Leeds United suffered their first defeat of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign on Saturday afternoon, with Jesse Marsch’s men succumbing to a 1-0 loss at the hands of an impressive Brighton & Hove Albion side.
Indeed, while it is true that Graham Potter’s outfit – who are currently sitting behind Manchester City on goal difference alone at the top of the table – look to be an incredibly well-drilled and efficient team this season, it is undeniable that the Whites were simply not good enough for large spells of the 90 minutes at the Amex Stadium.
In defence, Pascal Struijk very much looked like a centre-back being played out of position on the left – which, of course, he is – in midfield, Brenden Aaronson struggled to make any meaningful impact on the game over his 82 minutes in the middle of the park, while out wide Daniel James once again offered his side very little going forwards.
While both Struijk and Aaronson will certainly look to put their respective performances against the Seagulls behind them as quickly as possible, it will undoubtedly be James who is the most disappointed of all Leeds players with his display on Saturday afternoon.
Indeed, over the course of his 59 minutes on the pitch, the £16.2m-rated forward enjoyed just 23 touches of the ball – exactly half of the amount that Illan Meslier had between the sticks – completed a mere seven of his 11 attempted passes and managed no shots at the Brighton goal.
The £50k-per-week Wales international also failed with his one attempted cross and one attempted long ball, was dribbled past by an opponent once and lost possession of the ball six times.
These returns saw the 24-year-old earn a disappointing SofaScore match rating of 6.9, while Leeds Live journalist Beren Cross awarded the winger a four in his own player ratings, stating of James’ performance: “Some decent pressing, but threat to Brighton was non-existent.”
Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly interested in a £20m move for the forward over the final few days of the summer transfer window. Considering just how poor James was today, coupled with how disappointing the former Manchester United man was last season, the argument that Victor Orta simply must cash in on the Welshman while the interest is there seems easy one to make.