YEP Leeds United Jury: Nothing on show at the Emirates to suggest Leeds will avoid the drop

If Leeds United had an Everest-like mountain to climb in order to retain their Premier League status before going to Arsenal on Sunday, they’ll now have to do it without the aid of oxygen, ropes and crampons.

By Steve Heptinstall
Monday, 9th May 2022, 5:45 am

That’s pretty much the reluctant but realistic view from our Leeds United fans’ jury.

The Whites need to win. The players know it and the fans certainly know it - they did their utmost from the stands on Sunday to try to make it happen.

Now it’s up to the players, they say, to make it happen on the pitch.

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Leeds United man-of-the-match contender Diego Llorente. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

Mike Gill

An uncharacteristic slip from our wonderful goalkeeper gave old boy Eddie Neketiah the first goal after only five minutes.

Worse was to follow as former favourite Eddie doubled his contribution before 10 minutes had elapsed.

Could things deteriorate further? You can be sure that they could. Luke Ayling was having a torrid time trying to contain Gabriel Martinelli and unfortunately his frustration manifested itself with a two-footed, studs up tackle which initially drew a yellow card from referee Chris Kavanagh but few were surprised when VAR overturned his decision and Luke duly received his marching orders.

Arsenal's two-goal former Leeds United loanee Eddie Nketiah. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.

Joe Gelhardt, who no longer answers to the name of ‘lucky’ was withdrawn after his first start to make way for the more defensive minded Pascal Struijk.

After this, the Whites defended resolutely and held the red and white hordes back.

Amazingly, after being awarded their first corner of the match, Diego Llorente scored an unlikely far post volley.

United continued to fight on gamely but it wasn’t to be.

Leeds United man-of-the-match contender Dan James, left, at the Emirates on Sunday. Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.

10/10 for effort but points are all that matter now as Leeds take their place amongst the doomed and damned.

Man of the match: Dan James.

Andrew Dalton

A day that started in bright sunshine at the Emirates Stadium, ended with Leeds in the bottom three thanks to Everton’s win at the King Power, despite a spirited comeback with ten men which saw Arsenal hold on for all three points.

It was case of the return of the ex as Eddie Nketiah scored two goals early on to put the game out of sight in the first half or so it looked.

Captain Luke Ayling then saw red, which gave Leeds a mountain to climb and the only surprise was that the scoreline wasn’t more than 2-0 at the break.

Jesse Marsch brought on Lewis Bate for only his third appearance in a Leeds shirt and the visitors got one back through Diego Llorente to set up a nervy finish in North London with what was their first shot of the game.

Leeds pilled on the pressure but the damage had been done in the first half.

United now enter the bottom three on goal difference ahead of a must-win game against Chelsea at Elland Road on Wednesday night.

Man of the match: Lewis Bate.

Andy Rhodes

It’s easy to say it straight after a defeat but things aren’t looking good, are they? The second half was more spirited but the damage was done in that disastrous first.

When you’re fighting for your Premier League life, any manager would tell his players to keep things simple and get the basics right. Jesse Marsch must have forgotten to tell Illan Meslier and Luke Ayling.

Meslier has taken risks like that before but this was a time to get the ball into row Z.

The game was arguably up when Ayling received his marching orders, but an experienced player like him should know better than to dive in with both feet.

The second half was much better and Leeds stood strong against Arsenal’s pressure but it was going to be hard to regain a foothold.

Attention now turns to the visit of Chelsea to Elland Road on Wednesday night and it’s a must-win game.

There’s no doubt about it now, Leeds need results, however they also need favours from elsewhere.

Man of the match: Diego Llorente.

Keith Ingham

Another depressing result in a shambolic season that saw Leeds lose 2-1 at Arsenal and the result dropped them into the bottom three because Everton, unlike Leeds, did their job and beat Leicester by the same scoreline.

It looks as desperate as it’s ever been and I expect Leeds to be once again playing in the Championship in August. Nothing I witnessed at the Emirates has made me change my opinion.

Well, on a day you needed every player on the pitch giving their all, you should expect the man wearing the captain’s armband to keep a level head, especially when said player has played so many games for the club. Luke Ayling let himself and the supporters down with a reckless challenge that saw him sent off and is now out of Leeds’ next three games.

Call me negative or pessimistic but this team doesn’t have what it takes to get out of the bottom three. I’ll end it there and hope that next season we have a new board that will invest and a few players that have the ability to at least challenge to get back to the Premier League.

It may be a long time until we see Liverpool and the like back in Leeds 11.

Man of the match: Dan James.

David Watkins

Another game at the Emirates and yet another occasion when we shot ourselves in the foot!

How many times have we travelled there recently, full of hope, only to effectively give the game up weakly?

Surely our squad knows how lightening quick Eddie Nketiah is?

To have battled so bravely in the second half, it only makes the first-half display more annoying.

Giving Arsenal a two-goal start and a man advantage was just suicidal.

Our record against the ‘big six’ this season is woeful and we now have just one last chance to put our first points on the board against any of them: Chelsea on Wednesday night.

If ever there was a time to break this particular duck, then this is it.

The cumulative score against the ‘big six’ before that Chelsea game is eight goals for and 44 against!

That’s where this problematic goal difference of ours comes from.

Man of the match: Diego Llorente.