While Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United side went into Tuesday evening’s Premier League fixture against table-topping Manchester City as huge underdogs with totalizators and in a poor run of form, as well as being in the midst of a major injury crisis, the 66-year-old manager would have in no way expected the final result shortly ahead of kick-off.
However, a dominant City performance saw Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Kevin De Bruyne (x2), Riyad Mahrez, John Stones and Nathan Ake seal a 7-0 win at the Etihad, a scoreline which leaves Bielsa’s side very much in danger of being dragged into a relegation fight come the turn of the year.
As is to be expected after such a result, there were practically no performances turned in by the Leeds players that warrant praise, while there were plenty who will be coming in for a bit of stick on Wednesday morning, with Jamie Shackleton, Raphinha and Diego Llorente all having evenings to forget – although no one will be more disappointed with their own display than Daniel James.
Once again being started in a central attacking position, having also done so in the 3-2 defeat Chelsea on Saturday, the 24-year-old was very much a passenger against Pep Guardiola’s side, failing to ever really hold up the ball effectively – something which often led to City being immediately on the attack once more.
Indeed, over the course of his 45 minutes on the pitch, the £16.2m-rated man enjoyed a mere 13 touches of the ball, completed just seven of his nine attempted passes, lost 100% of his duels and gave away possession of the ball on four occasions – meaning he lost the ball with every 3.3 touches.
As such, it is perhaps not surprising that Leeds Live journalist Beren Cross awarded the Wales international a score of two in his own player ratings, as well as stating of the 24-year-old’s performance: “Another match and another failed experiment in the striker’s role.”
Indeed, with James now having been largely absent in two outings at centre-forward, it is clear that the winger has failed his manager’s test up top – and it would certainly not be surprising were the £52k-per-week forward to lose his place to 19-year-old Joe Gelhardt when Arsenal visit Elland Road on Saturday.