Can Leeds United Win Promotion — and Who Can Challenge Them?

06 Sep 2019 11:01 am, by YorkshireSquare

Oh, how Leeds fans have suffered! The club is no stranger to Premier League action, but getting into the top flight has eluded the Whites for some years now. Today, they sit in the Championship, as they have done since 2010, and wonder when that promotion will come… what will it take to get there?

Thankfully, Leeds have only lost one Championship game since the start of the season. Despite disappointment in the playoffs, they’ve gotten over it and are already looking good for a league title win and a promotion. Fingers crossed that this truly is the year it all goes right.

Coming back from the semi-final playoff

The play-off semi-final against Derby County was a gut-wrenching affair. Leeds finished the first leg 1–0 up away against the Derby. Of course, the job wasn’t done, but it was a promising start. Things looked positive for the return to Elland Road and continued that way, with Stuart Dallas tapping the ball across the line to put Leeds up 2–0 on aggregate. Then it all went wrong….

A mix-up between keeper Kiko Casillas and captain Liam Cooper let substitute Jack Marriott in to begin a crazy comeback for Derby. Thirty-eight seconds into the second half, Mason Mount looped the ball over the keeper’s head to register Derby’s second of the night.

Worse followed, with Cooper pulling Mason Bennett’s shirt inside the box, paving the way for Harry Wilson to fire past the resultant penalty. A red card for Gaetano Berardi compounded the Whites’ misery before Marriott shattered any hopes of a Premier League return with his second goal of the match.

Leeds haven’t gone into the 2019/20 Championship season with their heads down, however. The team have chalked up convincing wins against Bristol City, Brentford, Wigan Athletic and Stoke City in the Championship, as well as beating Salford City the English Football League Cup. Anyone doing a little sports betting online may back them to win the Championship and make that leap into the Premier League.

Who can challenge them?

Leeds won’t be the only ones trying to fight their way out of the Championship. This season, the league welcomes the arrival of Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town and Fulham from the Premier League. None of the teams will feel like make themselves at home for too long in the Championship. Though Huddersfield are currently heading in the opposite direction.

Let’s start with Cardiff City. The team’s time in the Premier League may have been short-lived, but then think about who they have in charge: Neil Warnock. Both he and the club have vast experience in the Championship, and Warnock has experienced relegation and promotion between the two leagues several times. If anyone can lead a club back into the Premier League, it’s Warnock.

Fulham, meanwhile, may pose their main threat in the form of forward Aleksandar Mitrovic. The prolific striker truly found his form with Fulham, scoring 21 goals for them in the Premier League and assisting in 7. He will be the key in a club that is still recovering from a turbulent season in which two managers left the club. The current manager, Scott Parker, is fairly inexperienced and has had to struggle with the departure of several high-profile players this summer.

Though it’s the surprise packages of Swansea and Charlton competing at the top of the Championship currently.

Could Leeds achieve promotion?

They’re certainly looking good for it. Even at this early stage, bookmakers fancy them to run away with the title and a promotion. Leeds fans will be hoping they’ve got it right, but neither Fulham, nor Cardiff City are going to just hand it over to them. Not only that, Swansea have edged their way into the running recently, overtaking Cardiff City in the bookmakers’ odds for promotion. Thoughts of the Premier League are thrilling, but just now, the Championship is as exciting as any a space to watch.