Will Leeds United Finally Return to the Premier League this Season?

06 Nov 2019 03:14pm, by YorkshireSquare

It’s been a rollercoaster few years for the Leeds faithful. After the heartbreak of last year’s defeat at the hands of Derby in the Championship play-offs, Marcelo Bielsa’s side will be hoping to learn from that experience and fulfil their potential this time around. They’ve certainly got the talent to do just that, not to mention the loudest fanbase in the league.

After 15 games so far, Leeds are right in the mix. The team currently sit third in the league, just behind fellow promotion hopefuls West Brom and Preston North End. Eddie Nketieh’s late equaliser against Preston a few weeks back was enough to secure a decent point away from home and keep the title race as tight as possible as we head into the busy winter schedule.

A quick glance at the latest Premier League betting odds at bet365 shows that the Peacocks are still the bookies’ favourite for automatic promotion to the top flight at 1/3. With that in mind, we’re here to look at three key factors that should determine whether Bielsa can finally guide his spirited squad back to the Premier League after what will be a 16 year absence come the end of the season.

Form in front of goal

Although their defence has quickly proven to be one of the best in the league this season, you certainly couldn’t say Leeds have been scoring for fun throughout this campaign. That means most of their games have been decided by the odd goal rather than the dominating performances we’ve seen in previous years.

Typically speaking, any team looking to secure promotion needs to have a discernible goal-scoring threat – and that responsibility should really lie with Patrick Bamford. Unfortunately, Bamford has only notched four goals so far during this campaign, something which will need to change quickly if Leeds are to maintain their position among the leading pack at the top of table.

Handling the pressure

Despite being strong favourites to gain promotion last year, Leeds’ season seemed to dissipate towards the tail-end of the season as the pressure started to build. The underwhelming performance against Derby County at Elland Road will still be at the back of many players’ minds – and it remains to be seen how they will react as the pressure slowly turns up once again.

The squad must dig deep to find their collective composure if they’re to challenge for automatic promotion once again this year, and even deeper if they end up looking to secure a route through the play-offs.

Keeping key players healthy

This Leeds side is based on a rock-solid backbone, with the likes of Kalvin Phillips and Ben White proving to be essential players on the defensive end of the pitch. Attacking midfielder Jack Harrison has also been turning out some quality performances, leading the team in assists this year.

Bielsa will need to manage the workload of each of his key men carefully as we enter the notoriously busy festive period. If we manage to keep the squad in good order by the time the new year rolls around then we’re likely to be in a very strong position entering the business end of the season. Right now, it’s ours for the taking!