Phil Hay: Leeds United could be in another relegation battle after Liverpool game
Phil Hay has warned that Leeds United could be in for another relegation battle this season if they haven’t got some points in the next two weeks.
After somehow finishing the game against league-leaders Arsenal on Sunday (16 October) with another defeat the Whites haven’t won in six games since the 3-0 win over Chelsea back on 21 August.
And with three games before the end of the month The Athletic’s United correspondent can see results starting to follow the previous campaign if they don’t come out of that run without a couple of good results, and Jesse Marsch will be particularly keen to avoid a similar scrap to last year.
Speaking on The Phil Hay Show on Monday (17 October, 22min) he said: “At the moment they’re on nine points from nine games. They’ve got Leicester next, they’ve got Fulham, and then they’ve got Liverpool away. So by the time they come back from Anfield they’ll have played 12 matches.
“After 12 matches last season they had 11 points, so not a million miles from the ballpark they’re in just now, and it makes you realise that if points don’t come onto the board fairly soon they’re potentially heading into another scrap to stay up.
“I think that’s what everybody wants to avoid. I don’t think anybody wants the tension or the stress of being involved in that again, and certainly not Marsch.”
Don’t tempt it
With pressure building on the manager it is no wonder that he was especially frustrated with the defeat at Elland Road, having done enough to beat the Gunners.
After the traumatic experience last year proved enough for Andrea Radrizzani to get rid of even totemic former boss Marcelo Bielsa, Marsch will know there is no leeway for him if things head the same way.
While the atmosphere within the squad has certainly not yet approached the kind of broken and defeated look that it had as the thrashings mounted at the start of 2022, if results don’t follow soon things will become increasingly edgy.
With Leicester City next up on Thursday (20 October) the Whites simply have to avoid defeat, and considering how badly the Foxes are doing a win really needs to be recorded.
There were plenty of encouraging signs against Arsenal, but positive performances aren’t enough to keep the team in the division come May.
A combination of self-destructive mistakes and controversial officiating has meant United adding only two points in as many months.
The strong start hasn’t evaporated entirely in terms of the performances but on paper it has, so Hay is right that fortunes need to improve in the next fortnight to avoid the assessment post-Anfield on 31 October taking on a concerning slant.