'I worry for Leeds' - Paul Merson delivers damning Whites verdict, makes Kalvin Phillips exit remark
Paul Merson has claimed that he is “worried” for Leeds United after last night’s 2-1 defeat to West Ham.
The Whites were ultimately undone by a late Angelo Ogbonna header, but the Sky Sports pundit has argued that on another day, with different personnel in the Hammers’ starting lineup, Marcelo Bielsa’s men could have been on the wrong end of a thrashing.
The former Arsenal man went on to suggest that last weekend’s defeat to Chelsea was the first time that Leeds’ high energy approach to life in the top flight has properly been undermined by an opponent, and went as far as to argue that teams are beginning to get the measure of Bielsa’s men.
Merson also remarked that he is unsure how long Kalvin Phillips will stay at Elland Road, seemingly implying that the midfielder could become fed up with being the last bastion of defence in a midfield lineup that is so often focused on getting forward.
Speaking on Soccer Saturday, he said: “I’m sitting watching it last night, and I’m worried for Leeds.
"Everybody’s getting used to playing against Leeds. You play Benrahma against Leeds because you just need players who can beat players. Whoever can skip past players are going to play in that team on that given Saturday against Leeds because they play man to man.
"If you get past your marker, you’ve got a chance. I mean, if Antonio plays yesterday, I think it would have been five or six or seven – I really do.
"I worry for Leeds now. I love watching them, but this is the problem – every neutral loves watching Leeds play because you know it’s going to be an open game, it's going to be free-flowing, there’s going to be goals. That’s not good to Leeds.
"I look at Phillips, how long will he stay at Leeds for? You can’t be playing man v man against players like Benrahma.
"Last week against Chelsea, I think that was the last time they really got found out and really embarrassed. It was chalk and cheese. It could have been really bad.
"I’m starting to worry for Leeds.”