Leeds United were certainly one of the most positive surprises of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign. Ever since the opening day’s fixture against Liverpool (a 4-3 defeat) to a four-win run at the very end of the season, Marcelo Bielsa’s troops have conquered the hearts of all the neutral fans out there.
We were all stunned by the plethora of fantastic attacking plays from the recently promoted outfit and we all kind of fell in love with the Peacocks last time out. While we expected them to carry on and possibly even attack the European spots in the 2021/22 season, they got off to a horrendous start.
This brings us to the question from the title of the article. Will Leeds United suffer from a second season syndrome this time around? We have asked the question to the football experts at NewJerseysafebetting.com.
Bamford, Raphninha, Harrison – Joga bonito
Leeds United ended the previous Premier League campaign in the top half of the standings, thus well confounding the pre-season expectations. They had one of the top-six attacking records in the entire division with 62 goals in 38 outings.
Patrick Bamford marked an amazing campaign with 17 goals in 38 appearances. Goals also came from Man City’s loanee Jack Harrison who found the back of the net 8 times in 36 appearances. Rodrigo came in with 7 goals in 26 games, while Raphinha added 6 in 30 appearances. We also have to mention a fantastic season from left-back Stuart Dallas who bagged as many as 8 goals in 38 matches while playing across at least four different positions throughout the season.
A horrendous start to the 2021/22 season
Leeds were not super active during the summer transfer window. They kept all key players, strengthening their backline with former Barcelona left-back Junior Firpo at the same time. The most important move was the signing of Jack Harrison on a permanent contract from Manchester City.
Everything thus suggested another successful campaign for Marcelo Bielsa and his troops. However, the players were just not capable to live up to the higher ambitions at the start of the season. They suffered a demolishing 5-1 loss to Manchester United on the opening day at the Old Trafford. While it is not embarrassing to lose to the Red Devils away at the Theater of Dreams, conceding five goals was a worrying sign for the Argentinean manager.
Leeds looked for their maiden victory in the first home match of the season, but they only drew 2-2 to Everton. They then travelled to the Turf Moor to battle the struggling Burnley side but managed to come up with nothing more than a point in a 1-1 draw. The negative run continued in the following matches as well since the Peacocks managed to take no more than one point from the clashes against Liverpool (a 0-3 loss at home), Newcastle (a 1-1 draw on the road), and West Ham (a 1-2 loss at home).
Defence is still not there, attack is yet to click
The lack of defensive meticulousness is nothing new to Leeds, but the problem is that the attack has not clicked yet. To be fair, Bielsa has had numerous issues with injured players all over the pitch. His backline was crippled through the injuries of Diego Llorente, Luke Ayling, Pascal Struijk, and Robin Koch. The main attacking options, Patrick Bamford and Raphinha have also suffered injuries themselves. Nothing seemed to have gone Leeds’ way in the earliest phase of the season.
However, we firmly believe that the Peacocks will find a way to rise and shift their fortunes around as soon as the medical situation improves. They definitely have the quality to avoid the relegation scrap and to try and push for a top-half finish once again, despite a dismal kick-off to the campaign.