Patrick Bamford needs time and competition - Three things learned in Leeds United v Arsenal
Leeds United were left frustrated at Elland Road on Sunday as Bukayo Saka’s goal handed the Whites a 1-0 defeat.
Sunday afternoon’s clash against Arsenal was a story of missed chances, VAR chaos and one terrible Rodrigo pass. Saka pounced on the mistake to score the only goal of the game, but it hardly tells the full story.
On the whole, Leeds played superbly and can count themselves unlucky to not come away with at least a point. Jesse Marsch set up his side to press Arsenal and wreak havoc, and the league leaders found it incredibly hard to deal with.
Here, MOT Leeds News looks at three things learned in the rage-inducing defeat to Mikel Arteta’s Gunners.
Off the pace
After Rodrigo’s horror show in the first half that handed Arsenal an undeserved lead, most fans around Elland Road were pleased to see Bamford come on at the break.
The 29-year-old is still looking for his first goal of the season after missing the start of the campaign through injury, and he couldn’t have asked for a better chance than a penalty.
But after VAR finally awarded the Whites a spot-kick, Bamford stepped up and dragged it wide of Aaron Ramsdale’s post. His wait for a goal continues, much to the frustration of Marsch.
If it wasn’t already obvious, Leeds are in desperate need of a clinical striker in January.
A statement performance
Rasmus Kristensen has come under fire recently for his performances, but no one can argue against his resilient display against Arsenal.
The Danish defender kept Gabriel Martinelli quiet throughout and looked unbeatable during Arsenal’s counterattacks.
The defence continues to look better when Kristensen is in the side – his only absence this season was the 5-2 loss to Brentford.
Luke Ayling may be back fit and ready, but Kristensen is making sure he stays on the bench.
Not a one-off
That win over Chelsea seems a long time ago, but Sunday’s showing showed that it wasn’t a one-off performance.
Marsch got everything right against Arsenal, but bad luck mixed with poor finishing meant Leeds left empty-handed.
However, there are plenty of positives to take from the defeat, including Marsch’s tactical decision-making. After a fairly balanced first half, the American boss made changes and got it right after the break. Leeds dominated the league leaders and pinned them in their own half.
While results have not been good enough and on paper it looks as though Marsch is struggling – he answered his critics with a great gameplan against the Gunners.
In other Leeds United news, Rodrigo has a stinker and a midfielder sparkles in latest player ratings v Arsenal