Darren Gough: Are Leeds United really the most entertaining team the Championship has seen?

LEEDS UNITED play Sheffield United in a huge top-of-the-table Championship game at Elland Road this lunchtime and Adrian Durham – my co-host on talkSPORT radio – suggested this week that Leeds were the best team that this division has ever seen in terms of entertainment.

Leeds United's Pablo Hernandez celebrates his winning goal in the first game against Sheffield United. (Picture: Simon Hulme)

It is certainly an interesting debate in itself. Leeds have played some unbelievable high-pressing, fitness-based football under Marcelo Bielsa.

There is such a high level of concentration with pace, power work-rate and skill, led by Pablo Hernandez.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But as for Leeds being the best team ever in the Championship? It is debatable.

Leicester City secured 102 points in 2013-14 and half of their team went on to win the Premier League title.

Look at Wolves under Nuno Espirito Santo last season.

They are now a danger in the top flight and competing at the top end.

There was also Reading in 2005-06 and they got 106 points. So they were pretty good and entertaining. They scored 89 goals and only conceded 32 with just two defeats all season.

Leeds United's Pablo Hernandez: Pulls the strings.

It is, therefore, a difficult claim and a good one to debate. But if Leeds end up winning the league, they will be among that group. As would Sheffield United, too.

They have played some fantastic football under Chris Wilder and you could say they have been one of the most exciting teams in the Championship, too, along with Norwich.

Today’s game at Elland Road should be a cracker.

Both are really good footballing teams. It will be a high-intensity, high-paced game and I just think that will suit Leeds, although it will be tight.

I feel that Leeds’ fitness in the latter stages of the game under Bielsa might pay dividends.

But can you write off Sheffield United after the way they have performed in the last three seasons? They have been amazing.

I just love the Championship. It is a brilliant division all the way down.

Look at the play-off race now, going all the way down to Sheffield Wednesday, where Steve Bruce is doing a terrific job. They are in with a sniff as some teams above them are slipping up.

A few weeks ago, you would have said that Middlesbrough were 100 per cent guaranteed for the play-offs. But now they have lost their last two matches, while Derby have drawn their last two.

There are other teams like Preston, who are really on form and in with a shout while Aston Villa have won their last three games. Everyone thought that Villa were out of it but now they are back in it.

If Hull City had won their last two games, they would also have been level with the play-offs. If you have a good week, you can be in there.

For me, West Brom, Sheffield United, Leeds and Norwich City are the guaranteed top four. As for the other two, I have not got a clue.

On to cricket and I do think that the MCC World Committee’s introduction of Countdown clocks for Tests is something that is needed.

I like the idea of teams speeding up a bit and getting the players to run between overs.

Can you imagine Chris Gayle running 45 seconds between the call of an over. It would be hilarious! It took him 45 seconds to move five yards in the recent one-day series.

Sitting by the pool in Antigua and St Lucia, people were moaning about slow rates, especially by the West Indies team.

They are the ones who have been guilty of it over the years more than anyone else. South Africa were also bad a couple of years ago.

Slowing the game down has been a massive tactic over the years. When you are losing and behind it and have played three days, you tried to slow it down as much as you could.

You could bowl 10 overs an hour, that is how ridiculous it got. I have been part of it.

It was easy to slow it down. You just chatted to the captain, tied your shoelaces. We did them all back in the day.

If there was a law to stop it throughout cricket, including county cricket, it would be fantastic.

The interesting thing for me from the MCC committee survey is that 86 per cent of fans still think Test cricket is the preferred format and I actually believe that is still the case with a lot of people.

It is still my preferred format. When there are low-scoring Tests, it can be exciting. Speeding up play is a big part and should help Test cricket.

Using a standardised ball where an away team will come into the game more and a free hit after a no-ball are things that I also like.

My only big concern is that umpires hardly call no-balls now.

Often the only time they look is when a team reviews a decision. Teams can get away with so many no-balls in this day and age than we ever got away with it. That is why you now see a lot of wickets to no-balls.