Leeds United will have to work harder than Burnley and Everton due to 'added problem', warns Alan Shearer

BBC pundit Alan Shearer has warned Leeds United that they will have to work harder than their relegation rivals in order to remain in the Premier League.

By Flora Snelson
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 4:45 pm

On Sunday, the Whites dropped into the relegation zone after failure to pick up any points against Arsenal allowed Everton, who won 2-1 at Leicester City, to leapfrog them.

The Toffees are by no means clear of danger, but are one point ahead of Leeds with a game in hand and, on paper, a more straight-forward run-in.

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Tied on points with Burnley, United must now go toe-to-toe with the Lancashire side as the final three games of the season form a straight shootout to discover which team deserves a place in the 2022/2023 Premier League competition.

But Leeds' survival bid is hindered by one inescapable fact which demands that Jesse Marsch's side must beat - not match - Burnley's form in the final trio of matches.

"The pressure is hugely on Leeds now after they dropped into the bottom three," Shearer told the BBC.

"Leeds also have two home games to come, but they have the added problem of a much worse goal difference than Burnley and Everton, which gives them even more work to do to stay up."

Leeds United have shipped 74 goals in the Premier League this season - already 21 more than the Whites conceded last season. Pic: Alex Livesey.

Having conceded 74 goals this season, United's terrible defensive record - only relegated Norwich City have conceded more goals - led to major upheaval midway through the season as conceding in large numbers played a significant role in the dismissal of former Whites boss Marcelo Bielsa.

The flow of goals has been stemmed somewhat with Marsch's introduction, but problems remain at the other end of the pitch where the absence of last season's top scorer Patrick Bamford has been felt keenly.

Though injuries to captain Liam Cooper, Kalvin Phillips and Bamford have wreaked havoc with the Whites' season, Shearer suggested they should not be feeling too sorry for themselves.

"They are clearly missing Patrick Bamford up front but you can see how Everton have struggled with their own injuries and the Clarets have problems there too - they could be without their two first-choice centre-halves for the run-in after James Tarkowski joined Ben Mee on the sidelines this weekend," Shearer said.

Patrick Bamford has been a huge miss for Leeds United this season - but the Whites aren't alone with their injury troubles. Pic: Laurence Griffiths.

"It is part and parcel of a relegation battle, unfortunately.

"Every team down there has a hard luck story to tell about what has happened over the past nine months, but it is the next two weeks that will decide who gets a happy ending or not."

BBC pundit and former Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer. Pic: Clive Brunskill.