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Leeds United in danger of missing automatic PL promotion once more

11 February 2020 | Championship | Opinion
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Leeds United in danger of missing automatic PL promotion once more
Rolf_52 / Shutterstock.com

It was all going so well for Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United in the first half of the EFL Championship season. Yet, since mid-December, the Whites have been in a nosedive as just two of their last 10 league matches have ended in wins.

Leeds United have been in the EFL Championship’s top two for nearly the entire season. After just two wins in their last 10 games, they are teetering on falling out of the automatic promotion places for the second straight season thanks to their awful second half of the season form.

Bielsa has led his team to just one win in their last six league matches. Four of those games ended in losses including a 2-0 defeat away to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on February 8th.

Leeds United have a midweek fixture versus fifth-place Brentford. A loss could see the Bees leapfrog them in the table. Both Nottingham Forest and Fulham are right behind Leeds United. Either or both clubs could end up ahead of Leeds United by the end of Wednesday night.

A lack of goals has been at the heart of Leeds United’s problems. Their last four losses in the EFL Championship saw them held to clean sheet losses. Other than a 3-2 home win versus Millwall, Leeds United have gone scoreless in 360 straight minutes of football.

Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford has scored 12 goals in 30 league matches. However, he has just two goals in his last seven EFL Championship matches. Both goals came in the 3-2 win versus Millwall.

The Whites have found the second half of the season difficult in consecutive years under Bielsa. Leeds United lost 10 of their last 22 games in 2018-19, fell out of the automatic promotion places, and had to play in the playoffs where they were defeated by Derby County.

With four games to go last season, Leeds United went winless, losing three of four games, and never recovered. It is likely to happen again this term, but why?

The obvious reason is the style of play Leeds United have under Bielsa. The manager drills the team on tactics and fitness, which with a thin squad made up mostly of average to good EFL Championship players, take their tolls on the squad.

Leeds United have excelled in the first half of the last two seasons. December and January have now seen the team struggle into the second part of the term. Mental and physical fatigue is the issue facing the Whites as the rest of the top six stays as consistent as possible.

High pressing intense football has worked under Bielsa but it takes its toll on the players. Bielsa has never won a trophy coaching in Europe. The closest he came was in 2011-12 with Athletic Club, which finished runner-up in both the Copa del Rey and Europa League that season.

So, are Leeds United set to fall out of the top two once more in the EFL Championship? It looks like history is repeating itself at Elland Road.

Predictions for Championship

Home team - Away team Forebet
flag_2 CH
Cardiff CityNottingham Forest
25/02/2020 20:45
X
flag_2 CH
HuddersfieldBristol City
25/02/2020 20:45
2
flag_2 CH
Luton TownBrentford
25/02/2020 20:45
2
flag_2 CH
QPRDerby County
25/02/2020 20:45
X

England Championship - predictions, tips, statistics

Featured match

Home team - Away team Forebet
EPL
Manchester United
Watford

23/02/2020 15:00
1

Regular Season
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. West Bromwich 66 34 18 12 4 62 36 26
2. Leeds United 62 34 18 8 8 49 30 19
3. Fulham 57 34 16 9 9 48 37 11
4. Brentford 56 34 16 8 10 56 29 27
5. Nottingham Forest 56 34 15 11 8 45 33 12
6. Preston North End 56 34 16 8 10 49 38 11
7. Bristol City 53 34 15 8 11 48 49 -1
8. Blackburn Rovers 51 34 14 9 11 50 40 10
9. Swansea City 51 34 13 12 9 44 42 2
10. Cardiff City 50 34 12 14 8 48 47 1
11. Millwall 49 34 12 13 9 40 39 1
12. Sheffield Wednesday 45 34 12 9 13 44 41 3
13. Derby County 45 34 11 12 11 42 46 -4
14. Birmingham City 45 34 12 9 13 45 52 -7
15. QPR 43 34 12 7 15 51 58 -7
16. Reading 42 34 11 9 14 41 38 3
17. Hull City 41 34 11 8 15 48 53 -5
18. Charlton Athletic 39 34 10 9 15 44 48 -4
19. Stoke City 37 34 11 4 19 43 53 -10
20. Middlesbrough 37 34 8 13 13 34 44 -10
21. Huddersfield 36 34 9 9 16 39 55 -16
22. Wigan Athletic 34 34 8 10 16 34 50 -16
23. Barnsley 31 34 7 10 17 41 58 -17
24. Luton Town 30 34 9 3 22 40 69 -29