By Jonty Banks

16th Mar, 2023 | 2:10pm

Paul Merson predicts winner of Leeds United relegation showdown v Wolves in Premier League

Paul Merson has predicted that Leeds United will lose their upcoming Premier League encounter against Wolves on Saturday (18 March) and enter the international break in the relegation zone.

The Sky Sports pundit, writing his predictions for Sports Keeda, has backed Javi Gracia’s side to fall to a 2-0 defeat at the Molineux Stadium before entering a crucial passage of games which could determine their chances of Premier League survival.

The Whites currently sit second-bottom in the Premier League, but if they claimed all three points in the West Midlands, could jump up as high as 14th place due to the tightly packed nature of the league right now.

However, Merson admitted that under the guidance of Julen Lopetegui, Wolves would possess too much class to be embroiled in a relegation scrap and would claim all three points in the six-pointer.

He said: “I just can’t see Wolves going down – they are a decent team under an experienced manager and I think they should win this game.

“If you look at Leeds – they have Wolves and Arsenal away after which they face Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace at home. Those two games will define their season – if they get two wins, they will survive, else it’s curtains for them.”

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Wins needed

Although Leeds have continually performed to a strong standard under Gracia, their Achilles heel has been picking up all three points and seizing the initiative in games which they dominate.

The Whites’ attack has remained pretty toothless despite spending a club-record fee on Georginio Rutter in January and Crysencio Summerville returning from injury, and once again, they had to rely on two pieces of brilliance to score in the 2-2 draw with Brighton last week.

Gracia has built a defensive foundation to build upon during his short stint as manager, and his focus must now narrow in on how he can get the team scoring freely again.

Draws are no longer good enough for the West Yorkshire outfit, with several relegation rivals such as Bournemouth, Everton and Southampton all picking up crucial wins over the past few weeks.

Three points are a necessity in the clash against Wolves before the international break when Gracia can properly get to grips with his squad and make the required tactical changes to ensure Premier League survival.

In other Leeds United news, a star first-team player would reportedly be “very happy” to go as an audacious transfer approach is lined up from abroad.

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