Leeds United need to beat Tottenham Hotspur on the final day and hope other Premier League results go their way to avoid relegation
Micah Richards isn’t writing off Leeds United’s chances of Premier League survival this week just yet. Sunday’s defeat to West Ham United in east London ensures Leeds find themselves two points adrift of safety as they head into this weekend’s final round of top flight fixtures.
The Whites need to beat Tottenham Hotspur in order to give themselves a chance of survival, but they also need results elsewhere to go their way in order to clamber out of the bottom three. Leicester City’s draw with Newcastle United on Monday night means Leeds will be hoping the Foxes, who sit above Leeds on goal difference, falter against West Ham United at the King Power Stadium.
United will also be keeping tabs on the scoreline at Goodison Park as Everton take on Bournemouth. Everton must fall short against the Cherries if Leeds are to have any hope of leapfrogging them and claiming 17th position.
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Bournemouth are already safe and will be playing for nothing more than pride on Sunday afternoon and Richards insists that makes them a dangerous proposition for Everton.
“When you have a team that have nothing to play for, you’ve seen West Ham, West Ham had nothing to play for,” The former England international told BBC 5 Live. “Outstanding. Paqueta was playing like he was on a beach, he was doing skills and all that, playing with absolute freedom.
“Bournemouth will go into that game and play with freedom. No pressure, express yourselves. People who don’t always get a game will get a run out.
“Those games can be very, very difficult. It’s a different mindset because you go into the game with a nice flow and express yourself. It’s great.”
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Whether they stay up or go down, it’s been a tough campaign at Elland Road and Richards, who grew up in Chapeltown, has been less than impressed by what he has seen, pointing to the lack of direction and leadership within the club.
“There’s elements of the game for Leeds that look really good for certain amounts of time,” he added. “They’ll be really good for 30 minutes and you’re thinking, ‘wow, they’ve got the energy’.
“Javi Gracia comes in and you think they’ve got a bit of stability, they’re timing the way they’re pressing. I remember doing the away game at Fulham and thinking, ‘OK, I’m seeing something different here’, but they just fall into the trap of being overexposed.
“They’re trying hard, it’s not like they’re not trying. Look at the goal for Declan Rice, they got through way too easy, they were in pockets of space and all those things, but they were all back in a position to help each other out. There was a lack of organisation, a lack of talking, someone saying ‘come on, these are the positions we need to be’.
“They’re letting themselves down with sloppy mistakes all over the pitch. Yesterday, the comments from Allardyce and Ayling were damning.”
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