Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s Championship opener at QPR.
Another summer, another overhaul at Elland Road. Since the arrival of Massimo Cellino as owner of the club, the events in the lead up to the season have followed a familiar pattern.
New manager comes in, fans favourites go out, a few loan signings arrive and a sprinkling of signings appear. We sit back, close our eyes and hope for the best. And then in October the owner rips it all up and starts again!
Will Garry Monk be the man to break the mould? Early impressions of him are very favourable; he seems a very laid-back character and coming from the Premier League will be used to working under the spotlight. However he is coming from one of the best-run clubs in football to possibly the most erratic and it will be interesting to see how things pan out.
The Championship seems harder than ever to escape from, certainly at the tight end of the table.
There are a host of clubs in the league that have a huge financial advantage with parachute payments and every season Leeds don’t go up, they fall further and further down the pecking order.
It could even be said that for the first time in a long time, Leeds are not the biggest club in the division, with Newcastle and Aston Villa having fallen through the Premier League trapdoor.
To start the season with a cliché, there are no easy games in the Championship, but Leeds have been handed a difficult start to the campaign, but one that if they are to be considered as challengers offers a host of teams that we will be needing to beat if we are to leapfrog into the promotion chase.
The trip to Loftus Road was one of the darkest days of the previous campaign.
A team devoid of ideas with a coach seemingly out of his depth, the limp 1-0 defeat saw the fans turn on the owner and demand change.
That change at the very top hasn’t come, but Leeds seem to be in a much better place than they were in November. Players come and players go but the season always should start with a little bit of optimism.
Three points to start with seem the least we can hope for.
Prediction: QPR 0 Leeds United 1.
It’s back! After England’s ignominious exit at the hands of mighty Iceland in the Euro’s in France real, proper football returns tonight, tomorrow and Sunday.
Yet again Sky dictate how the Championship season of 2016/17 begins.
At Leeds there’s been quite a few changes, new head coach and backroom staff and seven arrivals.
Green, Bartley, Antonsson, Grimes, Hernandez, Sacko and Roofe with unfortunately Lewis Cook going out the front door, another example of poor management of the club at boardroom level.
Leeds may well have not been able to compare with the Bournemouth gold offered to the youngster but he should have been offered better terms a year or so ago.
Also gone are Mirco Antenucci, Casper Sloth and Giuseppe Bellusci; unlike Cook these won’t be really missed.
The squad needs additions – a centre-back, maybe two, and a holding midfielder could make the difference between 10th and sixth.
A certain hero of Leeds United in the nineties, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, is Queens Park Rangers’ manager and will be wanting to put one over his former club.
I’d be happy with a point to start the 2016/17 season, a win would be superb.
Prediction: QPR 1 Leeds United 1.
Any game away from home in the Championship would have been a difficult start but Queens Park Rangers looks harder than many.
A mixed bag of results for the R’s in pre-season came good in the end with a fine 2-0 home win over a strong Watford side while Leeds were beating Serie A side Atalanta.
I’m happy with the Leeds signings so far but still think until we recruit one more solid centre-back and someone to command the centre of midfield we will remain just short of the quality we need to win games like this.
A draw at Loftus Road would be a great result to start the season.
Prediction: QPR 2 Leeds United 1.
United appear, on paper, to have made some good additions to the squad over the summer months but it’s a window that will be remembered more for Lewis Cook’s departure than anything else. He and Sam Byram were the future last summer. Now they’re very much the past.
It has become traditional for us to start the season with a new manager and a new plan so let’s see if this one can last beyond Christmas.
There are many reasons to be jaded as a United supporter but there remains at least a hint of excitement about a clean slate and the first game of the season. As ever, a good start is crucial, a win would be great but we’ll likely have to settle for a draw.
Prediction: QPR 1 Leeds United 1.
It almost seems two minutes since Deepdale saw a tearful Steve Evans depart as coach.
However, on Sunday lunchtime (courtesy of Sky) United embark on their latest Championship campaign.
‘El Presidente’ decided that divine intervention was required and accordingly appointed a Monk in charge.
Seven new players (soon to be eight) have arrived and Lewis Cook has departed, shortly to be followed (when, not if) by Charlie Taylor.
The squad looks more balanced in terms of midfield and attack, however defensive concerns still persist.
One thing that is certain is that the loyal hordes will be in attendance through the ups and downs.
Prediction: QPR 2 Leeds United 2.
Every new season brings fresh hope but this year there is an unusual but welcome positivity around the club.
In the corresponding fixture last season neither side looked capable of scoring until Charlie Austin appeared from the bench early in the second half and scored the only goal of a boring game.
QPR were the draw specialists of the Championship last season but I’m backing Leeds to pull off a narrow win this time around.
Prediction: QPR 1 Leeds United 2.