Leeds are unbeaten in six matches and have kept four consecutive clean sheets as they prepare for the trip to St Mary’s Stadium this weekend, while Martin’s Saints are without a shut-out all season.
The team have conceded in each of their nine fixtures under the former MK Dons and Swansea City coach, who is coming under increasing scrutiny from the club’s fans after four straight defeats, two of which were by three and five-goal margins.
Leeds dispatched of Ismael’s Watford with what appeared to be relative ease last Saturday, maintaining their command on the game from start to finish as Joel Piroe, Sam Byram and Jaidon Anthony found the back of the net during the second half at Elland Road.
At full-time, Ismael said: “We didn't keep the ball in front. We lost the ball too easily when we win the ball. We didn't have the normal composure to play.
"The opponent forced us to defend more, the opponent forced us to make too many mistakes.”
Southampton on the other hand, were beaten 2-1 by struggling Middlesbrough. The Teessiders had not recorded a league win in 2023/24 before welcoming the south coast club to the Riverside Stadium.
Boro’s Expected Goals (xG) total from the game exceeded 3.00, indicating the Saints were fortunate only to be beaten by a single goal, and mirrored the 3.29 xG conceded by Martin’s defence in the 4-1 defeat against Leicester City earlier this month.
After eight games this season, Southampton have conceded more goals (19) than any other Championship team, as well as making the most errors (6) leading to a shot.
Ismael’s comments on Watford’s propensity to make mistakes during their Elland Road visit could very well be ringing in Martin’s ears as his preferred style of play is a system prioritising playing out from the back. If Leeds’ press functions as it did last weekend, the fellow relegated side could be in for a long afternoon.