Euro vision on for Leeds
SIX games and three wins into a season, and Leeds United are posing a question that rarely gets asked by newly-promoted sides.
How high can Marcelo Bielsa’s side go this season? Surely higher than the average finishing position of promoted teams, which is 15th.
Last November it was their South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United soaring high, up to fifth in the Premier League after promotion, ripping up the rule book. This time it’s Bielsa’s side who appear equipped to make one giant leap from Championship to upper reaches of the elite.
The Blades were blunted in their chase for Europe, fading badly after the lockdown restart. But given the crazy and unpredictable nature of this campaign so far, Leeds are proving they can go toe-to-toe with the best, most notably in that relentless draw against Manchester City.
What would history suggest? What would be overachieving for Bielsa (below) and his side?
Newcastle and Nottingham Forest hold the record for the highest ever finish and points total by a promoted club at 77.
Kevin Keegan’s Entertainers finished third, with a remarkable 82 goals – played over 42 games – in 1994. And a Stan Collymore-inspired Forest matched it the next summer.
An Alan Shearerinspired Blackburn finished fourth, Ipswich were fifth in 2001, and Sunderland seventh in 2000.
In recent years the leap from Championship to top half outfit has been too great.
Wolves have been the exception having come up with ready-made Premier League stars, finishing seventh in the last two seasons.
Here’s one big new target for Biesla and Co as they entertain with their high-energy tactics. Only five newlypromoted Premier League teams have qualified for Europe.