Journalist Graham Smyth has slammed Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch for playing Raphinha in a defensive role over the weekend.
This meant, the club’s Brazilian winger had to spend a fair chunk of the game playing a much deeper role to fill the gap vacated by his ill-disciplined teammate.
In the end, Leeds fell to a 2-1 defeat against the Gunners, but it seems as though Marsch’s decision to ask Raphinha to spend most of the match playing in a defensive position has drawn some criticism.
Is Raphinha Leeds United's best player?
Indeed, in his player ratings for the Yorkshire Evening Post, Smyth wrote about the winger’s display, but suggested it was ‘crazy’ of his manager to use him in such a way.
He said: “Beaten too easily by [Gabriel] Martinelli for the second. Asked to play right wing-back and did his best but it’s a huge ask. A crazy one, truthfully.”
TIF thoughts on Raphinha and Leeds…
With ten goals and three assists in the league this term, it’s easy to understand why Smyth would wants Raphinha’s attacking threat much further up the pitch.
However, as is displayed in his heat map from the game (via SofaScore) you can see the Brazilian spent the vast majority trying to defend inside his own box – he also ended the game without even attempting a shot on goal.
Of course, Marsch may have intended to get Raphinha higher up the field as the game developed, but the red card for Ayling likely would have put an end to those potential plans.
With that in mind, Raphinha will hope to be given the freedom to do a lot more attacking next time out.