With only eight games to play in the campaign, it’s squeaky-bum time for Leeds United in the battle to stave off relegation from the Premier League.

My beloved Leeds United are right in the thick of the action, holding on precariously for dear life. We, the fans, are now well and truly aboard the familiar roller-coaster, careering up and down.

And hurtling up and down the league table, too. One week we are soaring high and secure in a deceptively safe spot on the back of a very good win, the next we are down teetering on the relegation precipice.

Top meets bottom

Game Week 31 serves up an intriguing raft of fixtures. Teams at opposite ends of the table face off in their desperate bids for points to further respective causes.

Relegation strugglers lock horns with title contenders and opponents involved in the battle for Champions League places, the race within the title race.

Keeping tabs on rivals

On paper, of the teams in the bottom nine, only Everton and Southampton, who play Fulham and Crystal Palace respectively, have winnable looking fixtures. The rest have the odds heavily stacked against them.

Bournemouth, buoyed by their win at Leicester City last Saturday, travel to Tottenham with their tails up and determined to make a fist of the contest.

Spurs, however, will pose a completely different challenge to the out-of-sorts Foxes. The North Londoners will be targeting a win that would see them leapfrog Manchester United into fourth place on goal difference, at least for 24 hours.

That Spurs incentive is a massive threat to the Cherries’ ambitions.

Meanwhile, Manchester City and Arsenal can’t further their title hopes this weekend without hurting the survival prospects of their respective opponents, relegation strugglers Leicester City and West Ham.

Smart money is on Manchester City beating Leicester on Saturday and reducing the gap to the Gunners in the title race to just three points. That would leave Mikel Arteta’s men needing to respond 24 hours later when they travel to West Ham.

Slip-ups in the title race at this stage could prove fatal. Title contenders’ appreciation of this fact has severe implications for Leicester City and West Ham’s chances of getting positive results this weekend.

On Sunday, Nottingham Forest travel to Manchester United, who can’t afford to drop points in their quest for a top-four four finish.

The omens point to title contenders and top-four hopefuls furthering their respective causes at the expense of relegation strugglers.

The Liverpool challenge  

I don’t know whether it’s an advantage that we play after all our relegation rivals or whether it adds to the pressure to get a result against unpredictable Liverpool on Monday.

Ideally, our rivals’ results will leave us in no worse position than we currently find ourselves heading into our clash against Jurgen Klopp’s stutterers.

We won the reverse fixture 2-1 at Anfield in October. That should give us confidence for the home leg.

What Leeds United fans will expect on Monday is a reaction. Win or lose the team must give a good account of themselves and banish memories of the 5-1 drubbing by Crystal Palace.

It shouldn’t be too difficult to improve on what was an utterly woeful and lifeless display. The second half capitulation was painful to watch.

It was a chastening defeat and a timely wake-up call.

Redemption awaits Javi Gracia’s men on Monday night.

Leeds United, how do I love thee!

9 April – Leeds United 1-5 Crystal Palace
17 April – Leeds United v Liverpool 21:00
22 April – Fulham v Leeds United
25 April – Leeds United v Leicester City
30 April – Bournemouth v Leeds United 15:00

6 May – Manchester City v Leeds United 15:00
13 May – Leeds United v Newcastle 15:00
20 May – West Ham v Leeds United 15:00
28 May – Leeds United v Tottenham 17:00


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.

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