Jesse Marsch's worst defeats as Leeds manager
Leeds have sacked Jesse Marsch less than a year after choosing him as the man to replace Marcelo Bielsa at the Elland Road helm.
The decision from the club hierarchy follows a few months of poor results, with Leeds win-less in the Premier League since before the World Cup break began in November.
That run of form has left them 17th in table, out of the relegation zone on goal difference alone.
Marsch steered Leeds awa from relegation last season, but failure to impart lasting improvement on a team that had already been on a downward trajectory under his predecessor was never going to keep him in the job for the long-term.
Leeds 0-4 Man City, 30 April 2022
Since returning to the Premier League in 2020, Leeds were always massive underdogs against Manchester City, so few would ever have expected to take anything from games against Pep Guardiola’s team of world beaters.
However, this was literally the biggest margin of defeat during Marsch’s tenure.
It actually came off the back of a run of games during which Leeds had taken 11 points from possible 15, which was ultimately responsible for keeping them in the Premier League.
In fairness, despite conceding early, they remained in this game until early in the second half and it was only a couple of late goals that really racked up the goals for Manchester City.
Still, the biggest defeat, regardless of the opponent, is still a bad result.
Brentford 5-2 Leeds, 3 September 2022
From biggest margin of victory to most goals conceded with Marsch in charge.
Although scoring twice themselves, Leeds were hit for five Brentford in September. Defensive resilience proved a significant problem throughout Marsch’s reign, albeit one that wasn’t exclusively his given how open the team often were under Bielsa before.
Leeds managed only six clean sheets 32 Premier League games under Marsch.
An Ivan Toney hat-trick was the difference here.
Leicester 2-0 Leeds, 20 October 2022
After what had generally been a positive first month of the season, Leeds were starting to really slide down the table by the time they visited Leicester in October.
At that stage, the Foxes had only recently won their first game of the campaign but were still in the bottom three and hadn’t kicked on from that sole victory over Nottingham Forest.
This was therefore an opportunity for Leeds to claim an important win in what could probably have been deemed an early ‘six pointer’ near the bottom.
In the end, Leicester had the result sewn up in the first half due to a Robin Koch own goal and one from Harvey Barnes inside 35 minutes. In reality, the Foxes only had one shot on target and saw less of the ball. So how did Leeds actually lose?
Leeds 2-3 Fulham, 23 October 2022
Ignore for a moment that Fulham are having an outstanding 2022/23 season. Losing at home against a newly promoted team is always unacceptable for any Premier League club.
It is also worth noting that when this game was played, Fulham were doing just okay rather than flying as high as they later would due to four successive wins after the World Cup.
Defensive frailties were again to blame for Leeds. They even scored first through Rodrigo in the first half, before conceding three without reply. By the time Crysencio Summerville pulled one back in stoppage it was already too late.
Tottenham 4-3 Leeds, 12 November 2022
By November, the goals were still flying in at both ends for Leeds, but at least in their favour with back-to-back wins over Liverpool and Bournemouth that did plenty to relieve some pressure on Marsch after failing to pick any league wins since August.
That momentum appeared to be carrying them to a third win and what would have been an impressive result away at Tottenham. Despite conceding twice, goals from Summerville and Rodrigo (2) had Leeds 3-2 ahead in the final stages.
Then it fell apart. A quick fire double from Rodrigo Bentancur near the end not only cost them two invaluable points, but all three.
Aston Villa 2-1 Leeds, 13 January 2023
A 2-1 defeat against Aston Villa isn’t particularly dramatic on the face of it. Until you consider that Marsch considered this game the ‘most complete performance’ he had seen from his players since arriving at Elland Road just under 11 months earlier.
It had taken the best part of a year to reach a point where his team were…still losing.
Villa saw more of the ball that day and had more shots on target too. Leeds probably deserved more from the game, but if conceding was what again let them down, how much did they actually deserve in reality?
Nottingham Forest 1-0 Leeds, 5 February 2023
The final straw came at the City Ground. This was to be Marsch’s final game as Leeds boss, a ‘six pointer’ that could have prolled them level with Nottingham Forest and Leicester, above Wolves and out of immediate danger.
Instead, it gave Forest the chance to pull further towards mid-table and left Leeds precariously above the bottom three, kept in the safety of 17th place on goal difference alone.
The board could take no more and Marsch’s exit was confirmed the next day.