It is safe to say that the 2021-22 season has not played out the way any Leeds United fan would have expected. The Whites have seen a top-half finish last season turn into an injury-plagued relegation scrap this year. The success enjoyed last year under Marcelo Bielsa was replaced by a painful march to resignation. After many months of questioning, Bielsa finally left after the 4-0 loss at home to Tottenham Hotspur. His replacement, Jesse Marsch, arrives at Elland Road having to win a lot of people over.
More importantly, though, the American has to avoid relegation. Taking Leeds down would no doubt lead to major exits, a massive drop in revenue, and Marsch being sacked. If the former Red Bull Group coach wants to keep on progressing, he needs to make the most of the remaining weeks of the season and stay up. Thankfully, with Norwich City looking likely to take up one relegation space, it is pretty likely that only one or two spots remain from the bottom three.
Like Leeds, Everton are enjoying a nightmare season that means they might very much wind up going down. The Toffees are one of the longest-running clubs in the world with a top-flight presence, but look like that could change this year. A worrying report has come out, too, claiming that financial issues at Goodison Park could see them hit with a points penalty.
As the Blues look to parlay with the Premier League over an eye-watering set of accounts, Leeds could get an additional reprieve. This would leave one – or no – spots left for Leeds to fall into, giving Marsch the chance to play with a whole lot less pressure for the remainder of the season.
A points deduction for Everton could arrive due to a combined loss of over £260 million between 2017 and 2020.
Will Everton really see a points deduction?
At the moment, expert seem to be pretty split down the middle on what will happen here. Some believe that the Blues will find a negotiation means with the Premier League to stave off any points penalties. However, the likely loss of a major benefactor in Alisher Usmanov means that Everton might not have the same financial clout as before. Usmanov is currently tied up in issues related to Russian sanctions due to the Ukraine situation.
Everton have been reportedly asked to hand over their accounts for the 2020-21 season, but have failed to do so as they look to find out how much lossmaking could be blamed on the COVID pandemic. Should the ruling go against Everton, though, it could provide Marsch with some much-needed freedom.
The American needs to hit the ground running, but he also needs to find a committed style of play. Without having to worry about relegation as much, Marsch and the squad could focus more on the latter. In a season where so many fine margins exist, Everton being embroiled with a points deduction could be the latest twist that shocks the league.