By Craig Scott

21st Dec, 2022 | 8:56pm

Pascal Struijk in 3/10 shocker after contract news, Robin Koch shines - Leeds United player ratings v Monaco

Leeds United crumbled to a 4-2 defeat in their final friendly match before the Premier League season restarts when Monaco visited Elland Road on Wednesday night.

Robin Koch’s early header seemed to be setting Leeds on their way to yet another friendly victory in this mid-season break but a second-half meltdown saw the Whites suffer a heavy loss.

Breel Embolo equalised for Monaco before halftime. Gelson Martins, Ismail Jakobs and another Embolo goal within 10 minutes of the second half starting ended up being enough to see the Ligue 1 side cruise to an easy victory.

Joe Gelhardt scored a late penalty with what was the final kick of the game.

Here, MOT Leeds News rates the players out of 10 for their performances:

Kristoffer Klaesson – 5

Klaesson couldn’t do much about any of the goals in fairness. However, you have to imagine that there would have been more communication and more leadership in the penalty box had Joel Robles played instead.

Rasmus Kristensen – 4

The Dane was unlucky to not get an assist when a perfect, first-time touch wasn’t converted by Gelhardt in the 35th minute. He was caught too high up the pitch for Monaco’s second and fourth goals.

Luke Ayling – 4

Ayling looked very uncomfortable at centre-back. He looked like a player who’s barely played in that position. Ayling’s form at centre-back in recent years at Leeds is worrying and his poor aerial challenge for Monaco’s third goal summed up his performance. It really wasn’t great.

Robin Koch – 8

Koch’s early goal to put Leeds ahead was brilliant. He connected well with Roca’s corner to get the ball in the back of the net. He was being marked by a player a foot shorter than him, admittedly. Koch also looked very good defensively and on the ball before he was substituted off at halftime when it was 1-1. We’re happy with his displays so far this season and it’s no surprise to see it all fall apart when he was taken off.

Pascal Struijk – 3

Struijk lost Martins for Monaco’s second and fourth goal of the night. He should have done so much better on those occasions and didn’t contribute too much going forward, either. He should’ve learned from Martin’s goal to keep an eye on him but he allowed the Monaco winger to then set up Monaco’s third. It wasn’t the best of performances to celebrate a new contract for the Dutchman.

Adam Forshaw – 5

Gone are the days of Forshaw being a so-called Champions League-quality player under Marcelo Bielsa. He’s clearly lost a yard of pace and doesn’t look to be anywhere near the level he was at in terms of his ability. A lot of work still needs to be done to improve our midfield.

Marc Roca – 6

Roca’s corner to set up Koch’s goal was brilliant and he did look the most composed of Leeds’ midfielders when the ball was in play. He needs Tyler Adams alongside him though.

Sam Greenwood – 5

Greenwood’s passing was wayward and was potentially at fault for Embolo’s opening goal in the first half. He didn’t look entirely comfortable for the first hour but came into it a bit when there was less pressure on Leeds and they enjoyed more possession.

Brenden Aaronson – 6

Aaronson showed real flashes of brilliance in the first half. Tony Dorigo even said on LUTV that he was the best player in the game so far after about half an hour. But after that, it quietened down for the tricky American. Still, it was a promising display considering.

Wilfried Gnonto – 7

It’s hard to not get excited by Gnonto. He’s quick, skilful and direct. There was an injury worry in the first half but thankfully, he seemed to shake it off. He won the late penalty as a reward for his tricky play.

Joe Gelhardt – 6

Gelhardt was very unlucky in the first half when he saw two great balls flash past him. He was just shy of getting on the end of them and scoring. He pressed well and was rewarded for his efforts late on when he stuck a penalty in the back of the net.

Substitutions:

Diego Llorente (on for Koch, 46′) – 4

Leeds conceded within seconds of him coming on the pitch with the floodgates opening early in the second half. Says it all.

Mateo Joseph (on for Forshaw, 62′) – 5

Junior Firpo (on for Kristensen, 68′) – N/A

Leo Hjelde (on for Strujk, 80′) – N/A

Darko Gyabi (on for Aaronson, 80′) – N/A

In other Leeds United news, we can exclusively share a major injury update on this Elland Road favourite who’s suffered setbacks.