Skip to content
Leeds United - Elland Road
  1. Football
  2. Premier League

Premier League: Leeds turn to Javi Gracia in bid to survive

Leeds United have turned to former Watford boss Javi Gracia in their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

The Spaniard replaces American Jesse Marsch, who was removed from his position on 6th February after a poor run of results.

Gracia inherits a Leeds team that have only won four games all season, and who are now 19th in the Premier League table following their 1-0 defeat to Everton last time out.

The Whites are 1/1 to be relegated this season, but the club's owners will hope Gracia's top-flight experience will stand them in good stead.

WhatPremier League 2022/23
WhenFriday 5th August 2022 - Sunday 28th May 2023
How to watchSky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime
Odds (to be relegated)Bournemouth 4/11, Southampton 4/9, Leeds 1/1, Everton 13/8, Nottingham Forest 5/2

Gracia has been there and done it

When Leeds United started their search for Marsch's successor, they headed straight to La Liga. The form of Rayo Vallecano propelled Andoni Iraola to the top of their hit-list, but that move was subsequently blocked by the Spanish club.

With their tails between their legs, Leeds chiefs turned their attention to Feyenoord's Arne Slot, but he spurned the Yorkshire club's advances, instead opting  to remain in the Eredivisie.

Leeds' sporting director had then hoped to appoint former Ajax manager Alfred Schreuder, only for a fans backlash to change his plans.

Related Premier League News

Premier League review: Arsenal glee as title race hots up

The Whites were also linked with former youth team coach Carlos Corberan but, in the end, they have put their faith in Gracia after a successful interview earlier this week.

The 52-year-old kept Watford in the Premier League on two occasions during his previous spell in England, while he also led the Hornets to the 2019 FA Cup final, where they lost 6-0 to Manchester City.

He will hope to repeat both those feats, with Leeds due to play Fulham in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Tuesday, 28th February.

Fulham are 1/1 to win, the draw is 13/5, while Leeds are also available at 13/5 to pick up the victory at Craven Cottage.

Gracia must hit the ground running

Marsch's final game in charge of Leeds came against Nottingham Forest, who ran out 1-0 winners at the City Ground.

Michael Skubala was then placed in caretaker charge, and while he secured a 2-2 draw against Manchester United in his first game in charge, the Whites have since lost 2-0 to the Red Devils and, more significantly, 1-0 to Everton.

Gracia, who reportedly impressed the club with a presentation on their recent performances, arrives ahead of the club's biggest game of the season against rock-bottom Southampton.

A win would give Leeds a four-point cushion over their rivals before they face Chelsea, Brighton, Wolves, and Arsenal in the league.

Time appears to be running out for the Elland Road side, so Gracia will hope his visa application will be accepted as soon as possible, thus allowing him to get straight down to business.

Leeds' squad capable of more

While Marsch inherited a threadbare squad from Marcelo Bielsa, Gracia should have plenty of options at his disposal.

Leeds added Maximilian Wober, Weston McKennie and Georginio Rutter to their squad in January, and they have strength in depth across the park.

While top-scorer Rodrigo is out injured, Leeds have Patrick Bamford, Willy Gnonto, Luis Sinisterra and Crycensio Summerville available, and Gracia should have enough options to work with until the end of the season.

During his time at Watford, he won 18 of his 56 matches in charge, taking an average of 1.18 points per match.

Leeds last won a league game on 5th November last year, but the arrival of a new face may give them the boost they need.

Against Everton, Leeds failed to register a single shot on target, but Gracia's ability to work with numerous tactics may be enough to get them a positive result against Southampton.

Leeds are 19/20 to pick up all three points, the draw is 12/5, while Southampton are 14/5 to win on their travels and push Leeds to the bottom of the table.

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy