Athletic journalist George Caulkin has delivered a cautiously optimistic verdict on Leeds United in the Premier League.
He says that despite Leeds not having their fans to push them on – he describes Elland Road as “one of the game’s great, raw, hostile arenas” and of fans being “robbed” – they will “survive and push on” in the Premier League.
He said the other two promoted clubs – West Brom and Fulham – won’t find things so easy.
Writing in The Atheltic, Caulkin said, “My personal theory — flawed, like most of my personal theories — is that promotion from the Championship, arguably the most competitive division of all, requires extraordinary momentum. Week after week, teams are tested and required to churn out results.
“That momentum often carries them into the Premier League and it can be enough to see them overtake tired clubs, who have hit the ceiling of ambition, tried and failed to reinvent themselves, or made one mistake too many in the transfer market.
“Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham won’t have home crowds to push them on, initially at least, and then, if all goes well, far reduced in numbers.
“Traditionally, Elland Road is one of the game’s great, raw, hostile arenas and it is such a shame for their supporters to be robbed of that after so long away, although my hunch is that Leeds will survive and push on.
“Marcelo Bielsa is going to be fascinating. The other two promoted clubs may find it more difficult.”
Fans suffer but Leeds prosper
Leeds fans have already been robbed of one of the most significant moments in the club’s history.
They had to sit at home on their hands and watch on TV as Leeds finally secured promotion back to the Premier League, ultimately in emphatic style.
The first game back? Liverpool at Anfield and it doesn’t get much tougher or more appealing than that.
Talking about being robbed, the atmosphere at a full Anfield Road would have been absolutely electric, with the champions of the top two divisions facing off against each other.
There might have been 19 clubs between Leeds and Liverpool last season but the Whites were a lot better than a lot of Premier League sides and we hope they can give the Reds a good game next Saturday.
However, that result won’t define the season and Leeds have been priced around 9/1 to win by the bookies and 5/1 to come away with a draw.
That might not be far off the true price but there perhaps isn’t a better time to play Liverpool than in the first game of the season and with an empty Anfield.
As for Caulkin’s verdict – “survive and push on” – we would definitely take that.
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