By now everyone has seen the fixtures for the new season, and most pundits and fans are focusing, rightly, on the opening month of the season for Leeds United. While no match really isn’t all that much more important than any other match, it always seems to help a team start off on the right foot. The players seem to be happier, the manager is happier, and the owners are even happier. So getting off to a good start is extremely important for any football club. Leeds has the extra burden of yet ANOTHER new manager in charge of the club with the added pressure of a new owner and a new managerial setup with a Director of Football and a new scouting system.
So a trip outside the friendly confines of Elland Road to a newly promoted Bolton Wanderers side will be a test for the new regime in charge. New manager Thomas Christiansen makes his debut at the
Reeb Macron Stadium, live on Sky TV on Sunday, August 6th. We previewed Bolton’s season and what it means for Leeds a few days ago, and for any other Bolton news, head on over to SBNation’s Bolton site, Lion of Vienna Suite. While Bolton had a fantastic season in League One last year, most fans would expect a good result to open the season.
The next two games of August feature visits from Preston North End and Fulham. Fulham would be expected to be the most difficult of the two matches, as they made the playoffs last season, narrowly losing to Reading. Preston is managed by popular ex-Leeds manager Simon Grayson, but his Preston team doesn’t look to be in the running for promotion this year. For any questions about Fulham, check out SBNation’s Fulham blog, Cottagers Confidential.
The next two fixtures for the month see Leeds go back on the road, first to another Championship “newcomer” in Sunderland and then to the City Ground to face Nottingham Forest. Both teams have a lot in common with the Leeds off-season, with Sunderland being in complete shambles, with the a new manager still not named, weeks after David Moyes announced he was walking away from the team, and Forest also currently is going through a change in ownership, with a new owner taking over and promising that the crazy times from the previous owner are over.
We previewed Sunderland a few weeks ago, and our friends at Roker Report, the SBNation blog for everything Sunderland, do a great job of covering the Black Cats. This will be Leeds United’s first trip back to the Stadium of Light after Sunderland had spent a few years back in the Premiership, but with the state of the club, most Leeds fans will be hoping for a good result. And while Forest has promised wholesale change at the club, it will take awhile for the new signings to gel, and the team only missed out on relegation to League One on goal difference. Leeds fans would expect a good result on an away day at Nottingham.
So will these predictions come true? Who knows. But a good start will be critical for a successful season, and it looks like the fixtures have provided a decent opportunity for a good start, with the “toughest” team on paper, Fulham, visiting Elland Road and hopefully catching the ex-Premier League club still in disarray. While it’s unreasonable to expect that the club will win all of their matches in their first month, especially with three away dates, Leeds does have a good chance to pick up 11, or more, points from the opening five dates.