Leeds United slipped to a third successive Premier League loss with defeat at home to Manchester City on Wednesday evening, with the visitors running out 3-1 winners courtesy of a typically clinical double from Erling Haaland.
While it may be hard to contend with a figure who now has 20 goals to his name in just 14 league appearances this season, the Elland Road outfit were no doubt architects of their own downfall at times, having conceded just moments before half-time after being exploited on the counter.
Pep Guardiola’s men were then gifted the opportunity to extend that lead after the break as Liam Cooper’s under-hit pass sparked a City breakaway, with the aforementioned Haaland duly converting following unselfish play from Jack Grealish.
The away side then bagged a third soon after to all but confirm the win, with a late strike from Pascal Struijk proving nothing more than a mere consolation as Jesse Marsch’s men were unable to mount what would have been a remarkable comeback.
On what was a frustrating night for the Whites, captain Cooper was a particular villain due to his shaky display in the backline, with the 31-year-old having won just three of his six total duels, while also recording a measly 5.5 match rating, as per Sofascore.
Although the Scotland international’s ‘horror pass‘ – as described by Leeds Live’s Beren Cross – may have been the most obvious blunder for the hosts, the centre-back was not the only one among his teammates to have wilted against the champions.
Summer signing Marc Roca was especially underwhelming in his midfield berth, with the Spaniard appearing to struggle amid the absence of the suspended Tyler Adams in the centre of the park.
The former Bayern Munich man was particularly ‘wasteful‘ against the Etihad outfit – as per 90min’s Michael Graham – having squandered possession on 18 occasions after regularly handing the ball back to the opposition.
That ensured that the 26-year-old recorded a pass accuracy of just 75% from his 57 touches in total, having also won just four of his ten ground duels and been dribbled past on two occasions as a marker of his struggles defensively.
That limp showing ultimately saw Roca record a match rating of just 6.1, as per Sofascore, with that figure the joint-second worst of any Leeds player on the day, illustrating just how ineffectual he truly was.
While the strength of the opposition may well have been a factor, it is hard to overlook what was a worryingly nervy display from the one-time Espanyol man last night, as he simply failed his manager.