Date: 14th December 2020 at 12:00pm
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Sky Sports’ Paul Merson has expressed his deep concern for Leeds United’s style of play, pinpointing the man-marking approach as something teams are exploiting.

Leeds currently sit 14th in the table after back-to-back defeats, where our soft underbelly from set pieces was exploited on both occasions.

Kurt Zouma powered home for Chelsea last week but it was a double-threat for West Ham which cost us at Elland Road on Friday night.

Tomas Soucek and Angelo Ogbonna rose highest to beat their markers and head home, seeing the Irons clinch a 2-1 win, aided by some suspect marking from the Whites.

Stuart Dallas was tasked with tracking the runs of the 6ft4in Soucek and the mismatch was exploited in the first half, while Liam Cooper struggled to follow Ogbonna for the winner.

Set pieces have been a clear issue from day one under Marcelo Bielsa and that problem is rearing its ugly head again.

However, the more general debate of Leeds’ man-marking strategy is something that doesn’t sit right with some pundits.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday, Paul Merson was very concerned about how Leeds are getting on with this approach.

“Every neutral loves watching Leeds play because you know it’s gonna be an open game, it’s gonna be free-flowing, there’s gonna be goals – but that’s no good to Leeds.

“I was sitting there watching it and I worry for Leeds. Everybody’s just getting used to playing against Leeds. If Antonio plays yesterday, I think it would have been five or six or seven.”

Kalvin Phillips was in charge of marking attacking midfielder Said Benrahma, and Merson believes that Leeds’ struggles could see him move on.

I look at Phillips, and I was talking upstairs earlier with the lads: you look at Phillips and wonder how long is he gonna stay at Leeds for?” He continued.

“You can’t be playing man v man against players like Benrahma. Last week against Chelsea was the first time they really got found out and really embarrassed.”

Chelsea MotM

Kalvin Phillips

Kalvin Phillips

Patrick Bamford

Patrick Bamford

Liam Cooper

Liam Cooper


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