'Imagine' - Leeds United writers cast predictions for survival Sunday and issue Whites verdicts

Leeds United need just about everything to go their way in order to stay up and the YEP’s three Whites writers have had their say on ‘survival Sunday’.
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Here are the views and predictions of chief football writer Graham Smyth, Lee Sobot and Joe Donnohue on what they think lies in store at Elland Road.

Graham Smyth

Imagine, for one second, the sounds and sights of Elland Road should three results all go Leeds United's way on Sunday. It would be a day for the ages, the greatest of escapes and a party to end all parties, at least in the stands.

KEY: Top scorer Rodrigo to Leeds United's chances against Tottenham. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.KEY: Top scorer Rodrigo to Leeds United's chances against Tottenham. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.
KEY: Top scorer Rodrigo to Leeds United's chances against Tottenham. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.
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Relief might be the overwhelming emotion for players and club officials, whose collective performance this season does not lend itself to the possibility of much jubilation whatever the outcome.

But for long-suffering fans, the chance to go wild has been all too often denied them over the past two seasons, so why shouldn't they let it all out if a miracle takes place.

The problem, of course, is that it's going to take a miracle to bring any of the above to pass. And it's so difficult to have faith, not only in Leeds to get the job done against Tottenham Hotspur, but for both of the other big games to end with the right results. The combination of all three is surely a leap too far, even for the most optimistic of the Whites faithful.

I can see a draw, at best, because while Leeds have not struggled to take the lead in games, they have routinely failed to hold leads. Even if Spurs can be woeful, they possess the quality to hurt Leeds and hit back should they fall behind. The hope is for the absolute best. The expectation is quite different.

Lee Sobot

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There are actually plenty of reasons to think that Leeds might well record a final day victory at home to Tottenham. Might, though, is the operative word, yet not even the final sticking point.

That lies with both Everton and now Leicester needing to slip up too and it's hard to consider Leeds' chance of survival as anything other than extremely remote.

Quite whether Sam Allardyce's side should be as short as 1-100 to be relegated is another matter altogether, the price offered by bookmakers SpreadEx about Leeds playing Championship football next term. Other firms are more like 1-25 or 1-33 which seems about right as it's surely asking too much for all three eventualities to fall in United's favour and in reality the equation will probably begin and end at Goodison Park.

Everton know that victory will keep them up no matter what happens elsewhere and the gut feeling is that Sean Dyche's side will get the job done, not that it's a foregone conclusion by any means, especially given Everton's injuries and in particular the absence of a very important cog in Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

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But even a draw will be enough unless Leeds beat Spurs by three clear goals and that too is very hard to imagine, even against a Tottenham side who have conceded only 12 less goals than Leeds this season with 62 shipped in by a Spurs back line who are now without all of Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier, Cristian Romero and Ryan Sessegnon.

The problem, though, is that a Tottenham side featuring unquestionably one of the best strikers in the world in Harry Kane have also scored 19 more than Leeds and that's likely to be a huge factor if not the difference at Elland Road.

Both teams to score? You could definitely see it happening and if Allardyce's side produce something similar to what was seen in the 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle and/or the opening 30 minutes at West Ham then it might be enough to bag a victory although having at least one of Rodrigo or Patrick Bamford fit will be key. Very little if any chance if not would be the suspicion.

But the suspicion that matters most is that Everton will beat or at the very least draw with Bournemouth and even if they don't Leeds now have another big problem in Leicester. Dean Smith's side face a pretty similar final day fixture to Everton in hosting a safe West Ham side who will now surely have a very large eye on the Europa Conference League final on Wednesday, June 7.

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It should be added that Spurs also must get a positive result at Elland Road on Sunday to stand any chance of the small crumb of comfort of qualifying for that competition themselves next season and avoiding a complete European exile. Sadly, that will only add fuel to their fire and the chances of Spurs winning at Elland Road, Leicester beating West Ham and also Everton defeating Bournemouth must be fairly high.

Leeds, basically, need the opposite of that and even this wonderful game we love called football cannot serve up that kind of final day script. Can it?.

Never say never but in all likelihood United's chance has been and gone.

Joe Donnohue

Leeds' final day encounter with Spurs feels suspiciously like a stay of execution. To many, already resigned to second tier football next season, the writing has been on the wall for weeks if not months.

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Four head coaches, two separate eight-game winless streaks, the public abandoning of a once-heralded project - it has been a season of struggle, which is why a final day manna from heaven in the form of three points and results going Leeds' way elsewhere seems so unlikely.

Statistically speaking, Leeds' chances are extremely slim. Football data people Opta calculate a three per cent likelihood that United remain in the top flight at Everton and Leicester City's expense. A three per cent probability; ninety-seven per cent faith.

Belief might be in short supply at Elland Road on Sunday afternoon but if Leeds draw first blood whilst Everton and Leicester remain deadlocked in their respective fixtures, there will be no shortage of believers. After all, they managed it last year, albeit in vastly different circumstances.

The die has been cast, Leeds' fate is out of their hands but what they can control is the display they produce as repayment for the loyal and unwavering support of Elland Road this season, and last.