It’s Ground Hog Day for Leeds United fans and for the second successive season we are being put through the relegation wringer.

It’s the torturous 2020-21 experience all over again, only this time it could all end in agony and not the unbridled ecstasy of last season.

What every Leeds fan wouldn’t give for a repeat of last season’s final-day drama when Premier League survival was secured by virtually the last kick of the match by Jack Harrison. Surely history can’t repeat itself?

In truth, as things stand, we will do well to still be in with a mathematical chance of retaining our top flight status going into the final match of the season.

It’s a long, long shot.

Murphy’s Law weekend

Everything that could possibly have gone wrong for Leeds United went wrong during a chaotic Match Week 35.

There was no new manager bounce effect as Sam Allardyce’s tenure got off to a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City. The setback left us looking for consolations elsewhere. Even there we drew blanks.

Relegation rivals we had hoped would drop points earned much-needed wins, while those we had hoped would win to keep the relegation group bunched up for as long as possible failed to do so.

Everton and Nottingham Forest won and boosted their survival hopes, in the process pushing Leeds United into the bottom three.

Southampton’s defeat by Forest leaves them on the brink. Mathematically, the Saints could still dodge the relegation bullet. Realistically they are a goner.

It’s safe to say it’s Southampton (1/500) and two others destined for the drop to the second tier. And barring a sharp turnaround in the final three games, it’s another reasonably safe bet on Leeds United at 2/7 and one other to join Southampton.

The league table doesn’t lie. Fittingly, the two teams with identical wretched records in the last five games – a paltry return of one point each from a possible 15 – are in the bottom two. Leeds United, six points better off than Southampton, and two points off safety, have a better fighting chance than the Saints. The problem is that we are running out of games and not picking up any points.

Keeping tabs on rivals

Relegation rivals have some tough looking assignments this game week. If only our form was decent. The biggest frustration has been our failure to capitalise on rivals’ setbacks.

Everton, who were quite rampant against Brighton on Monday, are unlikely to have the same joy against league leaders Manchester City.

With a one-point cushion and a game in hand over Arsenal – potentially a four-point lead – how much selection tinkering will Pep Guardiola allow himself? To what extent will the selection with one eye on the delicately poised Champions League semifinal second leg tie with Real Madrid benefit Everton?

Leicester City, wasteful against and outscored by Fulham last time out, host Liverpool. A Reds side still believing there is a Champions League spot up for grabs is a serious threat to the Foxes’ survival cause.

Nottingham Forest travel to Chelsea, who will be looking for a second successive win under Frank Lampard after the England international finally broke his duck at the seventh time of asking with a victory over Brentford.

Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth is a clash between two teams who have made good their escape from the drop zone. Both sides come into the clash looking to bounce back from respective defeats last weekend. The Eagles are safe while the Cherries are as good as.

Meanwhile, Southampton host Fulham knowing that anything other than three points will all but seal their relegation from the Premier League.

Yorkshire Pirlo

I can’t help but think what a waste and what a difference Kalvin Phillips could have made to Leeds United’s survival campaign; instead, he features as a player on course to win a Premier League winner’s medal after barely scraping together 100 minutes of on-pitch action for Manchester City’s all-conquering machine.

Keeping the faith

Leeds United, desperately looking for a win to haul themselves out of the relegation zone, kick off the weekend round of fixtures with a lunchtime tie against Newcastle United on Saturday.

A win would see us leapfrog Leicester City, Everton and Nottingham Forest into 16th place before the trio play their respective matches. It would be a massive psychological boost even if the move up the table proved to be temporary.

There were some positives to be gleaned from the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City last time out. We came away from the Etihad empty-handed, but we were not disgraced. At least the boys made a fist of the contest, which was in sharp contrast with the limp performances under the previous manager.

We will take heart from the Man City performance and hopefully transpose the same fighting spirit on the contest against the Magpies, who pose the threat of a side running their own race for a Champions League spot.

Can Big Sam put one over his former club?

Leeds United, how do I love thee!

9 April – Leeds United 1-5 Crystal Palace
17 April – Leeds United 1-6 Liverpool 
22 April – Fulham 2-1 Leeds United
25 April – Leeds United 1-1 Leicester City
29 April – Bournemouth 4-1 Leeds United 

6 May – Manchester City 2-1 Leeds United
13 May – Leeds United v Newcastle 12:30
21 May – West Ham v Leeds United 13:30
28 May – Leeds United v Tottenham 16:00


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

Write A Comment