With fears of a points deduction in response to the ‘spygate’ controversy now dispelled after the EFL handed Leeds a £200,000 fine, the Whites can get straight back on top against Bolton this weekend – a win could see the Yorkshire outfit regain their lead at the top of the Championship table.
Regardless of whether they win the league – or even secure promotion – the Elland Road faithful can feel immensely proud of the huge strides that their beloved club have taken this season after a bang average 17/18 campaign.
As a team, massive improvements have been made and the job Marcelo Bielsa is doing with a numerically limited squad is remarkable. Who, though, has come on furthest since last season and who has declined?
Read on to find out who Leeds’ ‘most improved’ and ‘far removed’ players are…
The aforementioned lack of squad depth, combined with a hefty injury list, has seen Kalvin Phillips deputise at the heart of defence this season – the 23-year-old has excelled there, despite being a natural midfielder.
Such is the impression the utility man has made on the Leeds fans this season, some have even felt an England call up is warranted.
I've a feeling Kalvin Phillips is close to a England call up far better midfielder than mason mount who got a call up after 3 games of this season #lufc
— jamie whitfield (@whitfield_jamie) February 13, 2019
Since the return of Liam Cooper alongside Pontus Jansson at centre-half, Phillips has been forced to vie with Adam Foresaw for the number 4 role he vacated in order to play in defence earlier this term. If the 5-foot-10 ace continues to replicate the fantastic shift he put in against Swansea, though, there is surely only one option for Bielsa.
If Leeds do indeed earn promotion, Phillips will undoubtedly be vital in next season’s attempts to retain top flight status.
Having signed the versatile left-back from last season’s Championship winners Wolves in the summer, Leeds would surely have been expecting more from Barry Douglas this term.
Previously a vital cog in Nuno Espirito Santo’s machine, the Scotsman chalked up an incredible five goals and 14 assists under the Portuguese in the 17/18 Championship campaign and so the Whites’ acquisition of his services for just £3m looked like brilliant business.
Who do you want to see promoted this year? The Pl>ymaker FC squad have picked their 3 favoured teams in the video below…
Instead, the 29-year-old has recorded just four assists for the Peacocks and been hampered by injuries, with only one of those setups coming since September. Nowadays, Ezgjan Alioski is holding down the No.3 berth.
If Leeds get promoted, it will be with little thanks to Douglas.