Jesse Marsch: What went wrong at Leeds?

Jesse Marsch was given his marching orders on Monday
Jesse Marsch was given his marching orders on Monday / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Another one bites the dust. Leeds have opted to part ways with manager Jesse Marsch after the American oversaw a 1-0 defeat at the City Ground on Sunday afternoon.

Marsch's side had gone six games without a Premier League win heading into the weekend's clash and Nottingham Forest's triumph proved to be the final straw.

While Marsch admirably led Leeds to safety last season following the conclusion of Marcelo Bielsa's tenure, he leaves the club in a similarly ominous position less than a year on. Leeds currently sit 17th in the table and are only outside of the relegation zone due to their superior goal difference over Everton.

A change was required, but where did it go wrong for Marsch at Elland Road?

Raphinha's departure

Brazilian winger Raphinha proved to be a revelation in the Premier League after joining from Rennes in 2020. He excelled under Bielsa before playing a key role in Leeds' survival with Marsch at the helm. Raphinha scored 11 times last season, including on the final day against Brentford, to ensure his side remained in the top flight.

However, his exceptional campaign rendered a summer exit inevitable. Europe's elite circled, but after Arsenal were priced out of a move, Barcelona swooped. Leeds garnered £55m for his sale and the club quickly went in search of finding a replacement.

Several wingers were brought in last summer with Luis Sinisterra, Brenden Aaronson and Wilfried Gnonto joining the club, but Raphinha's absence has loomed large. While the aforementioned trio of arrivals have each enjoyed bright spells this term, especially Gnonto, they've scored just four Premier League goals between them.

Overall, Leeds' ability to wreak havoc in wide areas has been reduced following Raphinha's departure.

Hard luck

There's no denying Marsch has been a bit unlucky. His Leeds side have, in general, been a rather exciting watch and there have been several occasions when impressive performances didn't garner the points reward they deserved.

According to Understat, Leeds should have accumulated 25.87 points this season and be sitting in a much more comfortable 12th place. That's based off the xG and xGA they've notched in each of their outings in 2022/23.

There are a couple of games that stand out for being occasions where Leeds were particularly unfortunate. They doubled Aston Villa's xG in their 2-1 defeat at Villa Park in January and Marsch's side should've claimed at least a point against Arsenal last October - Patrick Bamford missed a penalty in the 1-0 defeat.

Such defeats piled the pressure on Marsch, who needed to turn Leeds' fortunes around sharpish as they made the short trip to Nottingham on Sunday. Fittingly, the visitors impressed in defeat.

Poor defensive record

At no point since Leeds' return to the Premier League have they been remotely solid in defence. Not under Bielsa and certainly not under Marsch.

Bournemouth comfortably have the worst defensive record so far in the Premier League this season with 43 goals conceded. The only other sides to let more in than Leeds are Southampton, Leicester and Nottingham Forest.

There have also been a collection of calamitous defensive performances throughout the season, including a 5-2 loss to Brentford and a 4-3 defeat to Tottenham when they held the lead on three separate occasions.