Nothing To Fear In The Championship For Leeds Mark October 15, 2018 Leeds United The decline in form in the run of matches leading up to the October international break is nothing more than a blip, but by losing their first league match, Leeds have opened the door for in-form Sheffield United and West Brom to sneak through to the top of the table. There is no Championship equivalent of a Newcastle or a Wolves this season, a side unerringly impressive from start to finish to leave only one automatic promotion spot up for grabs. In fact, there was a time when it looked like Leeds may become that side. West Brom were the least favoured of the relegated sides by many, with Darren Moore’s managerial experience limited to the plucky but futile attempts to escape the drop last season. A shaky start did nothing to alleviate those concerns, but an imperious run of form driven by strong showings from Dwight Gayle and Harvey Barnes suggests that West Brom will be in the hunt for automatic promotion come May. Do West Brom have the fear factor that previous relegated sides have possessed in the Championship? Perhaps not. Their Premier League pedigree gives West Brom the edge in betting markets, with the Baggies title favourites at odds of 9/4 in championship betting with bet365. Yet, in classic Championship fashion, there is little to separate many of the teams. Sheffield United are another side who have transformed an unconvincing start into a run of form. Chris Wilder has worked wonders without lavish spending, although their lack of strength in depth may inhibit their longevity at the top of the table. Middlesbrough have similarly started well and boast an experienced squad, but fans are unhappy with Tony Pulis’ tactical inflexibility. These question marks over the contenders mean that Leeds cannot be satisfied with a top-six finish. This season feels like one in which promotion must happen, and Leeds fans would prefer to avoid the added stress of the playoffs. More cynical observers suggested Marcelo Bielsa would come and go in Leeds very quickly, not a comment on his managerial prowess but rather an expectation that club and coach would not cooperate. Those doubts have been banished with the instant appreciation of Bielsa’s methods. This was evident in the flowing moves that characterised Leeds’ first few matches of the season. Social media was enthused by Bielsa’s ability to change the fortunes at the club so quickly, while lauding the players for embracing his methods with such aptitude. While it is refreshing for Elland Road to accommodate such dazzling football, it also raises the level of expectation.