Luke Ayling fails to impress in Leeds’ huge victory
Leeds United picked up a huge three points this weekend, but Luke Ayling was far from a standout performer at Molineux, according to journalist Beren Cross.
The Lowdown: Leeds pick up a big three points
Javi Gracia was looking for what would be just his second win as Leeds manager since replacing Jesse Marsch and he certainly got that away to Wolves – although the Whites certainly came close to throwing it away.
The Whites raced into a 3-0 lead at Molineux on Saturday afternoon thanks to goals from Jack Harrison, Ayling and Rasmus Kristensen, with the latter netting for the first time as a Leeds player.
Despite getting on the scoresheet for the first time this season, it was Ayling’s defensive woes that caught the eye of many at the match, including the likes of Cross and The Athletic’s Phil Hay, who noticed Daniel Podence was giving the defender a torrid time of things, while Ayling also struggled for composure on the ball, completing just 39% of his passes (Sofascore).
The Latest: Ayling’s defensive qualities questioned
Prior to Ayling finding the back of the net and doubling Leeds’ lead at Molineux, Cross was far from impressed by what he was seeing from the veteran defender as he and teammate Jack Harrison struggled to cope with Podence.
He said: “Ayling and Harrison being ripped to shreds by Jonny and Podence down United’s right. Hosts are getting through down that side every time. Leeds need far more composure in the rare moments they’re getting the ball too. Roca and McKennie not retaining anything.”
The Verdict: Gracia will be concerned
While seeing a defender score is always a positive and a bit of a novelty, their bread and butter must be at the other end of the pitch, which is something Ayling certainly didn’t do today being part of a side that shipped a couple of goals.
Leeds will be thanking their lucky stars that Wolves weren’t able to capitalise and complete their comeback, which was also largely down to the fact goalscorer Jonny was sent off for serious foul play.
That tackle was on Ayling, so the defender was involved in all sorts of incidents, but it could be time for Leeds to turn away from the ageing full-back, as he’s clearly struggling to cope with younger, more electric wingers such as today against Podence.