With a place in the Premier League on the line at Wembley, we look ahead to the Championship play-off final with our Leeds vs Southampton prediction and preview.

Leeds vs Southampton Stats: The Quick Hits

  • The Opta supercomputer predicts Leeds to head back to the top flight, with Daniel Farke’s men winning 43% of pre-match simulations.
  • Southampton did the double over Leeds in the Championship this season, though, including a 2-1 win at Elland Road on the final day.
  • Leeds star Crysencio Summerville is looking for his 30th goal involvement of the season, having scored 20 goals and added nine assists so far.

Match Preview

It’s the fabled ‘money match’ in club football, where the winner will dive headfirst into the riches of the Premier League like Scrooge McDuck.

Of course, that won’t be anything new to whoever wins. Leeds United and Southampton have only been back in the Championship for one season; one will make an immediate return, while the other will have to spend another campaign in the second tier.

This is the third time two relegated teams from the previous campaign have competed in a second-tier play-off final, after Leicester City beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in 1995-96 and West Ham defeated Blackpool by the same score in 2011-12.

It will be the fourth time Leeds have featured in a play-off final, and they would like a change in fortune. They have failed to win promotion on each of the previous three occasions (1986-87, 2005-06, 2007-08); the joint-most play-off finals any team has played in without ever winning promotion via that route (level with Bristol City, Exeter City, Lincoln City and Shrewsbury Town).

Daniel Farke will be looking to mastermind Leeds’ first win at Wembley Stadium since the 1992 Charity Shield (now Community Shield) against Liverpool, when they won 4-3 thanks to an Eric Cantona hat-trick. They have lost on their last two outings at England’s national stadium, most recently in the 2008 League One play-off final to Doncaster Rovers (1-0).

Farke could become the third manager to win promotion to the Premier League three times after Steve Bruce (4) and Neil Warnock (3), following his two title-winning seasons with Norwich City in 2018-19 and 2020-21.

Southampton will be competing in their first ever play-off final, in what is just their second ever play-off campaign following a semi-final exit on penalties to Derby County in 2007.

Their Wembley record is also poor, having lost eight of their 10 previous matches there (W2), including each of their last five. Only Newcastle United (9 between 1974 and 2023), Leicester City (6 between 1949 and 1993) and Brentford (6 between 1930 and 2020) have ever had a longer run of defeats at the venue.

Leeds have scored 98 goals across all competitions this season, their most since 2009-10 (103) when they won automatic promotion from League One under Simon Grayson. The only other manager to guide a Leeds side to 100+ goals across a full campaign is Don Revie (6 times).

Including the play-offs, Southampton have averaged the highest share of possession (66%) in England’s top four tiers this season, while only Manchester City (691 and 24) have recorded more passes and more sequences of 10+ passes per game than Saints (663 and 22) in 2023-24.

A goal or assist for Championship Player of the Season Crysencio Summerville in the final would make him the first Leeds player to record 30+ goal involvements in a league campaign (including play-offs) since Chris Wood in 2016-17, with the Dutchman going into this game on 20 goals and nine assists.

Crysencio Summerville goal involvements

Adam Armstrong is likely to be Southampton’s key goal threat, having scored 23 league goals this season (including play-offs), the most by a Southampton player since Rickie Lambert in 2011-12 (27). The former Blackburn striker has scored four goals in his last three starts against Leeds, including three in two games this season.

Leeds vs Southampton Head-to-Head

Southampton were the only team to do the league double over Leeds this season. Russell Martin’s side won 3-1 at St Mary’s in September thanks to goals from Armstrong (2) and Will Smallbone. Saints also beat Leeds on the final day at Elland Road, with Armstrong and Smallbone again on target in a 2-1 victory.

Leeds v Southampton stats

The last side to lose both league meetings with a team in the regular campaign before beating the same opponent in the second-tier play-off final was Fulham against Brentford in 2019-20.

Leeds and Southampton have met 100 times previously, with the Whites holding 48 wins to Saints’ 30 (D22); of the 19 opponents Leeds have played 100+ times, their win rate against Southampton is their greatest (48%). 

Recent Form

Leeds didn’t end the season well, missing out on automatic promotion to Leicester City and Ipswich Town. They only won one of their last six games, a 4-3 win at Middlesbrough, and lost four of those outings, including at home to Southampton on the last day.

However, their 4-0 win over Norwich in the second leg of their play-off semi-final tie was the biggest victory by any team in a Championship play-off game (since 2004-05), and it carried them through to the final following their goalless draw at Carrow Road.

Southampton beat West Brom to reach this stage, also drawing 0-0 in the first leg before a comfortable 3-1 victory at home. They did also stumble in the closing stages of the regular season, though, losing three of their last four before that 2-1 win at Leeds.

Southampton have won 29 matches across all competitions this season, their most since their promotion-winning campaign of 2011-12 (30), while they have netted 99 goals this term, last notching a century of goals in the 2009-10 season (112).

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off on Sunday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Leeds vs Southampton Prediction

Leeds v Southampton Opta predictor

Despite Saints doing the double over Leeds this season, the Opta supercomputer gives the edge to the Yorkshire side in this one, with Farke’s men winning 43.0% of its 10,000 pre-match simulations inside 90 minutes.

Southampton have a 29.6% chance of victory, while the game has a 27.4% likelihood of going to extra-time.

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