Europe still on? Where Leeds United are fancied to finish after Brighton loss with Tottenham clash key

LEEDS United are still quietly fancied for at least a top-half finish despite their 2-0 defeat at Brighton.

Sunday, 2nd May 2021, 3:39 pm

Saturday's reverse left Leeds ninth but United then dropped to tenth as Aston Villa recorded a 2-1 victory at Everton in the day's evening kick-off to go one point above the Whites, and with a game in hand.

Arsenal would also go above Leeds if even taking a point from Sunday afternoon's fixture at Newcastle United which they approached sat one point behind Marcelo Bielsa's side

But with four games left, Leeds could still significantly climb or drop down the table.

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FOUR GAMES LEFT: For Leeds United and head coach Marcelo Bielsa in the current Premier League campaign. Photo by JOHN SIBLEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

An Arsenal draw or victory against the Magpies would leave Marcelo Bielsa's Whites in 11th place but with a six-point cushion back to 12th-placed Wolves who have a game in hand.

There is then a nine-point gap back to 13th-placed Crystal Palace, another team to have played a game less.

But Leeds have a ten-point cushion back to 14th-placed Brighton and 15th-placed Southampton, even though the Saints have a game in hand.

There are 11 points back to fifth-bottom Burnley and fourth-bottom Newcastle United but Leeds still have sound prospects of finishing in the top half if rediscovering their best in their final four games.

Arsenal and Aston Villa will both be within hailing distance and Leeds are still only five points behind eighth-placed Everton who have a game in hand.

There is a six-point gap to seventh-placed Tottenham Hotspur who also have a game in hand but still have to play the Whites.

Sixth-placed Liverpool are seven points ahead of Leeds who are eight points behind fifth-placed West Ham United and both the Reds and Hammers have played a game less.

The clubs in the top half are all realistically going to pick up a decent amount of points in their remaining games but the Spurs clash at least gives Leeds prospects of closing the gap with three games left.

Thereafter, United's season will finish with three fixtures against sides in the division's bottom six with trips to fifth-bottom Burnley and 15th-placed Southampton followed by a finale at home to second-bottom West Brom.

Twelve points from the final four games is within United's compass though a big improvement on Saturday's display at Brighton is needed.

At their best, and given kind results, a step forward into the lower top half is not inconceivable but neither to is a slide down the ladder.

A top six-finish is 200-1 which says it all but Leeds are 5-4 for a top half finish which seems about right, shorter odds than Villa who are 7-4.

Realistically, somewhere between 12th and ninth looks likely, possibly a place or two higher if beating Spurs next weekend and dependent on results elsewhere and a seventh-placed finish will likely be required to get into Europe next term.

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Thank you Laura Collins