Daily Archives: 29/08/2017

New-Look Leeds United Causing Bookies Rethink as Odds Shorten on Promotion – by Rob Atkinson


Samu Sáiz – just one factor in Leeds’ terrific start to the season

Leeds United, to the almost incredulous delight of their legions of fans, could hardly be heading into the season’s first international break in better shape. A perfect away record in the league is only slightly offset by the two goalless draws so far at home, where United have, up to now, reserved their attacking prowess for the Carabao Cup. The defence hasn’t conceded a league goal since the opening day of the season, when an injury-hit Leeds conceded from two set-pieces but still won 3-2 at Bolton. The attack, confidently predicted to be toothless in the event of a Chris Wood departure, has actually proved to have a lot of bite, more so even, since the loss of the New Zealand international. The goals have been shared around, and the ratio of strikes on goal has been very impressive when compared to last season’s more pedestrian and predictable approach.

Having opened the season as 18/1 underdogs for winning the Championship, United’s odds have most certainly shifted after such an impressive, unbeaten start to the campaign. Those pundits who predicted that the loss of last year’s Head Coach Garry Monk would see Leeds falling from grace this time around, look likely to have to eat their words, as the team under new boss Thomas Christiansen seems to have new attacking dimensions as well as a miserly defence and the newly-acquired knack of stifling their opponents’ forward play. It all adds up to a much more likely recipe for success, even given the fact that Leeds are having to assimilate so many new players. The new additions, notably Samu Sáiz, have had a considerable impact, and this can be expected to continue as players settle in and the team gels.

At this early stage of the season, such consistent and exciting performances are all the more impressive for the fact that players who were considered key personnel this time last year are either no longer at the club or, if they are still around, they’re out of favour for one reason or another. The squad appears to have strength in depth, with most departments of the team benefiting from quality cover. As the summer transfer window ticks to its close, it appears likely that some of the Wood money will be reinvested in yet more new arrivals, with the attack the main focus of attention. Leeds are strong in midfield, well-served out wide and, with the revelatory form of new skipper Liam Cooper as well as the emergence of Conor Shaughnessy, the club now seem confident that no major reinforcement is necessary in the defensive third of the team.

So, give or take a couple of extra attacking players, it seems likely that the squad is complete for now, at least until the January window opens – and who knows just how high Leeds United might be flying by then? On the evidence of the first five games in the Championship, the answer would seem to be: the sky’s the limit.