Leeds United caretaker boss Michael Skubala has been handed some respite ahead of the Whites’ trip to arch-rivals Manchester United in the Premier League this evening…
What’s the latest?
The U21s head coach has been given the job on an interim basis following the sacking of Jesse Marsch on Monday. The American lasted less than a year in charge and the 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest sent him on his way.
The Yorkshire side have won just twice in the Premier League all season and now face the tough test of back-to-back matches against a resurgent and in-form Red Devils side.
But Erik ten Hag will be without some pretty key attackers in the form of Antony and Anthony Martial, whilst Casemiro begins his three-match ban, according to GOAL.
The Brazilian winger, who cost a whopping £85m in the summer, is the latest player to join the ever-growing treatment room at Old Trafford after he collided with advertising hoardings against Crystal Palace.
Big boost for Skubala
With just 48 hours with the team and perhaps even less time on the training pitch, Skubala will not have had enough time to present his own ideas and methods, so very little is expected to change in terms of tactics and team selection.
But for the opposition – who sit third in the standings before kickoff – to be without a trio of important stars is surely a source of encouragement.
Antony was their marquee signing in the summer, having worked with Ten Hag at Ajax in the past, where he scored 12 goals and laid on ten assists last season.
Whilst not a regular starter, he has shown glimpses of such form with three goals from 915 minutes of top-flight action.
Meanwhile, Martial has suffered from inconsistencies over the course of his United career but under the Dutchman, he’s looked pretty good when fit. Indeed, he’s bagged six goals from 14 appearances, averaging one strike every 120 minutes.
With Leeds’ leaky backline, the £58m star would have been sure to add to those return this evening. The Whites conceded 34 goals from their 20 outings under Marsch, which is the fifth-worst in the division.
Casemiro is possibly the biggest miss for Ten Hag and the Red Devils as he has arguably been their player of the season – so far.
After joining in a £70m deal from Real Madrid in the summer, the Brazil powerhouse currently ranks as their second-best performer per WhoScored ratings, with Antony and Martial also making up the top ten.
The 30-year-old defensive midfielder also leads the way for tackles (3.3 per game) and there are few who can replace his quality in the side – last season neither Fred nor Scott McTominay averaged more than 2.3 tackles per outing.
All in all, with United set to be without £213m worth of talent, it could be a good time for Leeds – who have no players valued above €30m (£26m) – to cause a major upset under the temporary control of Skubala, who’ll surely see this news as a major boost heading into tonight’s kickoff.
AND in other news, Skubala must ditch Leeds’ £50k-p/w “revelation” vs Utd tonight, he badly failed Marsch…