Whisper it softy, but after an indifferent start to the campaign, Leeds United appear to have turned the corner.

The 3-0 home win over Watford on Saturday catapulted the Whites to the play-off spots, exactly where they want to be – there and thereabouts keeping a watching brief on the leaders as the promotion race unfolds.

To be honest, the “poor start” argument has been overstated. It’s  not the wretched start it has been made out to be.

One defeat in the opening six games going into Saturday’s home tie with Watford would ordinarily be no cause for alarm or fan disgruntlement. But it’s Leeds United we are talking about; Premier League dropouts who were expected to come out with all guns  blazing and put down a marker from the opening day of the season.

Fans impatient for an instant return to the top flight wanted the draws converted into wins. They wanted to see their team among the early pacesetters in the promotion marathon. Each time Leeds United drew frustrated supporters decried two points dropped than celebrate a point gained.

Daniel Farke’s men have recorded the most draws (4) in the division after eight games, a record they share with Coventry and West Brom.

Miserly defence, potent attack

After a tentative start, game by game Leeds United are building a solid platform from with to launch their promotion challenge. They are doing so on the back of a miserly defence and a relatively potent attack.

The Whites have the joint-third best defence in the Championship. Only leaders Leicester City (5) and early season surprise package Preston North End (6) have conceded less.

It’s too early to read much into the stats, lest we make some erroneous conclusions. What we do know, however, and this has been proven over and over, is that strong defences and goals win matches and championships. On the evidence of what we have seen so far, Leeds United have both, it seems.

Saturday’s shutout was Leeds’ fourth clean sheet in a row, while it was the third time they had scored three goals or more in a match this season.

There is no doubt Leeds United carry a considerable goal threat and will cause opposition defences some serious discomfort.

Shrewd transfer business

Amid growing fan disillusionment owing to lack of transfer activity, Farke always maintained that there would be no panic buys, and that the club would only bring in the right calibre of recruit.

Pockets of frustrated fans dismissed the stance as the obligatory and politically correct rhetoric of a manager who was in effect making excuses for tight-fisted owners.

The jury is still out on the new recruits, but suffice to say preliminary evidence suggests they are well on their way to vindicating the manager. With four goals in as many league games Joel Piroe is looking the part and already repaying his transfer fee. Ethan Ampadu has been an ever-present.

I have no doubt Ilia Gruev and Glen Kamara will prove their worth during the course of the season, while Karl Darlow is a very capable understudy should, God forbid, Ilan Meslier be ruled out for any length of time.

Kamara came in for Archie Gray on Saturday and did the business alongside Ampadu in central midfield before giving way to Gruev late on. Another new recruit Jaidon Antony scored his first goal for the club after coming on as a second-half substitute against the Hornets.

There is healthy competition for places in all departments and that will stand the club in good stead for the promotion push.

Confidence is slowly coming back and fans are beginning to believe again. Quiet optimism pervades Elland Road. Long may it continue.

Oh, and it’s not just me; the bookies are favoring Leeds United for a return to the Premier League at 5/1.

Leeds United, how do I love thee!


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.

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