IT promises to be a definitive weekend in the Championship promotion race with Sheffield United favourites to reach the Premier League and Leeds United likely to miss out and having to settle for the play-offs.
Should Sheffield United achieve promotion they will deserve it. But I cannot believe some of the stick that Marcelo Bielsa has been receiving with some people saying that he has tired out all of the Leeds players and question marks over whether Leeds can do it over a season.
No way would Leeds be in this position now if it was not for Bielsa.
He has put them in a position where they are in third place in the Championship because of the way he plays and also because of his coaching and everything else that he brought to the English game.
People must not forget this is his first year at Leeds. In Pep Guardiola’s first year at Manchester City when he upped the tempo and the work-rate they struggled, so if Leeds went up this year it would be a massive bonus.
The unfortunate thing for Leeds is that the Blades have been playing well and the clubs behind them in Aston Villa and West Brom look capable, especially Villa, who are looking magnificent and have won their last 10 league fixtures ahead of tomorrow’s game at Elland Road.
For the final play-off slot it looks like being between Derby, Middlesbrough and Bristol City.
Regarding Sheffield United, they are a very good team who are well coached. They have goalscorers in Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick up top and play exciting football like Norwich, Leeds, Villa, West Brom and Derby.
I got a bit of stick on air this week after asking would we actually miss the bottom five in the Premier League.
Personally I would like to see four or five down and the same amount up as it spreads the love and money. You would not need parachute payments then and I think it would be absolutely brilliant with lots of opportunities for other clubs.
People must not forget this is his first year at Leeds. In Pep Guardiola’s first year at Manchester City when he upped the tempo and the work-rate, they struggled so if Leeds went up this year, it would be a massive bonus.Darren Gough
You should then not get big clubs out of the top flight for 15 years, such as Leeds.
Looking at some of the recent results that Brighton have achieved does enforce why something needs to be done.
Every year Brighton are trying to finish in 17th place and that is regarded as a good season for them. That is not having a dig at them and the players they attract.
Under a revised system, though, if they went back into the Championship they might have the chance of being expansive with their football and coming back rather than just being a ‘survival side’ all of the time.
If five went up there would be a good chance that Brighton, with 30,000 supporters, would earn an instant return to the top flight. But this system would give other clubs the opportunity of trying to make the top flight.
You look at teams who have come up, like Wolves, for instance, who have been just brilliant. I heard someone say the other day, ‘oh, Wolves are just an offence-based side.’ No, they are not.
They defend in a good shape and stay disciplined, but are one of the most potent teams in terms of attacking with speed and skill. That, for me, is quality.
Put simply, it needs a revamp. You do not need parachute payments if five go up and down.
Staying with football, I just cannot see Manchester City losing the Premier League now after winning at Manchester United.
I think the battle is now for who gets that last Champions League spot between Arsenal and Chelsea. United look spent. They had that period where they looked unbeatable, but are now back to the way they were under Jose Mourinho.
It does make you think that Mourinho, Louis van Gaal and David Moyes were not the problem there; it is the players. They seriously have to look at themselves. You can only blame the coach for so long.
Mourinho was arguably one of the best three managers in the world and van Gaal had a terrific record and reputation all around the world, too.
United need a clear-out of at least 12 players, which is a massive turnaround. Can they do it in one window? I would doubt it.
They have three brands of players. Ones just nicking a living; senior players who just do not want to leave unless the money is right elsewhere, and there are young players coming through who are exciting, but not week-in, week-out performers.
Then there are the guys in the middle who are just not quite good enough. That is a horrible thing to have.
By contrast, at City you have a group of 20 players who are good enough to play in the first team, no matter who Guardiola plays.