Leeds United suffered a 1-0 defeat to Wolves in the Carabao Cup at Molineux on Wednesday as Jesse Marsch made 10 changes to the team that beat Bournemouth 4-3 – but according to the stats, Luke Ayling was the pick of the bunch.
Marsch fielded a side that included four senior debuts for Joel Robles, Darko Gyabi, Sonny Perkins and Mateo Joseph. A mix of youth and experience was named, with the likes of Luke Ayling and Diego Llorente partnering Leo Hjelde.
Mateusz Klich was alongside Gyabi in midfield. Despite a strong-looking Wolves side, Leeds dominated much of the game, boasting the best opportunities. The Whites had numerous chances in the first half, but for the Wolves defence.
Jack Harrison saw a deflected free-kick tipped round the post, a looping ball in the air was not headed in. Gyabi put Joseph through but he tried to cut inside, but tackled. Eventually, Wolves got a late winner through Boubacar Traore.
While the likes of Harrison, Gyabi, Perkins and Hjelde were impressive – the stats show Ayling was our best. WhoScored report he made five tackles (1st), five interceptions (1st), six of his eight long balls successful, and a rating of 7.26 (1st).
According to the stats, Ayling was the pick of the Leeds bunch
Captaining Leeds on Wednesday night, it was only Ayling’s second start of the campaign. Injury at the beginning of the season, but more damaging – in terms of his game time – has been the signing of Danish ace Rasmus Kristensen.
It has limited Ayling to substitute appearances in the Premier League. Still a Leeds icon and one of the leaders in the dressing room, but just being edged out of the side of late. For the young lads, it was a chance to shine in the firsts.
For Ayling, along with Junior Firpo, Llorente, Klich and even Harrison – it was a chance to remind Marsch of what they are capable of doing. But of all the Leeds players, £35k-a-week Ayling will have sent Marsch the strongest message.