Premier League last season at Elland Road thanks to a goal from Junior Firpo.
  • Southampton can complete a league double over Leeds United for the first time since 2011/12 when they won promotion to the EFL Championship under former manager Nigel Adkins.
  • Leeds United have won their final league game of the season in four of the last six terms, although they lost to Tottenham Hotspur in 2022/23. The Whites have not ended a campaign with defeat in consecutive years since doing so in 2005/06 and 2006/07.
  • Outside of the Premier League this century, Southampton have won their final league match of the season in six of their last seven terms (L1), with Saturday’s clash their first such fixture since 2011/12 when they won 4-0 against Coventry City.
  • Leeds United have lost three of their last five league matches (W1 D1), as many as they had in their previous 27 games combined (W20 D4 L3). They have shipped ten goals in these outings, with the ten strikes before that coming in a spell of 19 matches.

Player to Watch

Joe Rodon

Embed from Getty Images

As iterated earlier, Leeds United have conceded ten goals in their last five Championship games. They had shipped as many strikes in 19 previous outings. So, it is clear how vulnerable they have been in recent clashes, with their defensive frailties potentially costing them automatic promotion to the Premier League.

However, with the hosts still having a slim chance of snatching the second spot from Ipswich Town, Joe Rodon’s performance at the heart of the defence will hold the key on Saturday. The Welshman has been a top-notch addition to the Leeds United backline, compelling the West Yorkshire club to consider permanently signing him this summer. However, he needs to help his team return to the Premier League to end an excellent campaign on a high.


Leeds United 2-1 Southampton

Neither side has form or momentum heading into the final league game of the 2023/24 EFL Championship season. Playoffs beckons Leeds United and Southampton unless Huddersfield Town can spring a surprise on Ipswich Town.

However, the two teams’ defensive frailties mean an end-to-end affair is on the cards at Elland Road. The Hard Tackle predicts a gilt-edged clash that will produce a glut of chances before Daniel Farke and his men seal a 2-1 win. However, that might not be enough to finish second in the standings if Ipswich Town can get past Huddersfield without losing.

Leave Comment


Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.