Leeds United travel to Birmingham this weekend to face Aston Villa in their final fixture before Christmas.
When Marcelo Bielsa arrived at Elland Road a feeling of optimism suddenly emerged, but after years of disappointment the supporters refused to let themselves get carried away.
The Whites faithful have become accustomed to being built up only to be let down later on, so scepticism was rife even after an appointment as progressive and high-profile as Bielsa’s.
Fast forward six months and Leeds are staring a genuine promotion charge in the face after banishing the demons which have plagued their progress in recent years.
Promotion certainly won’t be and never will be decided based on statistical information, but a brief look into the past makes for incredibly exciting viewing for Leeds supporters.
Indeed, Sky Sports pundit David Prutton reviewed Leeds’ 2018 in the Yorkshire Evening Post ahead of the trip to Aston Villa, and he revealed a statistic which hints that victory at Villa Park would effectively guarantee them promotion, according to the stats at least.
‘I think the telling statistic is that the team that has been top at Christmas has gone up automatically in 14 of the last 15 years. That is a phenomenal sequence, but it’s ultimately meaningless if you finish the season outside of the top two, or indeed, top six.’
It is worth noting that the Championship is incredibly competitive this season and that statistic has been skewed to make promotion look more certain than it is in reality, but there is certainly something to be said for the psychological advantage clubs get from hitting top spot at Christmas.
This is the time of year in which the table will really begin to unfold and a clearer understanding of where clubs can realistically expect to finish will become apparent and, considering Leeds’ performances this season along with the statistic presented by Prutton, the dream of promotion is edging ever closer to reality.
The importance of winning at Villa just took on a whole new dimension.
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