Leeds United Latest Injury Provides Opportunity for Two Right-Backs

Jesse Marsch embraces Luke Ayling. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Jesse Marsch embraces Luke Ayling. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /

Leeds United suffered the most lopsided defeat of the season on Saturday at the hand of Brentford. Despite the resiliency of the squad, Brentford continued to pull ahead by two goals.

The starting lineup was slightly different from the prior matches. Jesse Marsch started Cody Drameh at right-back in place of new signing, Rasmus Kristensen. It was later revealed that Kristensen suffered an injury and would not only miss the Brentford match but another three weeks.

Luke Ayling made his season debut on the bench to start. Later in the match, Ayling came on and quickly provided some pressure up the pitch.

Opportunity within Leeds United

With the news of Kristensen being sidelined for up to three weeks, Drameh and Ayling have a big opportunity to force more playing time. Kristensen has not had the best start to his career with Leeds but was starting to show signs of improvement. A scuffle in the Everton match catapulted Kristensen’s intensity and level of play.

Kristensen later made a goal-saving block to the head late in the match. Drameh left Leeds on loan last January to pursue more consistent playing time. The transfer proved to be worth the risk as he quickly became a mainstay in the Cardiff City lineup.

After 22 appearances, Drameh earned the Player of the Season & Young Player of the Season. The change in managers brought new hope to Drameh’s chances of starting at right-back this term until the signing of Kristensen. After just his second Premier League appearance, he may have a chance to show his skills at the highest level of competition.

Ayling had a rough campaign as did most of Leeds last season. He went under the knife in the summer and was delayed participating in full training.

Despite the longer timetable, he was able to get back quicker than expected. His appearance this weekend was a pleasant surprise. His style of play can bring a missing piece to Marsch’s attack. With the extended injury to Kristensen, Ayling also has a great opportunity to take back his position.

It is unfortunate timing as the Englishman is still in need of minutes to build back his endurance and be able to last the full 90 minutes. There is no doubt that he could make a positive impact on this team.

The team has lacked the offensive push and creativity from the fullback position all season. Ayling can push the ball forward and delivers many crosses into the box. This great opportunity will be shared by the two right-backs as Drameh is available to play more minutes, but Ayling can provide more quality play.

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Either way, the squad was built in a better way to prepare for injury than in prior seasons.