Football in England’s top two tiers is finally making a return following its suspension two months ago due to the global coronavirus pandemic. And whilst Liverpool have all but wrapped up the Premier League title – their first league accolade in over 30 years – in the Championship, Leeds United are hoping to secure their long-awaited return to England’s top flight.
Leeds, who could be back featuring on the dedicated Premier League betting page next season, dropped down to the Championship in 2004, and haven’t returned since. The Whites came close to climbing back into the top flight last season, but a dire end to the campaign resulted in Marcelo Bielsa’s side dropping out of the automatic promotion places before losing to Frank Lampard’s Derby County in the play-off semi-finals.
With Leeds’ remaining fixtures now confirmed and seven points between them at the top and Fulham in third, Bielsa will be hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself. Leeds have a massive nine games standing between them and promotion, restarting their season with a trip to Cardiff City on Sunday 21st June, before facing Fulham (H), Luton Town (H), Blackburn Rovers (A), Stoke City (H), Swansea City (A), Barnsley (H), Derby (A), and Charlton Athletic (H). With that in mind, let’s take a look at the standout games.
Cardiff – Away
Leeds’ first game back is a lengthy 234 mile trip over the border to Wales to face Cardiff. The Bluebirds, who are ninth in the table, still have everything to play for as they are just two points behind Preston North End in the final play-off spot. Worryingly for Leeds fans, they haven’t beaten Cardiff since 2016, and have been on the receiving end of a defeat on three of the last four outings – including a 3-1 defeat when they travelled to the Cardiff City stadium last season. The Whites will be hoping for a turn of fortune, as restarting the season without a win could turn the tide of the title race.
Fulham – Home
Moving on to Leeds’ first game at Elland Road since March, and it’s another challenging encounter for the Whites. Defeat in this game, along with the Cardiff outing, could potentially see the west Londoners pull level on points with Bielsa’s side. Again, it’s bad news for Leeds, as they haven’t picked up a win over Fulham since 2015. Unbelievably, the two sides drew a whopping five games on the bounce over the course of the last five years, however, Fulham have won the last two outings causing more concern for Leeds’ tough run-in.
Blackburn – Away
Following a home game to second-bottom Luton, Leeds will travel to rivals Blackburn. In better news for fans of the Whites, they have won four of their last five outings against the Ewood Park side – and it could be the day that they are crowned champions. However, Leeds would have to win all four of their games to this point, whilst their promotion rivals would need to have a dire start. Fulham and Nottingham Forest would need to lose all four of their games with Brentford beating the former in their first game and then losing their next three outings. Simply put, Leeds would need to pick up all 12 points and lengthen the gap between them and Fulham to 19 points with just 15 left to play for.
The much more likely scenario is; Leeds and Fulham matching each other’s results from the get-go and drawing their outing. If that’s the case then a trip to Barnsley on the third last game week would land the Whites automatic promotion. Whatever the outcome, it’s sure to be a great end to a thrilling Championship season!