Leeds United‘s final game before the World Cup break ended in bitter disappointment, as the Yorkshire side squandered a promising position late on to fall to a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur in what was a barnstorming contest on Saturday afternoon.
That meeting in north London had seen the visitors surge ahead through the man of the moment, Crysencio Summerville – who netted for the fourth Premier League game running – before England skipper Harry Kane lashed home an equaliser following a highly contentious VAR call regarding a potential foul on Illan Meslier.
A Rodrigo double, either side of a scrappy Ben Davies strike, did see the Whites take on a 3-2 lead heading into the closing stages and ensure the Spaniard now has five goals in his last four top-flight games, only for a quickfire Rodrigo Bentancur brace to spoil the party.
The visitors’ woes were then compounded as Tyler Adams was forced to take an early bath after receiving his marching orders for two bookable offences, with the USA international heading off to Qatar on something of a sour note.
The summer signing was certainly not the main culprit in the eventual defeat, however, with captain Liam Cooper having arguably endured a far more miserable time of it in the capital, having played his part in a handful of Spurs’ goals on the day.
The Scotland international notably produced a misguided headed clearance to tee up the aforementioned Bentancur for the Uruguayan’s first goal, while then being dragged out of position by opposition forward Kane in the build-up to the hosts’ decisive fourth goal.
As journalist Beren Cross noted, the backline is an area that “needs work” before Premier League action resumes at the end of December, with Cooper no doubt one of those in dire need of improvement, having also been part of the side that shipped three against Bournemouth a week ago.
The 31-year-old – who won just three of his five ground duels – also proved something of a liability on the ball after losing possession seven times from his 55 touches, with his match rating of 6.3, as per SofaScore, the third-worst of any of his teammates.
Such was the dismal nature of his performance, one source suggested that manager Jesse Marsch “should be sacked” for his insistence on picking Cooper on a weekly basis, with the defence having routinely been an issue for the club despite their brilliance in attack, having shipped 26 goals already this season.
Amid rumours earlier today that Marsch could well still be facing the axe despite a recent upturn in fortunes, the American could well have done without such an awful showing from his skipper.