Leeds Vibrant Attacking Brand Outshining Most of Premier League   –   by Rob Atkinson



One thing we often hear presented as fact, when it’s actually merely one of those little pieces of fiction so beloved of corporate marketing types, is the alleged “gulf in class” between the Championship league and the more glittery and relentlessly hyped English Premier League. As with most of these glib generalisations, there’s an element of truth in there but – as is so often the case – it just ain’t as simple as that. 

In reality, the top teams in the Championship in any given season will give the bulk of the Premiership a good game and a run for their money a fair chunk of the time. The real gulf in class is between the Premier League élite – an exclusive band of five or six major, moneyed giants of the game – and the rest of the top flight who simply can’t hold a candle to the brilliance of the billionaires. Between these Premier League also-rans and the major contenders at the top end of the Championship, the margins are far finer. 

This weekend just gone has been a case in point. After witnessing Leeds United’s virtuoso 5-0 demolition of Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion, I then sat through two televised Premier League games on Sunday, of quite mind-numbing boredom and ineptitude, where the standard of play was palpably inferior to the fare served up by Thomas Christiansen’s troops on Saturday. First Burnley edged out Crystal Palace through a Chris Wood gift goal, then Newcastle shaded a turgid contest at Swansea. Currently, I’m watching West Ham struggle against newly-promoted Huddersfield, in a game of barely better quality than the first two. It wasn’t a Super Sunday in the EPL, and so far it’s not exactly a Magic Monday either. Despite the propaganda of the EPL, this is anything but unusual. 

Of course, most fans will already be aware that talk of uniform excellence in the top flight is merely wishful thinking with a view to selling The Brand. A glance at the EPL odds on any given weekend will show that those in the know expect the Newcastles and Huddersfields of the Premier League to be soundly sorted out anytime they play one of the real big boys, or even some of the secondary pack such as Southampton or Everton. The Premier League is really two mismatched leagues in one, and it can be carnage when excellence meets mediocrity. The same is not true when Championship contenders play top flight strugglers. 

The essential truth that has emerged from the opening part of the season is that this year’s emerging Championship aristocrats, our own Leeds United, have produced football to surpass anything Sky has shown live these past few days. I looked at the two Sunday games in the warm afterglow of that scintillating Elland Road display, and I knew – I just knew – that United could have seen off any of those four teams. The same applies to tonight’s combatants, on the evidence of the first half. 

And it’s not only this season, either. The overblown myth of Premier League superiority has been pierced and deflated on a few occasions in LS11 these past few years, by United sides with much less swagger than the current squad. Spurs, Gareth Bale and all, fell at Leeds in the FA Cup, the same season Everton were beaten in the League Cup. Lesser manifestations of Leeds than our heroes of Saturday have faced nominally higher-grade opposition, and have generally done OK. Other Championship clubs can report similar successes. It doesn’t fit in with the Premier League “we are da BEST” narrative, but it’s a fact nonetheless.

The proof of the pudding, of course, is in the eating – and my contention will be put to the test at Burnley in the Carabao Cup shortly. But I honestly expect us to give a good account of ourselves, due to my conviction that Leeds United’s football this term has been a cut above much of what we’ve seen from the middle and lower echelons of the so-called “élite”. 

We shall see. But, whenever you can bear to tear your eyes away from the spectacular style and verve of Leeds United’s current performance levels, take a look at some of the Premier League dross being shown live by satellite. I’m pretty sure any objective judge, as well as we blinkered Whites fanatics, would concede that I’ve got a point. 

                                       -o0o-

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12 responses to “Leeds Vibrant Attacking Brand Outshining Most of Premier League   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. We could match these overrated teams at present.

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  2. It will just be our luck that the Premier money bubble will go pop just as we get there! Meanwhile before Burnley we need to concentrate on the day job for the next two matches as six more points would be very handy.

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  3. We have a great chance to see how good this Leeds team is when we play Burnley next week. I really hope Thomas puts out a strong side that night, but being the Rumbelows/Milk/Carabao cup I doubt if either side will.

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  4. Paul Pearson

    Absolutely, just finished watching Hammers & Udders and both teams were shit, just that Town were that bit shitter. The thing is I have a feeling Town will stay in the prem for the next few seasons because it is an easy league to stay in, its bloody getting there thats hard.

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  5. Stephen agill

    I second your thoughts. I like you in pain sat through the same dross. Leeds will be a breath of fresh air, work in progress style when the eventual promotion in may happens.

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  6. Well said Rob. One thing for sure, when we do go up we will put some life and soul back into those dreary lifeless stadiums that wouldnt know what an adrenalin rush was if it hit them in the face. I think even the die hard haters of this great club of ours would relish the thought of our return. We will put the Premiere back in the Premiere League.

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  7. “It’s a great time to be alive” as the saying goes! I have felt positive about things LUFC on occasion during the past 12 years, but this feels different. I’m stranded in Melbourne these days, but my decades-long season ticket holding brother told me this morning that on Saturday there was “a real buzz around the place before the game” and that Radrizzani “seems to be taking us to the next level”. That’ll do for me, for starters!

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  8. Over the past 14 years the Nightmare Round The Corner has become a given every time things started to look even slightly up. And yes it does feels different this time. The management team AR has put together are doing a great job, long may it continue. The bottom twelve of the Premier League seem only to serve one main purpose, and that is to provide some decidedly iffy overseas players the chance to play first tier football, in the hope that one of the top six might notice them. That is it.
    And We can get there, we can shake it up and give these teams a game, and I can’t wait…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Much truth spoken there Rob. I really do not want to jinx tonight’s result but I’m fully expecting us to beat Burnley. Even with a changed squad I’m not sure the team we put out could be described as weaker. Consider maybe starting places for Gomes,Alioski , Viera O’shaunessy and I think we’ll do just dandy.

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  10. I was thinking about this exact same thing as I cycled home from work tonight. This team would give a very good account of itself in the premier league without a doubt. There are also so many similarities between this team and the 89 set-up,the meticulous methods of TC and Sgt Wilko spring to mind initially but there’s another key factor,the experience,guile and skill of Hernandez reminds me a lot of Strachan. I certainly hope this is all an omen as you know what the class of 89 achieved in their first two seasons back?

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  11. Kal Sandhu

    Keep on writing brother….nice if it was just on football 🙂
    Beer on me on my next visit. Cheers

    MOT

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  12. Mr Rearguard

    “The real gulf in class is between the Premier League élite – an exclusive band of five or six major, moneyed giants of the game”………….6 giants of the game. So that is why and how the SCUM have found themselves playing last night in the Champions League after finishing well down in 6th place. I thought it was only 4 clubs that go through and the Arsenal missed out by finishing higher up in 5th. Am I missing something?

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