Leeds United are plugging along nicely under Daniel Farke right now with a solid return in the automatic promotion race, but face huge competition from those around them.
Leeds’ first season back in the Championship brought expectations that they would be promoted back to the Premier League, in the same way it did in 19/20 when Marcelo Bielsa prepared for his second term at Elland Road.
Daniel Farke has much more of a valuable side at his disposal after inheriting a relegated side, but with that comes the challenge of overcoming two other very powerful sides that suffered the same fate in Leicester City and Southampton – as well as the impressive form of Ipswich Town since their promotion from League One.
Here, we look at how the two sides compare after 30 games, after Bielsa’s title-winning season…
Bielsa’s 19/20 Leeds team after 30 games
The end of the campaign saw Leeds blaze through the Championship under Bielsa, as the disruption of lockdown did little to scupper their form, dropping just five points when fans were kept away from grounds.
However, from matchday one through to the 30th game, Leeds weren’t yet top of the league, sitting second behind West Brom.
Matchday 30 was a grim one for Leeds, losing at home to lowly Wigan Athletic as Kiko Casilla flapped at a corner, diverting off of Pablo Hernandez for an own goal.
Leeds had a tally of 55 points and a goal difference of +19, while being just a point off top spot and three clear of third.
What is intriguing is that Leeds were only eight clear of seventh with their tally, as shown by Transfermarkt:
Where will Leeds finish in 23/24?
Outside the playoffs
Farke’s 23/24 Leeds side after 30 games
Leeds are in an interesting position right now, reaching the 30-game mark before any of their Championship rivals, having rescheduled a game against Norwich City to beat the hectic backlog.
Five wins from five to start off 2024 have put the Whites in a much healthier position in the promotion race, leapfrogging Ipswich Town with a game more on the board, and closing the gap to Southampton who are now second, who have also played just 29 times.
Farke, though, has managed to bring about a better return than Bielsa did in those 30 games, having five more points (60) on the board – a 2.0 points-per-game tally so often attributed to the sides in the automatic promotion spots come May.
A four-way sprint for the top two looks the case right now, as Leeds are miles clear of seventh by 16 points, with a goal difference of +26 only bested by the Foxes side that are running clear at the top at record-breaking pace: