Leeds United have been backed to avoid relegation and finish 14th in the Premier League, by leading data experts FiveThirtyEight.
Using their Club Soccer Predictions, FiveThirtyEight use SPI ratings – an estimate of a team’s overall strength – performances and predictions to constantly monitor the Premier League table.
The Whites are currently poised to avoid relegation at the first attempt and finish on 45 points.
Earlier in the campaign, Marcelo Bielsa’s side were tipped to finish 13th on 47 points but have since lost back-to-back league games against Chelsea and West Ham.
According to the data, Leeds have just an 11% chance of being relegated this season, which many fans would have jumped at if they were offered it back in the summer.
Fulham, Sheffield United and West Brom are currently poised to drop into the Championship.
Defensive improvements are key
Interestingly, the data on show suggests that Leeds will finish the season with an offensive rating of 2.0.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton, who are predicted to finish all the way up in seventh have the same score.
It highlights how valuable Leeds’ attacking nature is to their Premier League safety and just how far they could rise up the table if they tighten up defensively.
Leeds’ predicted defensive rating is 1.0, the second-worse in the bottom half of the league.
Only West Brom are predicted to finish with a lower rating (1.1), while 19th-place Sheffield United are backed to finish with a better rating than Leeds at 0.9.
Southampton are a great benchmark to showcase what could be possible for the Whites if they tighten up defensively in the Premier League.
The club’s attacking nature is more than good enough to keep them up, but the Whites risk not realising their full potential in the top flight.
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