Phil Hay has claimed that when Brenden Aaronson doesn’t play well, Leeds United will likely struggle this season.
This recent claim comes after Leeds tasted defeat for the first time this season on Saturday against Brighton, in a game that saw Aaronson handed a relatively poor 5/10 player rating and only attempted 26 passes, the second-lowest out of any Leeds player to have started the game (FBRef).
While this will be worrying for Leeds fans and Jesse Marsch, it is likely a sort of reality check that they needed so that they can find out how to combat the opposition’s tactics against Aaronson early on in the season.
While speaking on The Phil Hay Show, Hay spoke about how Aaronson is so crucial to Leeds, but also, how that could be a problem moving forward in certain games.
He said: “One of the messages from Brighton I think was that if the opposition team can cut a player out of the game in the way that they did Aaronson before half time, Leeds are going to struggle to play in the way that they want to play.
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“That was a definite issue and he went from being so influential against Chelsea to barely touching the ball against Brighton before half time, and you could see that in his body language you’d see him gesticulate to the players saying I need the ball, I need the right pass, I need you to be doing the right things when you’re distributing from the back.”
TIF Thoughts on Aaronson’s influence at Leeds…
It’s quite obvious to see how important Aaronson already is to this Leeds side having racked up the second-most touches, been targeted the third-most times when it comes to teammates passing him the ball and also managed to successfully pressure the ball the most out of anyone within the Leeds squad.
While that does point towards Aaronson fitting in very well and being a big success already at Elland Road, it does show that if teams can stop him and restrict his influence on a game, then Leeds are likely to not be as good.
After the Brighton defeat, Marsch and his coaching staff will have realised Aaronson is getting a lot more attention now during games, so will have to make subtle tweaks to ensure he can still be prominent in Leeds’ games moving forward.