Leeds United moment experienced with my son spoke volumes of current feeling at Elland Road - David Prutton

New Year’s Eve always presents the opportunity to look back over the last 12 months although sentiment can quickly get biffed aside in football.

By David Prutton
Friday, 31st December 2021, 4:45 am

For Leeds United, there were the highs of the games in the second half of last season, the way the team finished and the position the team finished in which was a glorious success.

The questions were always going to present themselves in the second season, as they are now.

But you have still got to realise the magnitude of what this group of players has achieved and you just hope that is book-ended by more joy come the end of the season, the same sort of joy Leeds found from firstly being promoted and then being in the actual division.

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SOLIDARITY: Twenty-year-old right back Cody Drameh applauds Leeds United's fans after a patched-up Whites were beaten 4-1 by Arsenal at Elland Road. Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images.

There has been a real transformative era at Leeds United - and the club needed it.

They needed that man in Marcelo Bielsa to drag them back over the line into the Premier League and, hopefully, what we see from here on in re-affirms that.

I was fortunate enough to be at the Arsenal game at Elland Road before Christmas with my son and the atmosphere was amazing.

The defending was shambolic at times but it was a tough game in a tough period where Leeds were hanging on for dear life due to injuries.

Given the week that Leeds had endured, the Man City game followed by the Arsenal game, to then hear the vast majority of that crowd sing about Marcelo and put forward their thoughts, feelings and love for the man goes to show what high esteem he is held in.

In recent months we have seen naysayers come out and attempt to pull apart how Marcelo goes about it, what he actually does and try to pass judgement.

That is what this industry is about and what football is about and I understand that. It’s about opinion.

But, undoubtedly, Marcelo has been the most glorious thing to happen to that football club in recent living memory I think.

Against Arsenal, Leeds were facing a team that has had an upswing and a team that is in a different vein of confidence and form now that Mikel Arteta has been given the time and the patience and the finance to be able to get that team how we wants it.

They were always going to be a difficult proposition, especially given the callow nature of the Leeds United side that the Gunners faced.

Without Illan Meslier, the game could have ended up with Leeds conceding another seven.

But I still believe that there are three worse teams than Leeds United in this division although whether that strikes any form of assurance into the Leeds supporters I don’t know.

I just think it is going to be extremely tough but we have never been under any illusions at all about how tough it would be to get in the division, stay in the division and then consolidate.

This is where the real heroes will come to the fore.

Leeds are set to return to action with Sunday’s visit of third-bottom Burnley and that game is huge.

Leeds were five points ahead of the relegation zone as Burnley headed for Manchester United last night and, if you finish five points above the bottom three on the last game of the season, then that’s not a bad year, you know, given how confrontational it is down there and how fierce the battle is.

That might sound a little bit defeatist but Leeds just need to be that clear of the bottom three come the end of the season.

Burnley have given themselves a little bit more of a mountain to climb than they normally would do but they know exactly what it takes to get out of it.

But there is no coming away from it, it will be a tough game for Leeds.

That word keeps getting mentioned and I have used it so many times but that’s exactly what it will be.

It will be a fight in every single game for every single minute of every game between now and the end of the season.

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Thank you Laura Collins