Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds gained plenty of admirers for their brave, high-energy approach last season. Will they be able to replicate that intensity in 2021/22? Or could they suffer from second-season syndrome?
• Manager: Marcelo Bielsa
• Stadium: Elland Road
• Last Season: 9th
Leeds returned to top-flight action following a 16-year absence last term and wasted no time in establishing themselves as a solid Premier League side once again.
📺 https://t.co/uILnnfa4dl pic.twitter.com/hjYKe9HiPw
— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 31, 2021
Bielsa’s boys surprised a lot of people with their relentless work rate throughout their comeback campaign, claiming a number of notable scalps in the process.
• What Happened Last Season?
It’s fair to say that Leeds United’s return to the Premier League could not have gone much better. After all, a top-half finish is probably the best they could have hoped for.
Having bagged 62 goals, Biesla’s side were the seventh-highest scorers in the league last season. That said, they did leak a lot of goals at the other end of the pitch.
Patrick Bamford (17 goals, 8 assists), Stuart Dallas (8 goals, 2 assists), Jack Harrison (8 goals, 8 assists), Rodrigo (7 goals, 2 assists) and Raphina (6 goals, 9 assists) all enjoyed standout campaigns.
- Junior Firpo – Barcelona (£13.50m)
- Jack Harrison – Manchester City (£11.52m)
- Kristoffer Klaesson – Valerenga (£1.80m)
Following three seasons on loan at Elland Road, Harrison’s move from Manchester City has finally been made permanent. The former New York City winger will be delighted to have settled in Yorkshire.
Junior Firpo looks set to be shrewd acquisition from Barcelona, while up-and-coming goalkeeper Kristoffer Klaesson has been signed as backup for first-choice shot-stopper Illan Meslier.
- Barry Douglas – Lech Poznan (Free)
- Ezgjan Alioski – Ahli (Free)
- Ouasim Bouy – Al-Kharaitiyat (Free)
- Pablo Hernandez – CD Castellon (Free)
- Mateusz Bogusz – UD Ibiza (Loan)
- Kiko Casilla – Elche CF (Loan)
- Leif Davis – Bournemouth (Loan)
- Gaetano Berardi – Released
- Eunan O’Kane – Released
Six players have left Leeds for good this summer, with four leaving on a free transfer and two being released. Ezgjan Alioski and Pablo Hernandez are among the notable departures.
Kiko Casilla and Leif Davis have both been sent out on loan, freeing up space in the squad for the new arrivals.
• Leeds United’s Key Player
Kalvin Phillips – For all their impressive attackers, Phillips is Leeds United’s key player. The tireless midfielder keeps the team ticking over and ultimately works harder than anyone else.
Having played a starring for England throughout Euro 2020, Phillips is destined for another standout season.
• What Can Leeds United Achieve in 2021/22?
At the end of the day, this is only Leeds United’s second season back in the Premier League. They arguably overachieved last term, so they can’t be disappointed if they fail to finish in the top half again.
💼 Back to business! pic.twitter.com/KnXyG9HFlo
— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 28, 2021
But with a season of experience in the bank, they could continue to upset the odds this season. If they can pick up where they left off last term, they will be a force to be reckoned with once again.