Brenden Aaronson stars on debut but Marc Roca stinks: Leeds United player ratings v Wolves
Leeds United came from behind to record a morale-boosting opening day Premier League win, running out 2-1 winners against Wolves.
A fast start from the home side, roared on from the stands at Elland Road, was dampened when Pascal Struijk gave the ball away high up the pitch and Daniel Podence looped a sixth-minute opener over Illan Meslier, but the Whites were threatening and caught Wolves in possession inside the own area before Rodrigo fired an equaliser under Jose Sa in the 24th minute.
The visitors took control of the game after the half and the shakiness in defence came to the fore, until a wonderful attacking move saw Patrick Bamford cross for debutant Brenden Aaronson to force an own-goal winner.
Here, MOT Leeds News rates the Leeds United players out of 10 from their opening day clash with Wolves at Elland Road.
Illan Meslier – 8
Imperious. Couldn’t really do anything to prevent the early goal which looped awkwardly off the turf and in via the bar. Reasserted himself by claiming a dangerous cross with a Superman-style dive. Crucial block to deny Leander Dendoncker in the last action of the half, before tipping a header over from the same man after the break as he was increasingly called into action.
Pascal Struijk – 3
Didn’t do anything to reassure doubters that the problem left-back position won’t be a problem if he is backing up Junior Firpo. Dreadful start. Stepped out from the back and gave away possession in the build up to the opening goal, then was out of position as Hwang nodded down at the back post to assist. Wasn’t bad supporting the attacks but inspired little confidence defensively.
Robin Koch – 4
Didn’t stand out at the back as a Wolves attack missing its top striker caused problems. Much like last season the defence looked far weaker without the organisation and ability of captain Liam Cooper.
Diego Llorente – 5
Didn’t look assured but made a couple of important last-ditch interventions late. Crashed into one first half challenge to the delight of the supporters in the stands and was just about the pick of the defenders. Almost skewed a header into his own net after the break.
Rasmus Kristensen – 5
All action, good and bad. Contrary to his combative reputation he was stronger in attack than defence. Surprisingly bullied off the ball by Pedro Neto in the build up to the Wolves opener. Somehow wasn’t awarded a penalty when he was taken out in the air by Sa soon after. Pedro Neto gave him nightmares but a vital, goal-saving challenge to keep the scores level mid-way through the second half.
Marc Roca – (off for Greenwood ’72) – 2
Completely anonymous. A debut to forget for the arrival from Bayern Munich. No surprise that he was replaced, only surprising that it took so long.
Tyler Adams – 6
Looked to add some much-needed bite and industry in the midfield from the first whistle which was audibly appreciated by the Elland Road crowd. Faded from prominence as the game went on, increasing fears that the midfield could lack control.
Jack Harrison – 6
Probably third-best of the three attacking midfielders in the first half but followed Aaronson in snapping at the heels of Wolves defenders to spring Rodrigo for his goal, and put in a beautiful cross late in the period that was just out of Rodrigo and Bamford’s reach. Booked taking one for the team in bringing Neto down to prevent a first-half break. Busy but faded.
Brenden Aaronson – (off for Summerville ’84) – Man of the Match 9
Looks like he could be the star of the team this season as he shone on debut. Was at the centre of everything going forward when the home side were in the ascendency, but faded later on. Busy and threatening from the off, and his pressing to win the ball back high was a huge part of Rodrigo’s equaliser. Finished off the move for the winner, although the goal was then awarded as a Rayan Ait-Nouri own goal.
Rodrigo – (off for Klich ’64) – 7
Smashed an equaliser under a weak Sa at the near post to reignite the crowd. Looked absolutely pumped to do so. Linked well with fellow attackers and was busy on the counter-press in the first half. Sacrificed in the second period as the visitors threatened to take control of the game.
Patrick Bamford – (off for Gelhardt ’84) – 8
Strong return that came good in the end and made a telling contribution with a lovely assist for the winner. Even seeing him on the pitch for a sustained period of time was a bonus for the club’s top striker, but he was a split-second short of full sharpness on a few first-half attacks. Almost pressured the hapless Sa into dribbling the ball into his own net before the break.
Mateusz Klich – (on for Rodrigo ’64) –
Slipped in Bamford to cross for the winner to make a key contribution off the bench. His Leeds United future is in doubt but he was the first man Marsch turned too to change things.
Sam Greenwood – (on for Roca ’72)
Joe Gelhardt – (on for Bamford ’84)
Crysencio Summerville – (on for Aaronson ’84)
In other Leeds United news, Stan Collymore has predicted where the Whites are going to finish their Premier League season in May.