Having been in pole position last season to earn promotion to the Premier League, Leeds United fell at the final hurdle and missed out, losing to Derby in the play-offs while it was Norwich, Sheffield United and Aston Villa – who had their day in the sun.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men will be looking to go one better this campaign, they opened with a win over Bristol City but with competition coming from the relegated Premier League sides Cardiff, Fulham and Huddersfield, as well as the likes of West Brom, Bristol City and Middlesbrough. Many on Betenemy really fancy Leeds to win the Championship.
The Whites have done little recruitment so far this summer, with Liam McCarron the only permanent arrival at Elland Road, while Pontus Jansson, Samu Saiz, Sam Dalby and others have all found pastures new. They are still
Rumours have also circulated surrounding the future of star striker Kemar Roofe, with Belgian side Anderlecht reportedly interested in recruiting the 26-year-old. Goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell has also reportedly been touted by Burnley.
The off-season certainly will not have filled the Leeds faithful with optimism, but with Bielsa signing on and a determination to write last season’s wrongs, anything is possible. The Peacocks have not played Premier League football since 2004, with a widespread belief throughout the game that a club of their calibre should be playing at the highest level.
The current period has been one of stability in comparison to recent times, with the reign of chairman Andrea Radrizzani proving somewhat tumultuous at best, as well as the tyrannical era of Massimo Cellino.
The Whites go in to their first clash of the season with Bristol City this Sunday as outright favourites to win the division, and should they replicate some of the football they produced last season, then promotion could prove a formality, given the decline in standard of opponents. It can be argued that the three greatest threats to Leeds were promoted last campaign, while Derby have lost manager Frank Lampard, and the sides which were relegated from the Premier League all have vulnerabilities which Leeds are capable of exploiting.
The key thing for Leeds will be to hold on to their star players and make one or two more additions before the transfer window shuts. Should they manage do that and avoid injuries, then the players at their disposal such as Pablo Hernandez, Patrick Bamford and Helder Costa will flourish.
West Brom will prove a threat to Bielsa’s side having finished just below them last campaign, but Bielsa’s experience and the hurt of last year could well propel them to finally regain their place at the top table of English football.
A good start will be key, and the fixture list has been somewhat favourable for the opening weeks with points up for grabs against the likes of Wigan, Barnsley, Nottingham Forest and Charlton.
Leeds are certainly more than capable of winning the Championship, the ability is there in abundance, the question is are they psychologically recovered and ready to step up to the plate.