Why the next month is crucial for Jesse Marsch

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Following Leeds United’s 5-2 drubbing of Cardiff City in the recent FA Cup Third Round Replay, Jesse Marsch made the headlines as he spoke to the press after the game. The American manager took exception to a recent newspaper report claiming that he had lost the dressing room. But after a run of five Premier League games without a win, oddschecker, which compares football odds and free offers, now makes The Whites one of the favourites for relegation this season. 

And why wouldn’t they be? The Elland Road club only managed to avoid relegation by the skin of their teeth last season, with Jack Harrison’s last-gasp winner at Brentford ensuring that Burnley fell through the trap door at their expense. Speaking after the recent Cardiff victory, Marsch said: “This report that comes out, the BS that some of the players are against me, is awful. It’s just awful. We’re united, we’re together, we’re doing everything we can as a group.” That’s certainly fighting talk from the former Salzburg and Leipzig boss, and for his sake, he better hope that the players are certainly on his side. 

The Next Month

The fact remains that the next month is crucial for Jesse Marsch’s tenure in West Yorkshire. His side faces fellow relegation strugglers Nottingham Forest at the City Ground at the start of February. Two weeks later they travel to Goodison Park to face Frank Lampard’s relegation candidates, Everton. Then Southampton – who are currently sitting at the foot of the Premier League table – make the long journey north on February 25th. 

Sandwiched between those crucial fixtures is the visit of Manchester United to Elland Road. And while the Red Devils are in the form of their lives at the moment, form tends to go out of the window when this pair of rivals face off. Who can forget when Leeds were a third-tier side and Manchester United were the champions of England back in 2010? The pair met in the third round of the FA Cup at Old Trafford, and it was the League One Leeds that managed to pick up a 1-0 victory thanks to Jermaine Beckford’s heroics. Should Jesse Marsch’s side manage to pick up the victory over Erik Ten Hag’s revitalised United, it wouldn’t be as big of a shock as the one delivered by Simon Grayson 12 years ago, but it would certainly be a coupon buster up and down the country. 

Another Difficult Run In 

Last season, Leeds almost faced the axe courtesy of a horrifying end to the Premier League campaign. In three of the final five weeks of the season, Marsch’s men faced Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea back-to-back. They duly lost all three matches, results which left the club teetering on the brink. Four points in their last two games – including a last-minute equaliser against Brighton in the penultimate game of the season and a last-minute winner at Brentford on the final day was enough to secure the club’s top-flight status, but barely. 

This season, Leeds have a similar run-in, albeit not quite as challenging. In the final four weeks of the campaign, they will face Manchester City at the Etihad, before hosting Champions League-chasing Newcastle United at Elland Road the following week. They will then head to East London to face West Ham United in what is shaping up to be a relegation six-pointer, before finishing off the campaign with Tottenham Hotspur at home. 

With a run-in like that, it’s crucial that Leeds can get as many points on the board as early as possible. Should the club be able to pick up victories over their relegation clashes in the next month, that may ease their fears. But if the worst happens and the club are handed a string of defeats, then it could be Jesse Marsch’s head that is on the chopping block – whether he has the support of the dressing room or not. 

Photo by Unsplash

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