The question that evolving Leeds United must answer and fixtures warning - David Prutton

Wolves at home followed by Southampton away fits pretty well for Leeds United’s start to the new season, if you are going by the relative stature of clubs in the Premier League that is.

By David Prutton
Monday, 20th June 2022, 4:45 am

We’ll obviously have got to wait and see how those two teams tool-up over the course of the summer and what Leeds do as well.

But I don’t think that United are going to get lulled into a false sense of security that it’s going to be an easier start to the season next term because they spent the majority of last season chasing their tails.

A good strong start is needed and Leeds’ first two fixtures jump out because of who they are against but we also know what both Southampton and Wolves can both do in the Premier League.

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CHANGING TIMES: Danish international right back Rasmus Kristensen, above, is one of three new faces at Leeds United already this summer. Photo by Thor Wegner/DeFodi Images via Getty Images.

Those games will come around before we know it and it will be back to how tough it was at the end of last season.

Leeds showed the benefit of getting the work done early in their first season back in the Premier League.

It meant that when it came to the pertinent time of the year they could actually almost enjoy it.

So it’s absolutely imperative that Leeds begin well and also because of how last season finished.

Fans know well that a season can drag on for a long time if you don’t begin it in the right possible manner.

Leeds will play Manchester City at Elland Road on Boxing Day in their first game back after the six-week break for the World Cup and the fact that most of City’s players will have been playing at the World Cup is a slim positive.

But on the flip side, by then Leeds might be facing people that have got really stuck in to the meat of their season and who are really going through the gears so you just really don’t know.

It could be that teams come back and are all over the place before they get their coherence back or you could just get teams that step off the plane and get back to it because that’s what those players do because they are phenomenal players.

Leeds also have a hard run-in with Manchester City, Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham in their final four games which again emphasises the importance of them getting points early on.

You can look at fixtures and if you are a fan of a certain persuasion you can pre-empt where the points are going to come from.

But last season showed that is absolutely not the case and Leeds can’t take anything for granted.

They can’t assume that one fixture may offer them a benefit over another, as we saw with the season before with the points that they accrued against the likes of Man City.

Getting points against those teams is absolutely is doable from a Leeds United point of view – but it is another thing putting that into practice and obviously getting over the line with regards to safety because I still maintain that it’s all about safety.

It’s all about getting the requisite points to be able to class yourself as safe yet again because of how long Leeds have been out of the Premier League and how tough they have found it in the top tier is after being away for so long.

The three promoted teams are the three favourites to go back down but they are all teams that have got unique identities and don’t bet against that wave of positivity and optimism that

drags Forest back up.

Leeds have been there themselves after such a long period away and they know how that momentum can fuel them for that next assault back in the Premier League and Leeds against Forest is a grand old name of English football.

The City Ground is a grand old stadium of English football.

Then you have Fulham who have been a bit of a yo-yo club and Bournemouth who were well established for the best part of five or six seasons.

As the years have progressed with the Premier League and with the riches involved, it becomes an absolute dogfight to make sure that you stay in it and all three promoted sides will be tooling up to give themselves the best chance.

Leeds are also doing just that having now completed their third signing of the summer in 25-year-old Spanish midfielder Marc Roca from Bayern Munich.

He follows USA international Brenden Aaronson and Denmark international right back Rasmus Kristensen, both from RB Salzburg.

Leeds are certainly going global and they are casting their net far and wide.

I think it’s good solid progress made in the early part of the off-season going into pre-season and maybe we are going to see a gradual evolution of the squad.

The players that got Leeds back are utter heroes but the real test is the longevity that comes with the question of can they hack it in the Premier League over the course of several seasons?

Or is it going to be a team and a club that crawls its way through a campaign and seeks to get to safety come the very end of the season?

I can’t think for a minute that anyone involved in Leeds and the hierarchy wants that to be the MO.

It will be about first and foremost consolidation and then about progression.