David Moyes’ side came from behind to beat the Whites thanks to goals from Tomas Soucek and Angelo Ogbonna. Haller, who joined the club from Eintracht Frankfurt in the summer of 2019 in a deal reportedly worth £45m (as per Transfermarkt), has struggled for goals since arriving in England, managing just nine in 43 appearances in the top flight.
The Ivory Coast international started the game at centre-forward for the visitors with Michail Antonio still unavailable, but Merson wasn’t impressed with his display, blaming him for Leeds’ opener. Here is what he had to say:
“David Moyes will want him to start off well, he sold them up the river with the first touch [which led to Leeds’ penalty]. He’s got to be stronger, he’s up there to hold the ball up. He did get better in the second half, but let’s be honest, he couldn’t have got worse.
“How many times did [Luke] Ayling take the ball off him in the first half? When he [does] the basics, holds the ball up, takes a touch, sprays it to the right, that’s his job, that’s what he’s got to do.”
Has Sebastien Haller improved this season?
TIF Thoughts on Paul Merson’s comments regarding Sebastien Haller…
It’s clear from what the pundit has had to say that in his view, Moyes would have been disappointed by what he saw from his forward in the early stages of the game at Elland Road. Haller’s average performance rating in the Premier League so far this season currently stands at 6.84/10 (via WhoScored), which perhaps suggests he hasn’t been as bad as Merson is suggesting.
The 26-year-old has already scored six goals this season in all competitions which is just one fewer than he managed throughout the entire 2019/20 campaign. In our view, taking into account all of the above, Merson has been a little bit harsh on the West Ham forward, who despite his error on Friday, earned himself a strong performance rating of 7.28/10.