Season preview: Leeds

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Leeds news, season preview: The 2020-21 Premier League season is almost here and our season previews will give you all of the information you need to know about each of the 20 PL clubs.

Let’s go!

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This is our Leeds season preview, as you can click on the link above to find out exactly how you can watch every single Leeds game live in the USA across our platforms at NBC Sports.

[ PHOTOS: Ranking new kits for 2020-21 PL season ]

Okay, time to focus on Leeds’ long-awaited return to the Premier League…


Leeds

2019-20 finish: 1st in Championship (28-9-9, 93 points) – Promoted as Champions
Head coach: Marcelo Bielsa
2019-20 top scorer: Patrick Bamford (16 goals)
Location: Leeds, Yorkshire


ProSoccerTalk’s key topic on Leeds: How far can the Marcelo Bielsa show go?

All eyes will be on Leeds United’s return to the Premier League after a 16-year absence, as the Yorkshire giants took the Championship by storm in Marcelo Bielsa’s second full season in charge. The eccentric Argentine coach will sit on his bucket on the sidelines and direct his team to press high often, as well as trying to keep the ball and play a mesmerizing style. Leeds, in theory, have everything set up to be a top six Premier League team and Bielsa is one of the most influential managers in recent history. Many are tipping Leeds to finish in the top 10 and given how well they’ve played agains Premier League teams in cup competitions in recent seasons, this should be a lot of fun. With Rodrigo adding extra firepower, Leeds should be fun to watch and will have an extra cutting edge which was the main reason they didn’t break records galore during their promotion campaign. Bielsa has awoken a sleeping giant.


Leeds news: The current situation

After finishing 10 points clear at the top of the Championship last season, things are positive at Leeds. They have been handed a tough start to the season but if they can cause a few upsets early on, they will be flying by December. They will hope to have as many fans as possible inside Elland Road as soon as possible, as their fanatic supporters give them an edge. Leeds will want to be back in European action in the next few seasons but Bielsa will know they have to walk before they can run. Getting supporters to stay on board with that mantra will be tough, because Leeds are one of the biggest clubs in England and have underachieved for so long. With a mixture of classy players such as Pablo Hernandez, Rodrigo and Helder Costa, plus youngsters Kalvin Phillips and Jack Harrison adding to an experienced core of defenders, Bielsa has an interesting mix of players who have all bought into his unique playing style. If you are a neutral, make sure you watch Leeds every single week.


Key Leeds news, season objectives

  • Keeping Marcelo Bielsa happy: It doesn’t take much to set Bielsa off and he’s left previous clubs abruptly and it looked unlikely he would return to Leeds for the 2019-20 season. He did, and his pressing tactics took them to the promised land and he’s a God in Leeds. Bielsa has influenced some of the world’s top managers, including Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino, as Guardiola once called Bielsa “the best coach in the world” and Pochettino has said Bielsa is “like my second father.” High praise, but Bielsa is high strung and needs backing in the transfer window otherwise he could just walk out of the door.
  • Spending big to make sure they stay in the top-flight: They have brought in Rodrigo on a club-record deal and probably need a few more additions, especially defensively, if they’re going to cement themselves in the Premier League. They wanted to sign Ben White permanently but that didn’t happen. 
  • Enjoy the ride: Look, there will be a lot of pressure from Leeds’ fanbase for this team to compete right away in the PL and emulate what Wolves have done. That will be tough and Leeds have been on a heck of a ride since they were last in the PL in 2004. From double relegation to the third tier and the agony of so many second half of the season collapses and playoff heartbreaks, players, fans and club employees should try and enjoy being back in the top-flight whenever possible.

Transfers in

  • Helder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
  • Illan Meslier (Lorient)
  • Jack Harrison (Man City) Loan
  • Joe Gelhardt (Wigan)
  • Cody Drameh (Fulham)
  • Sam Greenwood (Arsenal)
  • Rodrigo Moreno Machado (Valencia)
  • Robin Koch (Freiburg)

ProSoccerTalk’s prediction for Leeds in 2020-21

They will not be relegated but may not push for the top 10 yet. Leeds are probably a few more buys in the transfer window away from really pushing on in the Premier League but if they’re doing well when the January transfer window arrives, expect Marcelo Bielsa to be given plenty of cash to spend. That said, after their financial meltdown saw them collapse from Champions League semifinals to League One in just a few years, the club will spend wisely this time around. Leeds will be exciting this season and should cause plenty of shocks. Solid midtable finish for the Yorkshire giants.