EFL Championship Semi-finals: Marcelo Bielsa‘s Leeds United welcomes Frank Lampard’s Derby County
None of the previous 17 teams that have lost the first leg of a Championship Semi-final at home, have progressed to the final.
Leeds United will have their chance to attain Premier league promotion if they win against Derby County on Wednesday. They won the first leg 1-0 on aggregate, away from home and Marco Bielsa need to get his tactics right to stop the travelling Derby side from scoring.
(Marco Bielsa (sitting) and Frank Lampard (standing) during the first leg Semi-final)
Controversial First leg
Leeds striker, Kemar Roofe’s solitary goal clinched the win for them in the first leg. The turning point of the game was when Derby’s penalty decision was overturned by referee Craig Pawson. Had the penalty been given and Derby scored, the aggregate would have been 1-1 going into the second leg.
(Referee Craig Pawson in discussion with the linesman over the penalty decision,which was eventually overturned)
Kemar Roofe’s Injury – A Huge Blow
Unfortunately, Leeds will be without their striker Kemar Roofe in the second leg. He has been side lined due to a calf injury. Marcelo Bielsa has the option of picking Patrick Bamford as his replacement, after he returns from a two game suspension. Their midfielder, Adam Forshaw will also be ruled out due to injury. He played a pivotal role in the first leg. The team is expecting Pontus Jansson to be fit for the return leg, depending on his performance in training.
(Kemar Roofe's injury is a huge blow to Leeds United)
Frank Lampard Has a Monumental Task Ahead
Former Chelsea player and Derby County’s manager Frank Lampard has been impressive since he took over managerial duties in 2018. He has led the side to the Championship semi-finals in his debut season. That said, he has not been able to overcome Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United. Of the three games he has played against them, he has ended up losing them all.
If Leeds beat Derby in the return leg, they will be creating history by winning four games against the same opponent in a single season. Previously, they have won only thrice against the same opponent in a single campaign.
"The emotion is an ingredient that allows you to better your skills.This is something normal and natural and we want to play the game in these conditions."
-Marco Bielsa, Leeds manager on the atmosphere during the 2nd Leg
Marco Bielsa Has a Second Chance for PL Promotion
Despite being second in the table, a stale-mate against Aston Villa and losing to Ipswich town in the final game caused them to drop to third place. They blew their chance at direct promotion to the Premier league, forcing them to enter the Championship Play-offs.
( Leeds and Ipswich fans invading the pitch post Ipwich's victory over Leeds during the final game of the Championship)
Of the last 45 home matches played, Leeds has lost only two of them. Defeating Leeds at home is a Herculean task for Frank Lampard. None of the previous 17 teams that have lost the first leg of a Championship semi-final at home have progressed to the final. Beating Derby in the semi-finals and Aston Villa in the finals at Wembley would secure a Premier league promotion for Leeds, after fifteen long years.