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Is it Leeds United’s season to finally win promotion to the PL?
08 January 2019, 14:37
Is it Leeds United’s season to finally win promotion to the PL?

It has been nearly 15 long years since Leeds United last graced the English Premier League.

The Whites have languished for a decade and a half in the Championship and even spent three humiliating seasons in League One. Now, after several false starts, Leeds could be on their way back to the top-flight.

Manager Marcelo Bielsa has done a remarkable job at Elland Road. In fact, many of his critics didn’t expect the Argentine manager to last to Christmas in charge of the club. Yet, Bielsa has thanks to leading Leeds to the top of the table and gaining 51 points from a possible 78. Two points separate Leeds and second-place Norwich City after 26 matches. But just eight points are the difference between Leeds and sixth-place Derby as the Championship continues to be an incredible knockdown, drag out fight.

Leeds are certainly not out of the woods and automatic promotion is far from guaranteed. The Whites have lost back to back games in the Championship, putting a dent in their hopes of winning the league. Those losses came to Hull and Nottingham Forest. The former is midtable and showing no signs of contending for promotion. The latter is a promotion playoff hopeful.

The Whites are in their ninth straight season in the Championship after gaining promotion from League One. In nine years, Leeds have never finished a Championship season higher than seventh place. It is a remarkable stat based on the club’s size and history.

It isn’t just losses in the Championship that have slowed Leeds’ momentum. Bielsa watched his team lose to Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup, 2-1, at the weekend. Leeds Achilles’ heel has been set pieces which resulted in their loss to QPR. They have conceded 10 set piece goals this term, the ninth highest total in the Championship. It is a figure that is completely damning for a promotion seeking club and one that could ultimately sink them.

Two of Leeds’ next four matches will see them play promotion chasing teams. The Whites will clash with Derby County on Friday night. A loss would narrow the gap between the two clubs to five points. In February, Bielsa will take his team up against Norwich. By the time the two sides meet at Elland Road, Norwich could have moved past Leeds into first place.

Leeds have set the pace for the Championship this term, but they are by no means certain for promotion. While Wolverhampton Wanderers ran away with the Championship last season and had it nearly wrapped up by this time, Leeds are fighting to preserve and extend their lead.

Regular Season
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Leeds United 54 28 16 6 6 47 30 17
2. Norwich City 53 28 15 8 5 52 36 16
3. Sheffield Utd 50 28 15 5 8 46 29 17
4. West Bromwich 47 27 13 8 6 55 35 20
5. Middlesbrough 47 28 12 11 5 31 20 11
6. Derby County 46 28 13 7 8 40 35 5
7. Bristol City 44 28 12 8 8 35 29 6
8. Hull City 40 28 11 7 10 41 35 6
9. Swansea City 40 28 11 7 10 37 32 5
10. Blackburn Rovers 40 28 10 10 8 37 41 -4
11. Birmingham City 39 28 9 12 7 40 33 7
12. Nottingham Forest 39 28 9 12 7 39 32 7
13. Aston Villa 39 28 9 12 7 51 45 6
14. QPR 39 28 11 6 11 34 39 -5
15. Stoke City 38 28 9 11 8 33 35 -2
16. Sheffield Wed 35 28 9 8 11 33 45 -12
17. Brentford FC 34 28 8 10 10 43 39 4
18. Preston NE 33 28 8 9 11 43 45 -2
19. Millwall FC 29 28 7 8 13 34 44 -10
20. Wigan Athletic 29 28 8 5 15 28 41 -13
21. Rotherham 25 28 5 10 13 27 46 -19
22. Reading FC 23 28 5 8 15 31 43 -12
23. Bolton Wanderers 22 27 5 7 15 18 40 -22
24. Ipswich Town 18 28 3 9 16 22 48 -26

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