Pre-Match, Post-Match

2 Leeds United players who badly let Javi Gracia down in 4-1 defeat to Arsenal

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Leeds United fell two places in the Premier League table to 16th after a 4-1 defeat to Arsenal at The Emirates on Saturday afternoon.

The Whites competed well in the opening half-an-hour but were 1-0 down at half-time after Luke Ayling inexplicably tripped Gabriel Jesus in the box, and the Brazilian dispatched the resulting penalty.

Former Leeds defender and promotion winning hero Ben White quickly made it 2-0 in the second half, before Jesus notched his second of the game to put the match out of the reach of the visitors.

Rasmus Kristensen’s deflected strike from the edge of the box gave Javi Gracia‘s side a glimmer of hope but that didn’t last for long as Granit Xhaka headed home a fourth for the Gunners late on.

Who are TWO players who badly let Gracia down in the defeat to Arsenal? We take a look, here.

Luke Ayling

LEEDS, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 23: Luke Ayling of Leeds United acknowledges the fans following the Premier League match between Leeds United and Fulham FC at Elland Road on October 23, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

The 31-year-old has struggled for a few games now, and Arsenal particularly highlighted his deficiencies as a defender.

He lacks the speed and athleticism to deal with someone like Gabriel Martinelli, who had him in the palm of his hand for the entire game. Martinelli time and time again had the beating of him, and Ayling couldn’t live with the directness and pace. The threat was constantly down the left side for Arsenal.

The penalty was unforgivable, In a situation where he didn’t have to commit, he did. Ayling also was at fault for Xhaka’s goal in allowing him to climb and head home. He was weak all game for Gracia and may need to be considered for a dropping to the bench soon, if this recent form continues.

The big updated Luke Ayling quiz – Can Leeds United fans score 20/20?

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Did Ayling make any senior appearances for Arsenal?

Pascal Struijk

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 08: Pascal Struijk of Leeds United applauds their fans after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leeds United at Old Trafford on February 08, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Another player who was caught sleeping was Struijk, who had a strong start to the campaign but has played poorly since the turn of the year.

The Dutchman had been dropped for Max Wöber, who had taken over the left-centre-back position, whilst Junior Firpo claimed the left-back spot. Struijk started his first game since February 8th against Manchester United, in the absence of Wöber.

He looked rusty and switched off multiple times at key moments. The warning signs were early on in the game, too. Jesus headed over when Struijk was supposed to be marking him. However, he did not learn from that let-off, with Jesus giving him and the Leeds defenders a torrid time, and the Whites capitulating badly in the second half.

What is Struijk's best position?

Centre back

Centre back

Left back

Left back

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