BT Sport pundit slams Raphinha display as Leeds United in six-goal thriller v Aston Villa
BT Sport pundit Lucy Ward was less than impressed by Raphinha’s performance for Leeds United as they drew 3-3 at Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
Marcelo Bielsa refused to rest Raphinha, 25, after the winger spent the Premier League’s winter break on international duty with Brazil and the result was what looked like a tired, frustrated performance at Villa Park.
He struggled to create and lost possession many times, leading to ex-Leeds Women star Ward criticising his display.
“Lucas Digne just making sure he’s on the shoulder of Raphinha, who doesn’t seem quite on his game tonight,” said Ward on BT Sport 1 on Wednesday night during the second half at Villa Park [9 February].
“He takes one touch too many to beat Lucas Digne but he’s right on top of goal.
“This is what I talked about before the game, the top teams are winning the ball high up the pitch against Leeds and Villa want to see themselves in the top part of this Premier League and be the type of team that can do that.”
No rest for the wonderful
Raphinha has given us so many top-notch performances this season that we can forgive him for the odd shocker.
If we’re being perfectly blunt, the ex-Rennes winger was terrible against Aston Villa.
WhoScored shows that the Brazil international completed just 66 per cent of his passes on Wednesday night – the worst of all the Leeds players – while he also completed just one of the five dribbles he attempted.
Raphinha hasn’t had many performances worse than the one at Villa Park but the Brazilian has barely missed a minute of action this season.
He’s played for both Leeds and Brazil throughout what has been a tiresome campaign for the in-demand attacker.
Raphinha started both of Brazil’s games in the recent World Cup qualifiers, scoring in the 4-0 win over Paraguay on 2 February.
Since then, he’s had to fly back into the UK, get re-adjusted to the time difference and then play against players who’d had two weeks of rest.
It wasn’t an easy night for Raphinha, who maybe should have been rested.
But, then again, why would you rest your best players?
We just hope he doesn’t get run into the ground and gets injured.
In other Leeds United news, this player faces being bombed out of the squad by Bielsa after what he seemed to do in the draw at Villa.