Stalemate in Steel City Derby Hands Advantage Back to Leeds

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Sheffield Wednesday’s fan base quadrupled in size as the Leeds United faithful defected for one night, only in the hope that Steve Bruce’s men would be able to trip up Sheffield United in the Monday night Steel City derby. A dogged display from Bruce’s men was enough to earn a draw and ensure that there wouldn’t be any Monday blues in West Yorkshire, as the Whites remained in the automatic promotion positions.

The affair at Hillsborough was keenly followed by every team in the top half of the Championship, as a Blades win would almost certainly make it a three-horse race for promotion, but a Wednesday win would see Bruce’s troops become legitimate contenders for a top six finish. As it happens now, a stalemate leaves both teams just short of where they would like to be.

There would have been a sense of optimism around Leeds with the upcoming Steel City derby that Bielsa’s men could, in fact, stay in the automatic promotion spots after the Whites turned on the style to crush West Brom 4-0 in front of a rocking Elland Road. The best football betting tips of the day from the pros on betconnect also predicted that the Owls would be looking to blunt the Blades with a tight derby draw forecast at 5/2 as well as under 2.5 goals at 4/5. The last two Steel City derbies leading up to the clash at Hillsborough ended goalless, so Norwich and Leeds could be forgiven for thinking their quest for automatic promotion would be aided after the South Yorkshire derby.

Even if the spoils were shared, it’s still congested at the summit of the Championship with only four points separating first from third but any advantage at this stage of the season could prove pivotal. The twists and turns won’t be in short supply, however, and, if any further proof was needed, just consider for a second that Leeds still have to play both the Blades and the Owls during the run-in.

It’s looking more and more likely that Sheffield Wednesday will have a deciding say in who makes it to the Premier League out of the Whites and the Blades, especially now that they look a far more assured side since Steve Bruce’s appointment. Promotion campaigns are emotional experiences at the best of times but, when the road to the promised land is littered with local derbies, it becomes all the more dramatic.

Should Leeds repeat the performance they put in against West Brom for their next 11 games, then they will go up as champions but consistency is becoming quite hard to come by for Bielsa’s men. Sticking the ball in the back of the net as freely as they did against the Baggies is far from a given at Leeds. Far too often, chances go begging only for the opposition to sucker-punch the Whites to claim the three points in a game where Leeds should have been out of sight by halftime.

Meanwhile, Chris Wilder has the Blades looking sharp and clinical despite drawing a blank at Hillsborough. It’s a unique brand of football that Sheffield United play and one can’t help but admire how eye-catching as well as successful it is. Their overlapping centre-backs have tickled many a pundit covering their games this season.

Both Leeds and Sheffield United would be worthy of promotion to the Premier League and based purely on a footballing perspective, you’d like to think one of them would be able to go up via the playoffs should Norwich carry on dismantling their opposition in the Championship.

With 33 points still to play for, it’s hard to say for absolute certainty how this will play out but both West and South Yorkshire will hope they are on the right side of history come the end of May.