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Can Leeds United return to the top flight?

Friday 29th September 2017
Leeds United have been a club of many ups and downs in recent years. Following their rich English top flight history, including winning the title in 1991-92,  they've since plummeted down to being a decent Championship side. However, now it seems the tide is turning. Can they go on to gain promotion to the Premier League?

Granted, it is too early in the season to say who goes up and who goes down. There are plenty of twists and turns yet to play out. However, one thing is certain - Leeds have had a fantastic start as they sit third in the table, just three points behind Cardiff City, and one adrift of Sheffield United. Many expected Leeds to sit in the Championship for a while longer yet, particularly after letting Gary Monk go after he seemed to start a revival at the Whites. Now, with Thomas Christiansen at the helm, they are looking to continue improving from last season.
Leeds seem to have got it right so far this season, cementing a solid 20 points from their opening 10 games. Really, this is a promising start. Christiansen will be hoping to set the foundations and then really push on towards the second half of the season. Along with Championship high-flyers Cardiff and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds will definitely have one eye on the Premier League. A strong couple of summer transfer windows has allowed the Yorkshire side to build a solid squad that is fit for promotion.

During the recent summer transfer window, Leeds managed to land the signing of Samuel Saiz. The former Madrid man, who was once on the books of both the Spanish capital's big teams, agreed to make the move after spending two years at Huesca, a second division side in Spain. The impact was immediate. Saiz hit a hat-trick in his first competitive game against Port Vale. With other exciting attacking options in Kemar Roofe, Pablo Hernandez and Kalvin Philips to select from, it's no wonder Leeds are the Championship's second-highest goalscorers, notching an impressive 18 goals so far this campaign.

Leeds have also proven they can rise to the challenge in the toughest games. Arguably, their highest feat so far is knocking Premier League side Burnley out of the League Cup, albeit on penalties, after managing to hold them to a 2-2 draw for 120 minutes.
However, Leeds did suffer a setback in August, losing a major asset in the shape of Chris Wood. The New Zealand forward managed 41 goals in just 83 league games during his United career and has continued with a similar goal to game ratio in the Premier League for new club, Burnley. Undoubtedly, Wood's goals will be a massive loss. But everyone connected to Leeds will still feel the club can gain promotion to the Premier League. Is it possible?

The Championship is one of the most unpredictable leagues in Europe. It is a league that in recent times has seen Huddersfield Town, Bournemouth and Brighton all achieve great success. Therefore, it would be impossible to say, with any certainty, that Christiansen's side will make the grade for promotion. However, so far this campaign, things are going well at Elland Road. Perhaps, then, Leeds United can make the headlines for all the right reasons come to the end of the season.
Jack Drury
19 years of age. Sport and Exercise Science Student at Loughborough University. Peterborough United.

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