British pundits hoping Leeds United get promoted to EPL, Latest Football News - The New Paper

British pundits hoping Leeds United get promoted to EPL

Several football pundits were excitedly hoping that Leeds United make their way to the English Premier League next season, despite their FA Cup third-round loss to Arsenal yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The second-tier side dominated possession and had 15 shots in the first half - more than Arsenal have faced in the first 45 minutes of any match this season.

The EPL's all-time top scorer Alan Shearer said on the BBC at half-time: "It looks as if Leeds have got an extra man on the pitch."

But the Whites could not maintain that showing in the second period, as Reiss Nelson scored on 55 minutes after Arsenal responded to manager Mikel Arteta's furious half-time team talk.

Arteta likened playing Leeds to a painful trip to the dentist, adding: "I watched a lot of Leeds games and they battered every team every three days.

"It was good for my players to learn and to suffer on the pitch."

Pundits, meanwhile, were excited to welcome the Championship leaders to the English top-flight next season.

Former Arsenal and Wales striker John Hartson tweeted: "Irrespective of the result tonight, Leeds have shown what a well-coached, organised and youthful team they have.

"Be good to see them promoted this season."

Former England and Sunderland fullback Michael Gray agreed, tweeting: "Hard to tell which is the Premier League side.

"Fantastic first half from Leeds, and what to say about the support - 9,000 away fans, unreal. See you in the Premier League next season."

Leeds last played in the top flight in 2003/04 and looked poised to return to the EPL this season, but a late-season collapse saw them stumble in the play-offs.

Former Liverpool and Ireland man Jason McAteer is hoping the same thing does not happen this season, tweeting: "Only watched 35 minutes and I really hope Leeds come up. Proper fans and a very, very good team."

The Whites famed manager Marcelo Bielsa, however, believes his side need to learn how to replicate their first-half performance against Arsenal over 90 minutes.

He said: "What we needed to do in the match is repeat what we did in the first half.

"The first half... was very, very positive for us.

"In the second half, the control of the match changed a lot.

"In the first half, we pressed the opponents' defence more and were able to attack fast. We couldn't do that in the second half."

Ex-Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright hailed the Whites, but said their failure to convert any of their 15 first-half shots was an indication of "the problem Leeds have had - goalscoring".