MX23RW : Tuesday, September 21 15:49:22| >> :120:25488:25488:
Jul 22, 2020 at 7.30pm UK at Elland Road
LeedsLeeds United
CharltonCharlton Athletic
White (14'), Dallas (28'), Roberts (52'), Shackleton (66')
Struijk (88')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Preview: Leeds United vs. Charlton Athletic - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Championship final-day showdown between champions Leeds and relegation-threatened Charlton, including predictions and team news.

Champions Leeds United will end a 2019-20 campaign which will live long in the memory when they host Charlton Athletic on the final day of the regular Championship season on Wednesday.

Marcelo Bielsa's side have already secured promotion to the Premier League after a 16-year absence heading into the contest at Elland Road, but it is still all to play for as far as relegation-threatened Charlton are concerned.

Match preview

Leeds United players celebrate winning promotion to the Premier League in July 2020© Reuters

After 16 years of experiencing every emotion from anger to anguish to apathy, Leeds fans were finally rewarded with a weekend of unbridled ecstasy as their wait for a return to the Premier League finally ended.

Very few of them would have been expecting it to happen in the manner it did, with relegation-threatened local rivals Huddersfield Town beating West Bromwich Albion on Friday to secure promotion and another struggling team Stoke City then beating in-form Brentford on Saturday to secure the title.

To cap it all off, Leeds completed a celebratory weekend with a 3-1 triumph at Derby County - a team that have emerged as one of their fiercest rivals over the last 18 months due to events on and off the field.

Bielsa and his players will have no doubt taken great joy in being given a guard of honour by a Derby side that beat them so dramatically in the playoffs last season and also found themselves embroiled in the infamous 'Spygate' scandal.

Derby County give Leeds United a guard of honour on July 19, 2020© Reuters

Leeds have uncharacteristically made relatively light work of it this season too - their tally of 90 points is a club record and they have won six of their eight games since lockdown, including each of their last five by an aggregate scoreline of 13-2.

The reward is not only promotion, but a first trophy since lifting the top-flight equivalent 28 years ago, and they will finally get their hands on that silverware at an empty Elland Road after this match.

For Charlton, Championship survival would feel almost as good as lifting a trophy with their fate still hanging in the balance heading into a final day which promises plenty of twists and turns at the bottom of the table.

The Addicks are one of five teams that could mathematically still be relegated this season in a picture which is muddied by Wigan Athletic's impending 12-point deduction; as things stand only goal difference is keeping Charlton out of the bottom three, but including that deduction - which will only be applied after Wednesday's matches - they are two points clear of danger.

Charlton boss Lee Bowyer on June 20, 2020© Reuters

The positive for Lee Bowyer's side is that their goal difference is vastly superior to those currently below them, which essentially makes it a one-point lead over the bottom three prior to the Wigan deduction.

Macauley Bonne's last-gasp equaliser against Wigan on Saturday could therefore be of paramount importance, with subsequent wins for both Luton Town and Barnsley meaning that defeat would have left them in the relegation zone heading into the final day.

Even so, anything other than victory would give Luton the chance to leapfrog them at home to Blackburn Rovers, while defeat would open the door for Barnsley or Wigan to pull off a great escape at Brentford or at home to Fulham respectively.

Bowyer's side go into the match on a six-match winless streak too, while only Stoke and Barnsley have picked up fewer points away from home this season against a Leeds team with the joint-best home record.

Leeds Championship form: DWWWWW

Charlton Championship form: DLLLDD

Team News

Kalvin Phillips in action for Leeds United on October 23, 2019© Reuters

Bielsa named a much-changed side against Derby, with a few of his first-team players no doubt nursing sore heads after the celebrations of the previous days.

Kiko Casilla was among those to return to the side having now served his eight-match ban, although Illan Meslier's selection for the crucial win over Barnsley suggests that he may have now usurped the Spaniard as first choice.

Meslier could join a number of established first-teamers in returning to the starting XI for this one, with the likes of Luke Ayling, Liam Cooper and Patrick Bamford among those in line for a recall.

Gaetano Berardi is absent after stretchered off against Derby and is expected to miss up to nine months with an ACL tear, while Kalvin Phillips and Adam Forshaw are also injured.

Charlton, meanwhile, are expected to be without Darren Pratley again after he pulled his hamstring against Birmingham City.

Jonny Williams and Alfie Doughty also picked up minor injuries in that match, but both featured against Wigan - the latter scoring - and will be in contention again for this contest.

Leeds possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Struijk, Ayling, Cooper; Dallas, Klich, White, Harrison; Costa, Bamford, Hernandez

Charlton possible starting lineup:
Phillips; Lockyer, Pearce, Sarr; Matthews, Cullen, Field, Doughty; Forster-Caskey; Davison, Bonne

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Leeds 2-2 Charlton

The league table and the form book both point firmly to a home win in this match, and at any other stage of the season this would be a relatively straightforward prediction, with no team having lost fewer home games than Leeds this term and no team having won fewer than Charlton.

However, the final day is notorious for throwing up unexpected results and, with Charlton knowing that victory keeps them in the division, they are in much greater need of the points than the hosts. Nevertheless, Leeds will want to finish their season in style, so we can see those two elements cancelling each other out in an entertaining draw.

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Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook pictured on June 27, 2020
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