The key battle that could decide Leeds United v Blackburn Rovers

A midfield battle between Luke Murphy and Jay Spearing could go a long way to deciding the outcome of Leeds United v Blackburn Rovers.

With just two points separating the two sides in the Championship table, this game could go either way - so the obvious trail of thought would be that this game could be won and lost in the midfield battle.

In terms of form, the home side should be slight favourites as they are unbeaten in their last five league games, while Blackburn have lost their last two - add in the fact they have an FA Cup quarter-final replay against Liverpool a few days latter, their minds could be elsewhere, or the visitors may take their game to another level in order to secure a starting place. 

The game could be won and lost with a battle in the middle between Luke Murphy and Jay Spearing. 

Let's have a look at their key statistics from the season so far: 

  PositionTeamTackles AccuracyDuel Won GAMEPassing AccuracyBig Chance CreatedGoalsAppearancesMins Played
Luke Murphy MF Leeds 82% 5.61 70% 2 3 23 1,803
Jay Spearing MF Blackburn 67% 4.64 74% 1 0 11 774

One must take into account the amount of time that Murphy has spent on the field compared to Spearing - having played two-and-a-half times as many minutes across the season - which explains why Spearing made the move from Bolton to Blackburn on loan. 

On the face of things, it looks as though Spearing could have a tough time of things given that Murphy excels in both tackles accuracy and the duels won per game - while Murphy is more of a threat going forward given he has got among the goals this season. One area that Spearing seems to have the upper hand is passing accuracy, and could therefore look to dictate the game more. If Spearing can get the better of Murphy, it could be huge for Blackburn Rovers.

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