10 Points Out
Before Leeds United's critical match this Saturday against Bolton Wanderers the team sits in a rather dismal 20th place. Their 24 points places them only one point above the much feared relegation zone, but things aren't as bad as they may seem. The Whites are only 10 points shy of Sheffield Wednesday, who are 10 spots ahead of them in the standings. All it takes is a run of rich form to turn things around and Leeds surely can buck their current losing streak.
Upcoming matches against Bolton, Birmingham, and Huddersfield see the Whites facing off against respective mid-table teams and all three matches are entirely winnable. When this is coupled with the often fluctuating nature of the Championship standings and impending signings it is entirely reasonable to think that Leeds could push their way up the standings.
One metric that is often used to asses how effective a team is on the defensive and offensive front is goal difference. This number doesn't always directly correlate to the record of a team, but in the case of Neil Redfearn's squad it paints a crystal clear picture. His squad currently boasts a negative 11 goal difference, a measure that dubiously ranks as the third worst in the entire Championship.
What is even more shocking about Leeds' goal difference is the incredibly low amount of goals they've scored and the alarmingly high amount of goals they've surrendered. Their 25 goals for and 36 goals against are both good for seventh worst in the league in their respective categories. Drubbings at the hands of Watford and Ipswich and convincing victories over the likes of Huddersfield and Blackpool have swayed this statistic some in both directions, but the message is clear.
A goal difference of this amount speaks volumes to why Leeds currently lies in 20th place and even more importantly displays how inconsistent the club's play has been. To make a run up the table the margin between the White's goals for and goals against will have to decrease dramatically.
Lack of Championship Experience
Often teams that achieve promotion have players who are well versed in the second flight of English football and know the reins so to speak. While players like Billy Sharp, Stephen Warnock, and Rodolph Austin fit this mold, the overall squad direly lacks in the categories of experience and age. Key newcomers like Mirco Antenucci, Adryan, Marco Silvestri, Souleymane Doukara, Giuseppe Bellusci, and Tommaso Bianchi have played no more than a couple dozen Championship matches.
One glance at a typical starting lineup for Leeds also reveals an incredibly low average age. Young guns like Adryan, Lewis Cook, Alex Mowatt, and Sam Byram, as well as other relatively young players, cause the average age of Leeds' starting eleven to register as 23.64 years. These players are all extremely talented in their own ways and bring a special something to the team, but they lack the invaluable measure of experience.
With both of these points in mind, the current state of Neil Redfearn's side becomes a little more clear. The team has shown glimpses of brilliance, but because of a lack of experience has displayed a frustrating inability to finish off games and remained focused for ninety minutes. To what extent this lack of experience influences the rest of Leeds' campaign will entirely dictate if promotion aspirations remain in grasp, a mid-table finish materializes, or a relegation battle ensues.