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Leeds United have begun the new era under Thomas Christiansen on a strong note. The Whites sit 3rd in the EFL Championship table, after five rounds of fixtures – four points behind leaders Cardiff City, who have had a perfect start to the season, winning all of their games.
The Yorkshire based outfit have had an extremely active summer transfer window, where they have brought in a number of new faces into the squad. Having come so close to achieving a playoff finish last season under Garry Monk, only to falter in the final stages, the Whites cannot afford to miss out on promotion once again, especially given the strength and the quality of their squad.
And here are three things that Christiansen should do in order to achieve promotion back to the Premier League next season.
Leeds’ almost successful tilt for a playoff position last season was mainly built around one man – Chris Wood. The 25-year old New Zealand striker had an excellent 2016-17 season, scoring 27 goals in all competitions, 25 of which came in the Championship, due to which he finished the season as the top-scorer of the campaign.
He had started the new campaign strongly as well, netting once and assisting one for the Whites, before Premier League side Burnley came calling. Leeds sold him a hefty sum of £15million, but now face the task of replacing him. They signed Caleb Ekuban this summer and also brought in German forward Pierre-Michel Lasogga late in the window, while Christiansen also used Kemar Roofe as a centre-forward to great effect, for a couple of games.
The Whites have options in their ranks and now the manager needs to identify the most natural heir to Wood’s position in the ranks if they are to continue their strong start.
Since his arrival, Christiansen has stuck to the 4-2-3-1 setup and it has earned him very good rewards. So far, so good. However, as the season progresses, there will be games that Leeds will have to set out differently, in order to get positive results. So, it becomes imperative that the manager tries and switches things up according to fixtures and opponents, and not look to become too one-dimensional. It is important to strike a balance though, between showing tactical, nous and constant chopping and changing.
This one aspect is something that Christiansen should strive to address in the current campaign, if Leeds are to stand a chance of achieving promotion.
Last season, the Whites had a very poor record away from home, as they managed just 8 wins in 23 away outings in the Championship. Leeds ended up dropping 40 points away from home from a possible 69 as they were handed defeats on 10 occasions and draws in five games. They conceded 31 goals on their trips compared to just 16 at the Elland Road. If Christiansen manages to find a way to set these things straight in the ongoing campaign, Leeds might march to the Premier League.