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Leeds: Marsch’s unrelenting faith in Aaronson could cost him

Leeds United are back in action on Wednesday evening as they welcome Cardiff City to Elland Road, where a place in the FA Cup fourth round is up for grabs.

The two teams drew nearly two weeks again, with manager Jesse Marsch needing a stunning comeback from his side after they were two goals down by half-time.

A favourable clash with either League One outfit Accrington Stanley or non-league minnows Boreham Wood awaits, so it’s in the American’s best interests to end the Whites’ third-round hoodoo tonight.

It was his second-half substitutions that inspired the Premier League giants to earn a replay against the Championship side and with a full squad available – bar new signing Georginio Rutter – he has the freedom to deploy his strongest XI.

There may well be bigger fish to fry than a run in the FA Cup, given Friday’s 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa put them just two points above the relegation zone, but the former RB Leipzig boss will be under even more intense pressure if he were to lose to lower-league opposition.

If Marsch is not only wanting to win this encounter but also keep his role in the Elland Road dugout, then his blind and unrelenting faith in £25m summer signing Brenden Aaronson would be a good place to start.

Should Marsch axe Aaronson vs Cardiff?

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NO!

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His fellow countryman has struggled to replicate his early season form and as such, hardly warrants his place in the starting XI right now.

As a versatile attacking midfielder, often deployed as the no.10 or out on the right flank, the 22-year-old dynamo has provided just one direct goal contribution in his last 14 appearances, all of which have been starts. His other five outings at the start of the 2022/23 campaign drew double those returns, per Transfermarkt.

His downward spiral in influence and form is also highlighted by the fact that he has struggled to register a Sofascore rating above 6.8 since the 3-2 defeat to Fulham back in October.

In that run, he’s had some stinkers against West Ham United (5.9) – where pundit Jay Bothroyd described him as “sloppy” [Sky Sports News, 4th January, 20:51] – and the aforementioned Villa game (5.9) – where journalist Joe Donnohue claimed he “struggled.”

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He is currently the club-record signing...

Meanwhile, against the Bluebirds in the original tie, he struggled to do much in his 86 minutes on the pitch as he lost possession 14 times from 47 touches and he lost 56% of his duels up against a struggling second-tier outfit.

Despite all the negatives, Aaronson has still kept his place in the lineup every game and that’s a cause for concern because he’s simply not delivering on his hefty price tag.

Therefore, if Marsch wants to keep his job, he must make the bold call to ditch the American from his starting XI, starting with this evening’s FA Cup third-round replay against Cardiff.

AND in other news, Orta could replace Klich at Leeds by securing January move for “unbelievable” £25m maestro