From Bielsa to Big Sam in 14 months - what's really going on at Leeds United

Published on 17 May 2023 at 20:00


The 27th of February 2022 saw the end of a very successful era for Leeds United after Marcelo Bielsa was sacked following his 4-0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur. His reign in charge saw a play off challenge, an EFL Championship title win and a steady season in the Premier League after 16 years which saw many shock results and entertaining football. El Loco will be seen as one of the greatest managers ever at the club who brought unity, pride and stylish football back to Elland Road.

However since their first season back in the top flite the Yorkshire club has seen a lot of struggle - Marcelo's second Premier League season in charge didn't go as comfortably as the first which eventually saw his sacking commence. Although many fans still believe that if the Argentine stayed in charge the Whites would still have been able to still stay in the division. 

As always once one door closes another one opens and this was for the former RB Leipzig manager Jesse Marsch as he then took over the managerial role at Elland Road.




From Marcelo to Marsch 

Jesse Marsch's tenure at Leeds United was never going to be a comfortable one with him joining pre relegation battle, being Marcelo's successor and all of the football fan culture's 'American stereotype's'. Jesse Marsch was originally meant to be taking over Bielsa at the end of the season, however due to a lack of point's Radrizzani and the Leeds board decided to bring that forward as they felt he was the better fit to keep them in the Premier League... and that he did. 

The American kept Leeds United up avoiding second season syndrome as they beat Brentford on the final day (with help from Newcastle). Although Marsch came in and ultimately did the job he needed to do in the first season it was evident that fans still weren't enamored with him in charge. After a busy summer transfer window, which saw huge departures such as Kalvin Phillips to Manchester City and Raphinha to Barcelona, the White's still had a strong line up on paper to start the season. With recruitments such as Tyler Adams, Brendan Aaronson Luis Sinisterra and many more United looked like they had a strong squad ahead of the campaign.

Even after a relatively decent start Leeds started to see struggle and question's were starting to be raised pre World Cup about whether him being in charge was the correct move.

Then ultimately after a continuous poor run of result's Jesse Marsch's time at Leeds came to a sudden end early February after just under a year in charge. Therefore Leeds were left managerless so yet again they were going to get a replacement easily and comfortably ... right?




Reckless Replacement 

The replacement of Jess Marsch was nothing but a shambles, the smooth transition from Bielsa to him was a complete contrast to this embarrassment. A shortlist of managers from Carlos Corberan to Kjetil Knutsen was lined up and made known to the public however not one made it over the final hurdle and Leeds United eventually ended up with a manager that was never known to be an original option after multiple rejections from others.

Then in came Javi Gracia, the former FA Cup finalist came to turn things around to get Leeds out of the mess they were in. However after 11 games of no identity and a 27% win success rate from the Spaniard, the former Division 1 champions were yet again left without a manager in a much worse position.

But when in danger, who you gonna call... Sam Allardyce!



Last ditch attempt...

Leeds United appointed the king of the 'Great Escape' with four games to go in a hopeful last ditch attempt to stay in the division, however his start hasn't been as bad as many expected. Allardyce started his reign with a solid 2-1 loss against Manchester City - we all know that losing to City with a one goal deficit is a success (especially after the Peacocks defensive record in recent times). There was a lot of positives to take out of that game though with what looked like a thrashing on the cards in the second half Leeds showed resilience and fight, which has been absent in recent months.

After getting 0 points in his first fixture, Big Sam would have felt he should have had all three in his second game after a tight 2-2 draw against his former club Newcastle United. The finger will be pointed at Patrick Bamford's vital penalty miss stopping them from taking a 2-0 lead, although after conceding two themselves I'm sure the Whites were happy to see their side come back to get a difficult point against the team in third.

Now with just two games left Leeds United could be relegated by Sunday night however Sam Allardyce's men will still believe they have what it takes to make that 'Great Escape'.


Harry Lucas

Add comment


There are no comments yet.