Brenden Aaronson is finding life at Leeds United a struggle right now, with Wednesday night’s outing in the 2-2 draw with West Ham United doing little to lift his spirits.
Leeds were looking to recover from Lucas Paqueta’s equalising penalty on the stroke of half-time, which had cancelled out Willy Gnonto’s opener, when Aaronson’s loose pass just 40 seconds into the second-half teed up Gianluca Scamacca to finish from range.
The USMNT youngster’s head dropped instantly and Tyler Adams’ play to tell him to shake it off was quite noticeable in the ground. Leeds responded through Rodrigo and secured a 2-2 draw, yet Aaronson’s current form is a major concern for Jesse Marsch.
He’s registered just a single goal involvement in his last 12 Premier League appearances, despite starting every one of those fixtures and playing 90 minutes on seven occasions.
The 22-year-old’s only goal of the season came in Leeds’ 3-0 win over Chelsea back in August and was a simple finish into an open goal, albeit after some very good pressing. That pressing and out-of-possession work feels like the only thing keeping Aaronson in the team right now, as Marsch looks for a way to carry Rodrigo in his attack when Leeds are working without the ball.
Wednesday night’s draw with West Ham was another flat attacking performance from the £25m summer signing, who registered just a single off-target shot – one that he should’ve done better with – and failed to create a shooting opportunity for a teammate.
As per Wyscout, there were no attempted or completed crosses, whilst only 41% (18/44) of Aaronson’s overall actions were successful. He had a single touch in the penalty area and, despite completing two dribbles, found himself dipping well below his average of 4.2 per 90 over 22/23.
Only 50% of his passes into the final third were accurate, whilst he failed to find a teammate when progressing possession into the penalty area.
The big updated Brenden Aaronson quiz – Can Leeds United fans score 20/20?
There was some good work out of possession as there tends to be with the American, who made a pair of recoveries and a pair of interceptions, albeit with his season average when it comes to the former (4.24 per 90) again dipping.
Disappointingly, Aaronson lost possession on 14 occasions, including a season-high six in his own half. One of those led to West Ham taking a 46th minute lead through Scamacca and visibly drained confidence from Marsch’s midfielder.
Aaronson has, so far this season, started every Premier League fixture Leeds have played. His performances, though, have been drifting for a while now and last night was an accumulation of that struggle.
Perhaps it is time for Marsch to take Aaronson out of the limelight for a while, leaning on his pace to impact games from the bench whilst others like Gnonto, Crysencio Summerville and Rodrigo thrive.