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Have Leeds Bottled It? Here's How The Championship Promotion Race Is Shaping Up

Have Leeds Bottled It? Here's How The Championship Promotion Race Is Shaping Up
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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Just when it looked like Leeds United were about to end the long wait for Premier League football, their fate is very much back up in the air. Three points in today's home game against Wigan would have put them well on their way to promotion, but in typical Leeds fashion, they shit the bed.

They got off to a fast start in the game as well. Cedrick Kipre was dismissed for the visitors in the 14th minute, conceding a penalty in the process. While Pablo Hernandez would miss the resulting spot kick, Leeds would soon take the lead through Patrick Bamford.

1-0 up against a 10-man Wigan team, surely that would be the end of it? This is Leeds we're talking about, of course it wasn't. They would concede the equaliser just before half time, with Gavin Massey scoring for his side.

It got worse in the second half. Much worse. Massey would grab his second of the game just after the hour mark, and Leeds were in trouble.

Leeds pushed for an equaliser late on, but they would come up short. This result is even more significant considering what happened earlier today.

Sheffield United defeated Nottingham Forest on a 2-0 scoreline, with Ireland's Enda Stevens scoring late on to secure the three points.

So what does all of this mean for the automatic promotion race? Well, it's advantage Sheffield United. With three games to go they sit in second place on goal difference, with their destiny essentially in their own hands.


Norwich have top spot all but sewn up, while West Brom are too far behind to make any real automatic promotion push.


So how do the remaining fixtures compare for both sides? At this stage of the season it can be difficult to tell, but it would appear that Sheffield United have the slightly easier fixtures.


Perhaps crucially, they will also play before Leeds in each of the next two games. That gives them the opportunity to pile even further pressure on Marcelo Bielsa's side before they take to the pitch.

While there a number of Leeds fans in Ireland, it would be better for Irish football were Sheffield United to finish the job and reach the Premier League. Ireland internationals John Egan, Enda Stevens and David McGoldrick are all key players at the club, while Scott Hogan is also currently there on loan.

The playoffs will of course offer an alternative route for whatever side fails to secure automatic promotion, but that can often be a lottery at the best of times.


If Leeds were to miss out on promotion this season, it would represent a huge failure considering their position earlier in the season. Their lighting pace and attacking style blew teams away early in the campaign and Marcelo Bielsa was rightly being praised for his impact.

Many predicted that it would be difficult for them to maintain that style over a gruelling 46-game season, and those predictions have gained some credence in recent times. Considering Bielsa's personality, and the negative press he has received over the 'spy gate' scandal, it would not be overly surprising were he to walk away at the end of the season if promotion was not secured.

It's advantage Sheffield United at the moment, but it could all change in the blink of an eye in the next two weeks or so. Here's hoping for an exciting conclusion to the season.


SEE ALSO: Watch: Callum Robinson Scores Two Absolute Bangers For Preston


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