Relationships are like seasons. They start with optimism, brightness and joy but ultimately end with a feeling of bitterness, financial robbery and the daydream that it all never really happened... and that Leeds United were actually in the Premier League all along. In similarity to the past four seasons, 2015/2016 really ended for Leeds United in mid-February. Unlike the past few seasons however, we are not currently looking over our shoulder at the relegation battle below us like a devastatingly handsome Jeff Goldblum looking back at a fast approaching Tyrannosaurus Rex. Instead, after a sudden injection of points, goals and confidence, Leeds are looking up the table... more like a devastatingly handsome Jeff Goldblum looking up at a friendly, nicer dinosaur (like this guy).
So, looking at the next ten games, where can Leeds United reasonably finish? Many of our followers on Twitter have become very optimistic of late, with the phrase "play-off push" being thrown around like crazy. Is a top-six finish realistic? Or are we just getting ahead of ourselves? We have won the last three games, but that doesn’t mean we will win the next ten. Here's looking at the table as it stands...
We sit nine points from the playoffs and two points off top ten, assuming we win our game in hand of course. It’s going to be a tough run in until May 7 though, with seven games in 21 days in April. This could work to our advantage as we now take momentum into these games. Our obvious lack of depth in the squad leads me to believe that we will struggle over this period though, and our league position will too as a result.
Now I am not a professional pundit, and my weekly accumulator fails miserably every week, but I am going to take a stab at how I think we will do over these next 2 months:
Wins: Huddersfield, Rotherham, Reading, Charlton, Preston (Total 15 Points)
Draws: QPR, Wolves, Hull (Total 3 Points)
Losses: Burnley, Birmingham
This may seem optimistic, and it probably is, but with Chris Wood coming back into the squad, Antenucci playing for a new contract, the new-found stability we have at the back with the two sitting midfielders in Bridcutt and Diagouraga, Cook and Mowatt still in good form, Dallas and Carayol always a threat... I can honestly say I believe we will beat those 5. We just have a better squad than those teams, plain and simple. I know football isn’t played on paper, but let’s face it, if we lose to any of those teams we will all be disappointed.
QPR, Wolves and Hull are all tough, and by the time we play them, they will all still be fighting for something. I think our resoluteness will get us through these games well and I think QPR and Wolves at least have a draw written all over them.
As for Burnley, I think they’ll win the league, and I can’t really see anyone between now and the end of the season stopping them. Birmingham I just have a bad feeling about, and with all those games so close together, I see them as a team who will just exhaust us.
Popular phrase on my feed today - "play-off push".— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) March 12, 2016
Assuming I am right then (which of course I won’t be, but just play along with me), that would give us 18 points between now and May 7 when it all ends. (It's also tempting to say we will lose to Hull to make it 17 but I’ve got your back this time Massimo). That would be a very strong end to the season indeed and would leave us on 65 points, our best finish since 2010/11 when we fell one place short of the playoffs. With Sheffield Wednesday already on 59, I think the playoffs are well out of sight this year. I also don’t see the three teams below them plummeting that much either, leaving my estimation of where Leeds United will finish this year being... 10th place.
This would be a fantastic positon to end up in, and we would have to credit Steve Evans immensely if he could pull it off. Alas, I know I am being optimistic, and if I could accurately predict our scores each week, I would be a much richer man. The important thing is that we go into these remaining games looking up the table with optimism, which is refreshing from the past few seasons. Even if we don’t finish in the dizzy heights of 10th, the pessimist in me still believes we will win a fair amount of our remaining games and finish much higher than the 15th place we have become accustom to.
What do you all think? Can you see us doing better than 10th and making a genuine playoff push? Or do you agree I am optimistic and think somewhere lower is more likely? Let us know in the poll, in the comments, on social media.