15 July 2024

 

Leeds could hand Georginio Rutter his first Premier League start at Chelsea  | The Independent

 

Leeds United forward Georginio Rutter just ‘could not live up to’ expectations in the defeat against Southampton but another high-profile star was also equally as disappointing, journalist Dean Jones has told GIVEMESPORT.

Daniel Farke’s men travelled to St Mary’s unbeaten in six Championship matches and on the back of four clean sheets, but succumbed to defeat against a fellow recently-relegated outfit.

What went wrong for Leeds against Southampton?
Saints manager Russell Martin is known for his possession-based 4-3-3 system but he may well have taken Farke by surprise with how he set up things on the south coast, playing with more of a 4-4-2 diamond formation as Charly Alcaraz lined up through the middle as a ‘false 9’ with Armstrong and Sulemana wide ahead of him.

That said, the Yorkshire outfit may not have been expecting to concede – given their very impressive goals against record and the fact that Southampton would have been low on confidence following four straight league defeats – so early and it set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

Leeds were certainly shocked and while you certainly wouldn’t want to accuse them of complacency it was certainly a wake-up call for the players that you need to be playing at your best in every match if you want to pick up points.

What happened to Georginio Rutter against Southampton?
It’s difficult to single him out following a defeat in which none of his teammates were impressive either, but it’s natural that the spotlight falls on him given he cost £36m last season.

Leeds United summer signings

Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea)

Undisclosed

Karl Darlow (Newcastle United)

Undisclosed

Sam Byram (Norwich City)

Free

Joe Rodon (Tottenham Hotspur)

Loan

Joel Piroe (Swansea City)

Undisclosed

Djed Spence (Tottenham Hotspur)

Loan

All fees from Sky Sports

In addition, he was outstanding against Watford the previous week producing an incredible assist – his second of the campaign – as well as also netting twice including in the impressive 4-3 win against Ipswich Town.

Rutter didn’t have a great deal of service to work with at St Mary’s but when he did have chances his link-up play wasn’t there and his decision-making was off – including late on when he skinned James Bree almost on the byline before opting to shoot from a narrow angle instead of cutting back to one of his teammates as Leeds chased the game.

Rutter and another Leeds star didn’t do enough – Dean Jones
Jones believes Rutter could have done more against Southampton, but another recent signing also failed to take his opportunity too.

He told GMS: “I just wonder if we’re expecting too much of them in terms of consistency so early on in this season. They built up such a head of steam Leeds that it seemed like they were invincible almost going into this game, and that they would go in and make the most of the fact that Southampton were in poor form.

“It really didn’t work out that way though. Piroe obviously playing against a team that were looking to sign him, we thought he would look to make the most of that opportunity, but he absolutely didn’t.

“Then Rutter wasn’t the worst player on the pitch but because he’d been so promising in the games leading up to this, there was a bit more expectation on him that he just couldn’t live up to.”

How do Leeds get Joel Piroe more involved?
Like Rutter, the attacker picked up a 3/10 rating from LeedsLive for his display on the south coast. We know that the £10m Dutchman is a goal machine in the Championship in recent years thanks to his time at Swansea City and how impressively he has started his career at Elland Road, but there are still occasions where he isn’t as involved as he maybe should be.

As Jones points out, this looked like the perfect chance for Piroe to punish a club who wanted to sign him in the summer and one who were almost on their knees approaching the fixture. In truth, it was easy to forget that the 24-year-old was even on the pitch in the first half and then in the second, he failed to take his big opportunity in the penalty area when he mis-controlled Rutter’s pass.

Although Martin often played Piroe in a deeper role, maybe Farke does need to consider in some matches that he should be played as an out-and-out number nine role rather than being in the ‘10’ position like he often was at St Mary’s.

Are Leeds favourites for promotion to the Premier League?
Leeds naturally started the season as one of the frontrunners to finish in the top two but four draws and two defeats from their opening nine fixtures mean they are currently third in the rankings.

Read More: Archie Gray Now ‘Needs To Be Careful’ At Leeds

Indeed, current leaders Leicester City and impressive starters Ipswich Town are ahead of them, while they are also above Martin’s Southampton despite currently having the same points tally.

What next for Leeds?
Farke and his players don’t have too much time to mull over the disappointment against Southampton as they face two close back-to-back matches at Elland Road.

First up is 22nd-placed Queens Park Rangers on Wednesday before they face a Bristol City side who have lost their last two prior to their trip to Rotherham United. On paper, it appears to be the perfect opportunity for Leeds to bounce back with six points but Farke will be reminding his side that they can’t afford to put in another sub-par display like they did against Southampton.

In Rutter and Piroe, the Whites have two players who need to step up and perform consistently if Leeds are to secure a top six – or even top two – finish come what May.

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