"Wembley Play-off Final Drama: Manager who once played under the other now ousted from the club"


Russell Martin and Daniel Farke have history.

Southampton boss Martin played under Leeds manager Farke at Norwich seven years ago, but not for long.

Martin was Canaries captain with 300 games under his belt. Then Farke turned up and Martin hardly played again.

On Sunday, the two meet again in the Championship play-off final with a place in the Premier League at stake. Will Martin have the last laugh?

Russell Martin (pictured) briefly played under Daniel Farke at Norwich before leaving the club

Russell Martin (pictured) briefly played under Daniel Farke at Norwich before leaving the club

Farke hardly played Martin when in charge, with Martin admitting he was 'wrong' to be excited by the appointment

Farke hardly played Martin when in charge, with Martin admitting he was ‘wrong’ to be excited by the appointment

Martin had played over 300 times for Norwich, but barely featured under the German

Martin had played over 300 times for Norwich, but barely featured under the German

More possession than Pep’s City

Martin plays one way and that’s possession. Then more possession, then even more possession. Southampton will look to get the ball, keep it, pass it and not stop until Leeds are ground into submission. Even Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side did not keep the ball as long as Saints did this season!

Only Guardiola’s City (625.1) completed more passes per game in English league football than Saints (594.8). Martin’s men completed 142 more passes per game this season than Leeds. 

A more fluid approach

Farke’s football is far more fluid. Leeds play fast and slow. In the Championship, only Saints and Leicester had more possession and took more shots or touches in the box that came at the end of a 10+ pass move, yet only Plymouth attempted more counter-attacks.

Leeds, though, will have to pick their moments to pounce. Their equaliser in the 2-1 defeat by Southampton on the final day came from Saints playing out from the back and Sam Byram winning the ball in a dangerous area. That will be key today.

No side in English football had a higher average possession than Southampton this season

No side in English football had a higher average possession than Southampton this season

While Martin likes possession-based football, Farke and Leeds' approach will be more fluid

While Martin likes possession-based football, Farke and Leeds’ approach will be more fluid

Who gets into the Premier League could come down to either Crysencio Summerville (right) or Adam Armstrong

Who gets into the Premier League could come down to either Crysencio Summerville (right) or Adam Armstrong

While Summerville was the Championship player of the year, no one in the top four tiers of English football has more goals and assists combined than Armstrong (right)

While Summerville was the Championship player of the year, no one in the top four tiers of English football has more goals and assists combined than Armstrong (right)

No player in the top four tiers of English football registered more goals and assists combined than Adam Armstrong, while Summerville won player of the season in the league

No player in the top four tiers of English football registered more goals and assists combined than Adam Armstrong, while Summerville won player of the season in the league

Will it be a bright Summerville’s day?

Who gets to the Premier League could well come down to two of the most potent attackers in England — Southampton striker Adam Armstrong and Leeds winger Crysencio Summerville.

Armstrong is the Championship top scorer and no one in the top four tiers of English football combined for more goals and assists this season.

Championship player of the year Summerville will test Saints’ calm and resolve. Only one player took more shots and created more chances across the leagues.

Form book goes out the window

Saints have already beaten Leeds twice in the league this season. As we saw in the League One and Two play-off finals, though, where both winners had failed to beat their opponents during the regular campaign, recent history counts for nothing.

This will be the 101st meeting between Leeds and Southampton. Of the 19 teams Leeds have faced 100 times or more in their history, their win rate against Southampton is the highest. 

Leeds' win rate against Southampton is the highest against any team they have faced 100 or more times in their history

Leeds’ win rate against Southampton is the highest against any team they have faced 100 or more times in their history

One team, meanwhile, will have to end their Wembley jinx to get promoted on Sunday

One team, meanwhile, will have to end their Wembley jinx to get promoted on Sunday

Which team ends their Wembley jinx?

We all know how bad Leeds are in play-offs. Five attempts, three finals, no promotions. No side have ever played in more play-off finals without winning one.

The last time they won at Wembley was when Eric Cantona scored a hat-trick against Liverpool in the 1992 Community Shield.

Southampton, though, have a dire record at Wembley too. They have lost eight of their 10 matches there and their last five. Something has to give this afternoon.



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