Martin Keown is confident Leeds United are not among the favourites to endure relegation from the Premier League. But he is worried that Javi Gracia’s squad struggle to score goals.
The Whites are engulfed in the fight to avoid falling into the Championship with nine sides. Each team ranked 12th or lower in the Premier League table is looking over their shoulder at the drop zone. And for Leeds, it is the second season in a row striving to avoid relegation.
Jesse Marsch only guided the Elland Road natives to safety last term on the final day after succeeding Marcelo Bielsa at the helm. But results this season cost the American his job in February with Gracia taking charge. Yet the Spaniard has not overseen consistent results.
Leeds entered the weekend inside the Premier League relegation zone
Leeds even entered this weekend inside the drop zone having won a league-low five times all term. Gracia even oversaw one of those wins, too, after guiding the Whites to a 1-0 win over relegation rivals Southampton. But the close affair was also his debut game in charge.
Fulham then beat Leeds 2-0 before Chelsea edged a 1-0 contest. Jack Harrison then saved a point at home to Brighton & Hove Albion in a 2-2 draw. He also scored while the Whites visited Wolves on Saturday. Leeds went on to win 4-2 against 10-man Wolves at Molineux.
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Martin Keown backs the Whites to avoid falling into the Championship
Speaking before Leeds visited Wolves, Keown warned Gracia that the Whites’ struggles at scoring regular goals could prove costly in the relegation fight. But he is confident that the Elland Road natives will not return to the Championship after three years in the top-flight.
Instead, he fears most of all for Nottingham Forest after they lost 2-1 to Newcastle United on Friday. The Reds are now winless in their last six since beating Leeds 1-0 on February 2 in Marsch’s final game. Elland Road chiefs sacked the American after the City Ground loss.
Along with Nottingham Forest, Keown feels Southampton and AFC Bournemouth are two of the favourites to now go on and endure relegation from the Premier League over Leeds.
“I think Forest are in free fall, losing last night was huge for them,” Keown told the BBC’s Final Score. “The bottom three I called at the start of the season was Forest, Southampton and Bournemouth and I’m not going to move from that.
“Although I am looking at Leeds and wondering where are they going to find a win from? They’ve got to start scoring goals and they’ve got to certainly do that now.”
In other news, Chelsea make U-turn over £150,000-a-week player Liverpool want to sign