Leeds promoted to the Premier League, after Huddersfield Town stun West Brom

Emile Smith Rowe came on after 71 minutes & scored the winning ...

After 16 years of frustration, heartbreak and turmoil, Leeds United will finally make their long-awaited Premier League return in 2020-21.

Huddersfield Town boosted their survival hopes while also doing them a welcome favour to kick off the weekend in style, with a 2-1 win over second-placed West Brom.

Goals from Chris Willock and second-half substitute Emile Smith-Rowe were enough for Huddersfield to spring an unwelcome surprise at home against Slaven Bilic’s Baggies.

It seems fitting that two Arsenal youngsters (Willock has since left) – narrow 2-1 FA Cup winners at Leeds’ expense in January – helped clinch automatic promotion for them.

That comes after a very public dispute over Edward Nketiah’s minutes at Elland Road saw the talented forward’s loan spell cut short by the Gunners in January.

Nketiah, who scored five goals (all comps) under Bielsa’s watch earlier this season, made sure to congratulate his former teammates. He’ll be eligible for a promotion medal, too.

The result means an in-form Brentford side can overtake them into the second and final automatic promotion place, when they travel to face strugglers Stoke City tomorrow.

How did Leeds get to this memorable moment?

Leeds United: Fans gather at Elland Road to celebrate club's ...

Leeds fans gather to celebrate their promotion outside Elland Road (Picture: Independent) 

It eliminates any pressure on Marcelo Bielsa’s side, who can end Derby’s faint promotion hopes with a result this Sunday.

The Whites have won their last four matches, including a gritty 1-0 win over relegation-threatened Barnsley on Thursday.

There were times during this arduous campaign where critics and fans alike suggested Leeds would fall apart again, as they’ve struggled under pressure in previous seasons.

I was at their 1-0 away defeat by mid-table QPR in mid-January, a disappointing defeat which extended poor form at the time – only one win in eight games (all competitions).

Since then, they’ve suffered a few stumbles along the way but importantly never lost faith in the process under Bielsa.

The charismatic Argentine has provided both stability and a refreshing approach to football in Yorkshire, two years after eyebrows were raised by his appointment.

At this stage of the season last year, they ultimately fell short despite a strong season in the play-off semi-finals against Derby, who were then managed by Frank Lampard.

Club captain Liam Cooper felt this day was a long time coming, when he spoke to BBC Radio Leeds.

“Our club, our fans and players have sacrificed so much – we’ve been in the doldrums for 16 years.

To be part of this team, to lead them to promotion back to where we know we’ve always belonged is unbelievable.” 

What about the Premier League sides in relegation trouble?

Norwich City relegated from Premier League after 4-0 thrashing by ...

(L-R): Norwich’s wanted duo Ben Godfrey and Todd Cantwell after relegation was made official

Norwich have already been mathematically relegated from this season’s Premier League, while there will be a frantic finish to England’s top-flight as far as the drop zone.

First-half goals from Michail Antonio, Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice helped West Ham earn a big 3-1 win over fellow strugglers Watford tonight.

The result means they’re now six points clear of the bottom three, with two games to play. Bournemouth and Aston Villa (level on 31 pts), occupy 18th and 19th respectively.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.