Leeds United

Leeds United: Graham Smyth slams Jesse Marsch for putting Raphinha in defensive role

Image for Leeds United: Graham Smyth slams Jesse Marsch for putting Raphinha in defensive role

Journalist Graham Smyth has slammed Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch for playing Raphinha in a defensive role over the weekend. 

The Whites starting fullback Luke Ayling managed to get himself sent off before the 30-minute mark against Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

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.

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With the threat of relegation now looming large – the Whites have sunk into the relegation zone with just three games left to play –  they’ll need the best of their players in the coming weeks.

With that in mind, Raphinha will hope to be given the freedom to do a lot more attacking next time out.

In other news: Big message: Leeds outcast sends Marsch reminder amid injury update – opinion

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