Leeds: Cooper was Marsch’s hero vs NUFC

Leeds United have taken a point from their Premier League clash with Newcastle United at St James’ Park this afternoon and Jesse Marsch will surely be delighted with the resilience his team displayed over their performance.

The Yorkshire club end their year in 14th position in the top flight now three points clear of the relegation zone after holding Eddie Howe’s phenomenally in-form side to a stalemate away from home.

Despite having just 41% possession of the ball, fewer shots on goal (eight v 16), fewer big chances created (0 v seven) and fewer accurate passes completed (190 v 321), Leeds put on an incredible defensive performance they can be proud of heading into the new year.

In the first half, the two teams matched each other for possession (50%) and whilst uneventful in terms of affecting the score-line there were 15 shots on goal combined between the opponents proving how open the game was going into the last 45 minutes.

In the second half, it was much of the same with neither team able to convert their chances and frustrations began to unfold which led to a number of bookings with Wilfried Gnonto, Marc Roca, Callum Wilson, Illan Meslier and Bruno Guimaraes picking up yellow cards in the tight clash before the final whistle was blown after four minutes of extra-time.

All credit is due to the defensive performances of the back-line with Leeds captain Liam Cooper a stand-out performer leading by example and Marsch’s hero in the goalless draw.

Over his 90-minute performance, the 31-year-old star – who was hailed “formidable” by Leeds writer Beren Cross – won 87.5% of his duels, made a whopping six clearances, three interceptions and won four tackles to prevent Newcastle from stealing all three points.

Alongside Meslier, Cooper earned an eight out of ten performance rating from Leeds Live and was lauded for ‘pocketing’ both Chris Wood and Wilson when the England striker made his substitution appearance.

Was Cooper Leeds United’s MOTM?

Yes

Yes

No

No

With that being said, there is no doubt that the draw with Newcastle will be a great confidence booster for Leeds as they head into 2023 and widening the gap between themselves and the relegation zone will surely take some pressure off Marsch in the upcoming fixtures.