Leeds United 2022/23 season preview and prediction: Can Jesse Marsch propel Leeds back up the table?

Leeds United 2022/23 season preview and prediction: Rodrigo of Leeds United reacts during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Norwich City at Elland Road on March 13, 2022 in Leeds, England.
(Image credit: George Wood/Getty Images)

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The club’s target for their opening two seasons after promotion was simply to stay in the Premier League, so with that objective achieved, Leeds can crack on, right? Not so fast. Following a ninth-place finish by going down to the relegation wire with Burnley left everyone shell-shocked, and what felt like natural next steps – progress towards Europe, work on expanding Elland Road – don’t seem that simple any more.

Instead of building on Marcelo Bielsa’s legacy, Leeds blew it all up, and 2022-23 feels like starting again in the unknown. The rush to sign players – two from Jesse Marsch’s former employers, Salzburg – suggests planned rebuilding, but dealing with high-profile departures might be the biggest test of the new coach while making his ‘energy drink football’ work.

Leeds United 2022/23 season preview and prediction: The lesson from last year

Never do any of that ever again. Fans are divided over who to blame for a disastrous season, which is usually a sign that so much went wrong, there was no shortage of guilty parties.

Key injuries to the Whites’ spine proved crippling, as were a joint-league-high 19 goals conceded from set-pieces, and if the former were truly down to Bielsa’s training methods, then there should be provisions made to ensure there’s no repeat. Otherwise, the big lesson resembles Howard Wilkinson’s old maxim: ‘Fail to prepare; prepare to fail’. 

Nobody saw a bad second season coming, and nobody knew what to do when it arrived. Leeds won’t get away with that twice in this Premier League, and their hopes won’t be enhanced by hero Raphinha following Manchester City-bound Kalvin Phillips out the door.

The coach: Jesse Marsch

Jesse Marsch

(Image credit: Getty)

Jesse Marsch revealed he tried to talk the club out of appointing him mid-season, and he had a point. Though the 48-year-old Princeton graduate managed to keep Leeds in the division, he burned through a lot of goodwill in the process. His overarching challenge is to make life after Bielsa feel like a fresh start.

The owner: Andrea Radrizzani

Taking Leeds back to the Premier League made Andrea Radrizzani popular for just about as long as football attention spans ever allow. Only rarely did the Elland Road crowd threaten revolt last season, but when they did, the sole target was the board. The fans want less tweeting and more spending.

The mood around Leeds…

The fans are waiting to be impressed and the club has ground to make up, having lauded Marsch as an evolution from Bielsa. How will it look in practice?

The one to watch

Brenden Aaronson of Leeds United crosses the ball into the box during the Pre-Season friendly match between Leeds United and Cagliari at Elland Road on July 31, 2022 in Leeds, England.

(Image credit: Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

Long-time target Brenden Aaronson has joined for more than £22m, and his previous relationship with Marsch makes him the symbol of Leeds’ new look. With the Premier League and World Cup ahead, there’s a lot being asked of the 21-year-old attacking midfielder, here and in his native USA.

Most likely to…

Headbutt Jurgen Klopp? Well, we’re glad you asked. After telling Jackie Harrison to be ‘a son of a bitch on the pitch’, Marsch claimed to have psyched out a referee into giving a Manchester City player a yellow card at Elland Road (Leeds lost 4-0) and complained that Premier League bosses are “too congenial”. Next up: a sweet left across Klopp’s chin to knock down those Ted Lasso comparisons.

Least likely to…

Win new friends. The sight of Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville begging for an opportunity to cover Leeds games is gone, but it was only ever a mirage. It’s time for a new generation of fans to inherit the traditional family hatred of Leeds United Football Club.

The fan's view: Tommy Davies (@tommy_lufc (opens in new tab))

Last season was a real-world re-enactment of ‘The Triumph of Death’ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Google it. 

This season will be different because Marcelo Bielsa, our inspirational ex-manager, has tragically departed the club after four years and we are all now his widows. 

The big talking point is whether a side that barely escaped relegation should allow their best players to walk away on the cheap, as a favour to teams with the wealth of nation states behind them.

The fans’ opinion of the gaffer is clouded by sorrow. No offence to Jesse Marsch, because he does seem like a decent sort, but anyone succeeding Bielsa must feel like a performing dog going on after Sinatra.

If he left, he should be replaced by a young clone of Bielsa, who we’ve created from DNA samples collected from the bucket he used to perch on.

Our key player will be desperately unlucky striker Patrick Bamford. Fortunately for us, he’s too injured to sell this summer. I hope.

Our most underrated player was probably midfield linchpin and loveable tyke Kalvin Phillips, though Pep Guardiola is clearly a fan.

I’m least looking forward to playing Nottingham Forest, because they always beat us and their manager is truly frightening to behold. 

The pantomime villain will be funtime Frankie Lamps, who is somehow in gainful employment again and will presumably continue to be a complaining, entitled brat.

The one change I’d make would be to erect a 100ft-tall statue of Bielsa outside Elland Road, standing astride the ground like the Colossus of Rhodes.

We’ll finish 16th.


Jesse Marsch is tasked with arresting the decline, but losing talismen hardly helps. Another survival scrap awaits.

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