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Leeds: Brenden Aaronson was particularly wasteful v Southampton

Leeds: Brenden Aaronson was particularly wasteful v Southampton - Leeds United News

Leeds United midfielder Brenden Aaronson was guilty of a wasteful performance as the Whites squeezed past Southampton this weekend.

The Lowdown: Late Firpo goal seals huge three points for Leeds

The meeting between the Premier League’s bottom two clubs was an understandably nervy affair, with reporters commenting on the ‘mediocre’ entertainment on offer.

Statistics don’t give a much better reading of the game, either, as just six out of 22 shots were on target, while both teams ended the afternoon with less than 1.0 in terms of expected goals (as per Sofascore).

But it was the hosts who prevailed, with Junior Firpo’s first top-flight goal in England sealing a massive three points for Leeds and new boss Javi Gracia, who ended his first match as Jesse Marsch’s successor with a win.

The Latest: Aaronson industrious but unimpressive

While it was notably a game low on quality, it does seem as though summer recruit Aaronson was particularly wasteful on the day.

It wasn’t for the want of trying on the 22-year-old’s part, with Leeds Live’s Beren Cross writing: “If anyone was going to unlock the away defence, it looked like it would be the American. It was [far] from a perfect performance, but on an afternoon of dreadful quality, he stood out for the dangerous pockets he found.”

However, it seems his limitations were exposed. In handing him a 6/10 rating for his performance, the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Graham Smyth noted: “Some promising moments in the first half. Got into clever positions. Too often too lightweight in challenges.”

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The Verdict: Only points should concern Gracia at Leeds

On one hand, Aaronson certainly has room for improvement following his display against the Saints. Indeed, he was hooked by Gracia after 75 minutes, just prior to Firpo’s winner.

According to Sofascore, the American lost the ball 19 times – only Luke Ayling did so more often; he also lost 12 of his 16 duels and was the only player on the pitch to be handed a rating of below 6/10 by the same site.

On the other hand, not much more will matter for Leeds than continuing to grind out victories – especially without playing particularly well against relegation rivals.

Their win over 20th-placed Southampton takes them out of the drop zone and four points clear of their opponents. And given how tight it is at the bottom – there are just seven points separating the bottom eight – the nature of how points are picked up is sure to be of secondary importance to Gracia and Leeds at this stage.

That said, you would imagine the Leeds fans would rather not go through too many more stressful weekends before the season is out, so it is on Aaronson and his teammates to keep improving as we approach the run-in.

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