Leeds United FC

Luke Ayling backs Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier after Arsenal defeat

Jude Summerfield
Feb 14, 2021, 8:00 PM GMT
Meslier struggled during the defeat at Arsenal
Meslier struggled during the defeat at Arsenal | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images
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Leeds defender Luke Ayling has backed goalkeeper Illan Meslier to come back stronger after his mistake-ridden showing during the 4-2 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday.

20-year-old Meslier looked rushed and hurried throughout the encounter at the Emirates and was beaten twice at his near post while also conceding a penalty for an awful tangle with Bukayo Saka.

Marcelo Bielsa's side did make a fist of a comeback during the second half having been four goals down shortly after half time, with Pascal Struijk and Helder Costa striking to reduce the deficit during the second period.

However, the damage had been done as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his first Premier League hat trick and Hector Bellerin netted another.

The penalty came as Meslier dallied on the ball, allowing Saka to nip in before he was brought down by the goalkeeper.

Mellier couldn't stop Aubameyang's penalty
Mellier couldn't stop Aubameyang's penalty | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Speaking after the game, Ayling defended the shot stopper, citing his previous performances for Leeds so far this season.

"He's still a very young lad, he's only 20 and playing Premier League football," Ayling told beIN SPORTS.

"He'll learn from it. He's been brilliant for us this season, the gaffer has put a lot of faith in him to play out from the back and days like that might happen, but it's about how you bounce back from that and I'm sure he will bounce back from it."

Meslier has featured in all but one of Leeds' 23 Premier League games so far this season and has conceded 41 goals, with Leeds' approach often leaving them short at the back. However, they have delivered some scintillating attacking displays to go along with the howlers, leaving them 11th in the top flight and only two points behind the Gunners.

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