Analysis of Leeds United’s Relegation from the Premier League – Could It Have Been Avoided?

Leeds United have been relegated from the Premier League, ending a 16-year spell in the top tier of English football. The Whites were officially relegated to the Championship following their 4-1 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur in April 2021. It was a humbling end to Leeds’s first season back in the Premier League since 2004, and fans are now asking if relegation could have been avoided.

The relegation came despite a strong start by Leeds, who won six of their opening nine matches and looked likely to remain in the top division for some time. However, it soon became clear that the Whites lacked sufficient squad depth to cope with the rigours of a Premier League season. During winter months, injuries took their toll on a thin and inexperienced squad, resulting in three consecutive losses against Brighton & Hove Albion (3-0), Aston Villa (2-1) and West Ham United (4-2). This dire run of form saw Leeds drop into 17th place by March 2023, just two points above the relegation places.

From an analysis perspective, one key factor that contributed to Leeds’s relegation was their lack of offensive firepower; they scored only 38 goals over 38 games which was lower than all but three teams across the league. This tally was made worse by Leeds’s inability to defend set pieces: they conceded 12 times from corners and free-kicks this season—second worst in the league—which proved costly at key times throughout the campaign.

Manager Marcelo Bielsa also encountered criticism for his team selections; he often chose youth players ahead of more experienced professionals, which would ultimately hamper Leeds’s survival chances as fatigue began to set in during springtime fixtures. The Argentine also tended to stick with his tried and tested 4-1-4-1 formation instead of mixing things up tactically when needed—and it wasn’t until mid April that he made any major changes to his starting line up.

Finally, it is worth noting that Leeds were particularly susceptible away from home where they lost 11 games out of 19 compared with five defeats from 19 at Elland Road. Their away form was especially poor between January and April where they gained just four points from eight matches on the road—the worst record among all 20 clubs during this period. Indeed, this played a major role in pulling them deeper into trouble as other teams around them picked up vital points on their own turf while reducing Leeds’s chances of escaping the drop zone with every passing week.

Ultimately then, while there can be no doubt that luck certainly wasn’t on their side throughout 2023, Leeds should have done better over an extended period – something which will certainly be painful for fans donning their new white and yellow Leeds United jersey next season!