Watford travel to Elland Road on Saturday afternoon looking to further their claims to an automatic promotion spot against a team that has enjoyed a recent rejuvenation.
Under Neil Redfearn, and with the defensive aid of Sol Bamba, Leeds United have shown massive improvements from the first-half of the campaign, and they have just two defeats in their last nine games. Collective progress has been down to the efforts of certain individuals - such as Bamba, who looks like the signing of the season - as well as players who were in the side prior to Redfearn’s appointment.
Scott Wootton, Sam Byram and Rudy Austin have all made massive strides under the former academy boss, but there is one midfielder who has clearly benefited from Redfearn’s appointment - Luke Murphy.
The former Crewe youngster looked to be approaching the end of his Leeds career earlier in the campaign, but he has excelled since Redfearn has taken charge and will be central if the Whites intend to secure a positive result against Watford. Both as a defensive and attacking force in his deep-lying midfield role, Murphy will be coming up against one of the best attacking teams in the division, and he will have a tough battle with the Hornets own star midfielder - Daniel Tozser.
The Hungarian midfielder has been brilliant for Watford this term, and he and Murphy will be looking to control the game from their deep positions. Given their importance to their respective teams, we take a look at which midfielder has been better this season, and who could play a bigger role this weekend.
|Team||Apps||Goals||Assists||Key Passes per Game||Passes per Game||Passing Accuracy||Touches per Game||Mins Played|
Due to Murphy being left out of the first-team for much of the beginning of the season, it comes as no surprise to see Tozser dominate the games played and minutes played column, and he continues to lag behind the experienced Hungarian international in key attacking match actions.
The 25-year-old touches the ball fewer times per game, plays fewer passes, fewer key passes, and has a lower passing accuracy than Tozser. He is clearly a less adept playmaker than the Watford star - with just one assist to Tozser’s five - although he has done well to be just two goals behind Tozser, despite playing 16 fewer games.
However, as a deep-lying midfielder, one needs to be a strong defensive force - and Murphy is far better at the defensive side of the game than Tozser.
|Tackles per Game||Interceptions per Game||Fouls per Game|
The Englishman wins far more tackles and completes only slightly fewer interceptions per game than Tozser, and his higher foul rate shows a desire to get stuck into the game. The only criticism of the Hungarian is that he is quite lightweight when in a physical battle, and Leeds would do well to play hard against the Hornets if they intend to put on a good show.
The Championship tie promises to be a tough game for both Leeds and Watford, with both sides in good form at the moment. Luke Murphy and Daniel Tozser have proved their worth to their respective teams in recent weeks, and they will be have to be at the top of their game if they want to lead their teammates to victory at Elland Road.