Leeds Fan’s Premier League Season Preview

After a year to remember, can The Whites continue their meteoric revival under Marcelo Bielsa?

Published: 6 August 2021 - 5.03pm

Ahead of a brand new season of Premier League football on BT Sport, we spoke to fans of each and every team about their expectations for what lies ahead over the next nine months.

Talking all things Leeds United, BTSport.com sat down with The Athletic’s Amitai Winehouse to get his thoughts on the Yorkshire side’s sophomore season back in the top flight.

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Hopes

The hope would be, everything going perfectly, to get into the European spots. We did only finish three points off a Europa League Conference place last season, so qualifying for Europe would have to be our aim this season.

I’d like to see some of the players maintain what was started last season.

Rodrigo started scoring towards the end to the year. If he has a good season, he can make the difference for us in allowing us to have an alternative to Patrick Bamford playing as a number nine.

If Rodrigo, along with Robin Koch and Diego Llorente, up their game even a little then we can expect to see an improvement. 

I’m interested to see how Pascal Struijk gets on as there’s a chance he could come in for Liam Cooper. He stepped up when Cooper was injured last season but at times during the latter half of the year, even when Cooper was fit, Struijk was preferred.

Fears

I’m a Leeds fan so of course relegation is a real fear.

I watched a team with Mark Viduka, Alan Smith, Lucas Radebe and other genuinely top players go down during 2003/04.

A real concern would be if we start the season badly and Marcelo Bielsa leaves on a sour note.

I know he won’t be around forever but when the time comes that he walks away, I want Bielsa to leave Elland Road with his head held high.

My biggest fear is that he walks away after a disappointing season - we get relegated or finish 16th – and the Bielsa revolution has been tainted slightly.

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The Whites' season opener is exclusively live on BT Sport 1 HD & Ultimate from 11.30am on Saturday 14 August.

Most important player

Kalvin Phillips. Under Bielsa, Leeds just don’t tick as well when he’s not playing. He’s at the heart of everything.

I’ve got a funny feeling Bielsa will start playing him further forward, like we saw at times for England this summer. It worked very well because the Three Lions could press higher up the pitch.

He’s known as the Yorkshire Pirlo but I could see him becoming the south Leeds N’Golo Kante and playing further forward for us in that advanced playmaker role.

Rising star

There’s a lot of talent in the both the academy and our Under-23s, who won their league last season.

Wigan fans, though, told us Joe Gelhardt would be a star after we signed him in August last year and he looks like he could make an impact soon enough.

He’s 19 and he’s been compared to a young Wayne Rooney. Club loyalties aside, that’s something to get excited about.

 

What I’ve missed the most

Given I have a terrible record for results at Elland Road, the thing I’ve missed more than anything is the Fish and Chip shop opposite the South Stand.

Graveley’s does the best mushy peas in the north and it’s where I tend to see my friends pre-match.

 

Prediction

10th place. Any team with Bielsa in charge will be able to compete with others in the Premier League.

Last season went so well compared to what the fans expected that I think there might be a slight drop off.