The 2023-24 Championship play-offs begin on Sunday at Carrow Road. We look ahead to the first with our Norwich vs Leeds prediction and preview.

Norwich vs Leeds Stats: The Quick Hits

  • The Opta supercomputer rates Leeds as the most likely winners of the Championship play-offs (33.2%) and are favourites for this match at Carrow Road (44.0%).
  • Leeds have never won promotion via the Football League play-offs in five previous appearances.
  • Norwich have lost their last four meetings with Leeds, last beating them in February 2019.

Match Preview

Daniel Farke will take his current side Leeds back to former club Norwich City on Sunday afternoon, hoping to take a positive result back to Elland Road for the second leg of this 2023-24 Championship play-off semi-final tie.

Farke is one of the most successful managers in Norwich’s history having won promotion from the Championship on two occasions, both as title-winners, in 2019 and 2021. He’s the only manager to win two league titles at the club.

His Leeds United team were unlucky not to win automatic promotion from the Championship this season, with their poor end-of-season run – one win and four defeats in their final six games – coupled with the exceptional campaigns by both Leicester City and Ipswich Town restricting them to a third-place finish.

The last team to win as many as 90 points in a Championship season and end up outside the automatic promotion places were Sunderland in 1997-98 (also 90 points). They eventually lost in the play-off final that season to Charlton Athletic following a penalty shootout.

After relegation from the Premier League last season, Leeds have refreshed their squad for 2023-24 and have the second-youngest average starting XI in the competition this term (24 years, 147 days). Four of the five outfielders to play the most league minutes for them in 2023-24 are still under 24 years old: Ethan Ampadu (23 years old), Georginio Rutter (22), Archie Gray (18) and Crysencio Summerville (22).

Of the teams in the Championship play-offs this season, Norwich spent the fewest days inside the top six places (102) but their form in the second half of the campaign saw them make the cut ahead of Hull City.

Like Leeds, Norwich’s end-of-season form was sketchy, with only one win in their final five games and a defeat on the last day at relegated Birmingham City.

Much of them sneaking into the play-offs came down to their good form at Carrow Road, with only Ipswich (54), Leeds (53) and Leicester (52) winning more points at home than they did (49), with 67% of their total points coming in home games. They come into this clash on a 15-game unbeaten streak at home in league competition (W11 D4), having not lost a league match at Carrow Road since 5 November versus Blackburn.

David Wagner’s job in Norfolk was under threat before their form turned a corner in 2024, and he’ll be looking to win promotion to the Premier League for a second time after leading Huddersfield Town to play-offs success over Reading in 2017.

Norwich vs Leeds Head-to-Head

In what is their first EFL play-off meeting, Norwich City will be looking to defeat Leeds United for the first time since February 2019, when they won 3-1 at Elland Road under Leeds’ current boss, Farke.

Leeds have since won each of their last four meetings in all competitions. The two clubs last met on 24 January at Elland Road, with Leeds winning 1-0 thanks to Patrick Bamford’s 16th-minute strike.

The meeting at Carrow Road earlier in the season was much more entertaining, with Leeds coming from 2-0 down with 27 minutes left to win 3-2. Shane Duffy scored the opener inside four minutes before Brazilian Gabriel Sara added a second just before half-time. Duffy went on to score an own goal, before Summerville netted twice in the final 13 minutes to secure all three points.

That home defeat saw Norwich lose three of their league-high 29 points dropped from winning positions in the 2023-24 Championship.

Championship Points Dropped

Players to Watch

Norwich: Josh Sargent

Much of Norwich’s turnaround in form can be tied to the return of Sargent from injury in their final league game of 2023 following a four-month layoff. He scored in three of his four Championship appearances before getting injured and then returned to fire 13 more goals in 22 games.

The US international striker scored in nine successive league appearances at home to become just the second player to manage this feat in Championship history after Chuba Akpom for Middlesbrough in 2023.

Of the 30 players to score at least 10 Championship goals this season, Sargent had the third-best shot conversion rate (23.9%) and the second-best minutes-per-goal ratio (116) behind only Jamie Vardy (98).

Leeds: Crysencio Summerville

Summerville finished the Championship season as Leeds’ top scorer with 19 goals – only Adam Armstrong (21) and Sammie Szmodics (27) scored more across the entire league.

With nine assists, the Dutchman was involved in 28 of Leeds’ goals overall, while he was one of only five players in the division to tally more than 100 chances created for teammates (112). His expected assists (xA) total of 12.5 was also the third best in the Championship behind Sorba Thomas (13.3) and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (12.6), but ahead of Norwich’s leading creator Sara (11.9) in fourth.

His partnership with Rutter on the pitch makes them one of the most dangerous pairings in the Championship. No two players have created more open-play chances (55) for one another than Rutter and Summerville.

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 this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Norwich vs Leeds Prediction

Norwich vs Leeds Prediction

Leeds are predicted to win this match by the Opta Supercomputer, with the Yorkshire club beating Norwich across 44.0% of the 10,000 pre-match simulations. They are also the favourites to win the Championship play-offs overall, with the supercomputer projecting them to win promotion back to the Premier League in 33.2% of sims.

Norwich will hope to get a positive result to take to Elland Road on 16 May, with a Canaries win projected 29.9% of the time by the supercomputer. Of the four play-off semi-finalists in the Championship, Norwich reached the final at Wembley the least often in the simulations (41.2%).

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