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What Bielsa’s Leeds must do next year – by the man who knows all about it
By Richard Sutcliffe May 19, 2021
Just one game still to play and still no sign of a let-up from Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United.
That much was clear as the clock on the two giant electronic screens at either end of Southampton’s St Mary’s home stood rigidly still on 90 minutes, after an entertaining encounter had moved into the fifth of six scheduled minutes of stoppage time.
Already leading 1-0 thanks to Patrick Bamford’s deft finish, Leeds reclaimed possession inside their own box as goalkeeper Kiko Casilla broke up a home attack.
Most teams would have taken this as a sign to waste a few more precious seconds. But not Bielsa’s Leeds, as Casilla immediately looked upfield before picking out Raphinha on the right touchline with a raking 60-yard pass.
This was the cue for those clad in all white to pour forward in such numbers that, by the time Tyler Roberts stroked the ball into the corner of the net a few seconds later, there were three other Leeds players in the Southampton penalty area with left-back Ezgjan Alioski and Raphina just outside.
It was a masterclass in the full-throttle football that has won the Yorkshire club so many admirers to go with the 56 points that have already guaranteed a place in the all-time top 10 list of newly-promoted Premier League sides.
Relegated West Bromwich Albion await Bielsa’s side on the final day. Win what will be Elland Road’s first game with supporters in a little over 14 months and United will end the campaign fifth on the list of best-performing promoted teams since 1992, leapfrogging Sunderland’s class of 1999-00 and Wolves’ 2018-19 side in the process.
Best Newly Promoted Clubs
|CLUB||SEASON||POINTS||POSITION||POINTS PER GAME|
|West Ham United||2005-06||55||9th||1.45|
|* 42 game season|
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