After 16 long years, Leeds United are finally on the brink of promotion back to the Premier League.
The Peacocks were famously relegated from the top flight in 2004, just three years after reaching the Champions League semi-finals, and since then, it’s been heartbreak after heartbreak.
Whether it be a late-season collapse, playoff defeat or even relegation to League One, Leeds supporters have been through it all over the past decade-and-a-half but this season, Marcelo Bielsa has them purring and, more importantly, consistent.
Leeds were able to extend their lead at the top of the Championship to three points thanks to a dramatic 1-0 win over Swansea City on Sunday, with Pablo Hernandez scoring the 89-minute winner. That lead has now been cut to two points thanks to West Brom’s 0-0 draw against Fulham but if Leeds beat Barnsley next time out, they will be five points ahead of the Baggies.
That said, it’s that six-point gap between the Peacocks and third-placed Brentford with three games remaining that will please Bielsa the most. If results go their way, Leeds could confirm promotion after their next game, while they need a minimum of just four points from their three remaining fixtures to get the job done themselves.
Leeds’ final three Championship 2019/20 fixtures: Barnsley (H), Derby (A), Charlton (H)
Scenario A.) If third-place Brentford win all of their remaining three league games, Leeds need at least four points and so can afford one defeat and one draw before the end of the season.
Scenario B.) If Brentford drop points in midweek, just as Fulham did against West Brom, Leeds can confirm promotion in their next game with a win against Barnsley.
Scenario C.) If Brentford lose their next games, Leeds can confirm promotion by drawing with Barnsley.
Championship promotion odds* 2019/20 season | SBK
- West Brom: 84.03%
- Brentford: 67.11%
- Fulham: 31.75%
- Nottingham Forest: 19.61%
- Cardiff: 17.24%
- Swansea: 12.50%
- Millwall: 10.00%
- Blackburn: 6.67%
*Odds correct at time of writing (09:30, 15/07/2020). Displayed odds and calculated return may differ slightly because returns are calculated using a raw number. Fractional odds are simplified for user convenience.
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Who can still catch Leeds United and West Brom?
Top scorer: Ollie Watkins (24 goals)
Although Leeds and West Brom both look nailed on for a return to the Premier League it’s never over until the points are on the board, a fact which the Elland Road faithful are only too aware of.
Of the two teams still able to jump into the automatic promotion spots, Brentford have the best chance of the lot. They are on 78 points (four behind West Brom and six adrift of Leeds) with three games to go.
The Bees have won their last seven Championship games, conceding just two goals in the process, and no side has scored more goals (78) so far this term, while only Leeds have conceded fewer than their 35.
Brentford face sides all sitting outside the top seven in their remaining fixtures, so don’t count them out just yet.
- Preston North End (H)
- Stoke City (A)
- Barnsley (H)
Top scorer: Aleksandar Mitrovic (24)
Pushing the boat out a little further, we have Fulham sat in fourth, five points behind West Brom and seven behind Leeds United.
Just like Brentford with Ollie Watkins, the Cottagers have the league’s joint-most-prolific marksman within their ranks in the form of Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has 24 Championship goals so far this season.
What lets Fulham down is their leaky defence. No team in the Championship’s top five have conceded more than their 44 goals this season. Scott Parker’s side have conceded just one goal in their last five games but having lost 3-0 to Leeds before that, the damage already seems to be done.
The London side can no longer catch Leeds but still have the smallest chance of catching West Brom, despite drawing 0-0 with the Baggies on Tuesday.
- Sheffield Wednesday (H)
- Wigan Athletic (A)