No Need For Panic At Leeds UnitedWith Leicester City and Ipswich Town making such impressive starts to the 2023/24 Championship season, Leeds United find themselves playing catch up.
The Whites themselves have enjoyed a strong first half of the campaign and have the quality in their ranks to battle for the automatic promotion places this season.
Leeds United fans in action during match
A Freak Season In The Second TierIt's been a Championship campaign like no other in recent memory, as Leicester and Ipswich made outstanding starts to the campaign. Leeds, who are currently priced at 17/10 in the EFL Championship odds to finish in the top two, did little wrong but still found themselves 10 points behind Ipswich after their first 22 games of the season.
At that time, Leeds had only lost four of their games and had amassed 42 points in the process. Burnley were the side that ran away with the Championship title in the 2022/23 season under manager Vincent Kompany and Leeds found themselves better off on points than the Clarets were at the 22-game mark last term.
Leeds have one of the most formidable attacking line-ups in the division, meaning even stalwart Patrick Bamford has had to settle for a spot on the bench for much of the first half of the Championship campaign. A lack of goals is unlikely to be an issue this season and it's at the other end in defence where Leeds still have room for improvement. The arrival of Joe Rodon from Tottenham Hotspur on loan has certainly helped in the heart of defence and the Welshman is likely to play an important role for the remainder of the season.
The Championship looks strong this season, with a group of four clubs looking capable of breaking away from the rest of the division. Leicester and Ipswich are the deserved early frontrunners, with Leeds and Southampton determined to keep the Foxes and the Tractor Boys in their sights. Only three teams will be promoted at the end of the season and one of these clubs will miss out on a return to the Premier League in 2024.
Leeds Have Already Done Some Of The Heavy LiftingHaving already won their away games at Leicester and Ipswich, Daniel Farke's Leeds have already overcome some major hurdles. The Tractor Boys only lost two of their first 22 games of the season and it was important Leeds got a positive result at Portman Road. At the 22-game stage of the campaign, the Whites had played six of the top seven teams in the table away from Elland Road. Those strong sides having to go to Leeds in the second half of the season will also stand Farke's side in good stead, as they look to narrow the gap between Leicester and Ipswich at the top of the standings.
Despite Leeds ticking along in the Championship at a strong rate of points, the club's history in the play-offs will have supporters anxious as the season builds towards the business end of the campaign. Leeds have fluffed their lines in the League One and Championship play-offs in the past and needed former manager Marcelo Bielsa to win the title to take them up to the Premier League in 2020. Farke has impressed at Leeds already after what was the debacle of their final two seasons in the top flight under a string of managers. The German tactician has brought a calmness that was very much needed at Elland Road.
That composure and avoidance of panic will be key for Leeds in the coming months as they hope to chip away at Leicester and Ipswich at the top of the standings.