The owners of Leeds United have set their stall out this summer, bringing in a cohort of promising young names from across Europe as they look to avoid another relegation scrap this season, and possibly push on and ask questions of the Premier League’s upper slopes, with the club currently seventh in the table.
That opening-day win for Marsch showcased, not only the quality in his side, but also the mental fortitude of his squad as they bounced back from going a goal down to Wolves to win 2-1. The former RB Leipzig manager will be hoping that that win can offer a blueprint going forward as Leeds attempt to look up rather than peering perilously over their shoulder.
The likes of Brenden Aaronson from Red Bull Salzburg, Luis Sinisterra from Feyenoord, Tyler Adams from RB Leipzig and Marc Roca from Bayern Munich are all shrewd, exciting signings for those of an Elland Road persuasion, offering a blend of precocious potential, elite pedigree and creative stardust.
Given their already-promising start, the talent brought in and the general reputation of Leeds United in Premier League seasons of old, many may feel they will be pushing for a top-half finish this campaign and possibly even pursuing the coveted ‘non-Big Six’ status of being the ‘best of the rest’.
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Leeds UnitedTo be relegated from the Premier League
Although Leeds may feel that a relegation scrap is simply out of the question this season given the quality they have secured over the summer, the Premier League is a notoriously sink-or-swim environment and they are just coming off the back of a 17th-placed finish, so it shouldn’t be ruled out entirely.
With Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips both leaving for Barcelona and Manchester City respectively, Leeds may take some time adjusting to life without two of their most influential players from last season, no matter how good their start to this season has been from that opening win over Wolves.
On top of that, Marsch has signed seven new players. They may all come with a certain level of excitement, but plenty of promising players have moved to the Premier League over the years and struggled to acclimatise. If he can get the new recruits settled in quickly and in tune with his tactical set-up, Leeds may be in for a promising season, but if things start to wander off-track and some of the new boys struggle, it could be another long season.
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EFL Cup win
You’d have to go back to 1972 for the last time Leeds United won a domestic cup — excluding the 1992 Community Shield win over Liverpool, where Eric Cantona famously netted a hat-trick at the old Wembley — and then 1968 for the last and only time the West Yorkshire club won the EFL Cup, with Don Revie masterminding a 1-0 win over Arsenal in front of nearly 100,000 spectators in the capital.
Fans will be desperate to see that half-century drought come to an end, and Marsch will no doubt be equally as desperate to consolidate his legacy in West Yorkshire, so there’s absolutely no reason why Leeds couldn’t produce a cup run this campaign. The EFL Cup does, in fact, start back up this week with the first round, so already we’re in full swing for the new campaign, and it won’t be long before the Premier League big boys enter the fray.
Just like where Raphinha joined Leeds and went on to flourish before earning a market-disorienting move to Barcelona, Leeds fans will be hoping Brenden Aaronson has a similar impact (excluding the transfer sale aspect). The budding American cultivated a burgeoning reputation during his short time in Salzburg and has already made an impression in the Premier League, scoring what he thought was the match-winning goal against Wolves, only for the finish to go down as a Rayan Ait-Nouri own goal. Big things are expected of the 21-year-old and Sky Bet are offering odds of 25/1 for him to win this season’s PFA Young Player of the Year award.