Leeds Promoted to Premier League After 16-Year Absence

Ben White, Kalvin Phillips
Leeds have officially been promoted ahead of their Sunday game against Derby | George Wood/Getty Images

Leeds have mathematically sealed promotion to the Premier League with two games left to play thanks to West Brom's 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield on Friday evening.

The Yorkshire side have been absent from the top flight for 16 years, even dipping into League One for three years before a decade-long unbroken stretch in the Championship.

Marcelo Bielsa's side are by far the 'biggest' club in England's second tier by almost any metric, with three league titles, an FA Cup, League Cup and a European Cup final – plus an appearance in the last four of the Champions League at the start of this century.

Leeds regularly draw attendances of several thousand more fans than any other club outside the Premier League (League One Sunderland are actually second behind them), and will immediately be one of the best-supported sides in the top flight when they return.

Anything less than a win for Brentford away at Stoke on Saturday will hand Leeds the title to boot, leaving them completely comfortable in their final games against Derby and Charlton on Sunday and Wednesday respectively.

For all of their reputation as Championship nearly-men, this is only the Yorkshire club's fourth top-half finish in ten seasons, having only made their first playoff appearance since 2006 last season – when a late collapse kept them out of the automatic spots before a 4-2 defeat to Frank Lampard's Derby County ended their promotion hopes before the Wembley play-off final.

The league's tightest defence, anchored by Luke Ayling, played a huge part in the promotion campaign – Patrick Bamford chipping in at the other end with 16 goals and veteran midfielder Pablo Hernandez knitting things together in the middle of the park.

Eyes now turn to the bet365 Stadium for Saturday's lunchtime kickoff, where Brentford can put themselves into an automatic promotion place for the first time all season with just a point against struggling Stoke – and could all-but seal promotion with a win.

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