Champion League

£12m signing just had fewer touches than Illan Meslier

Leeds United were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw last night in the Championship, as they pushed and pushed but could not breach the steadfast defence of Hull City.

There were a number of standouts from what was ultimately a rather dull encounter at the MKM Arena, whether it be for good or bad. Joe Rodon is one obvious example.

Why was Joe Rodon sent off against Hull?

Rodon left Daniel Farke in the lurch after his two bookable offences saw him dismissed after just 60 minutes. The first seemed to be a questionable caution, as he was caught tussling with a player before he was then sent for an early bath after a high challenge on Aaron Connolly.

Meanwhile, Georginio Rutter had a tough game in front of goal, failing to build upon the fine foundation he had laid after bagging just his second goal for the club last weekend against Millwall.

Although it is a game they will feel they should have won, having amassed 1.49 expected goals to their opponent’s 1.01 and raining down 17 shots, the Tigers actually controlled the bulk of possession despite failing to register a shot on Illan Meslier’s goal, via Sofascore.


It was a fine defensive showing, but a less-than-impressive outing for the forwards, who were profligate throughout and ultimately let the side down.

Joel Piroe, as the frontman and spearhead of that attacking unit, must therefore shoulder the bulk of the blame.

How did Joel Piroe play vs Hull City?

Decidedly invisible throughout, even when the £12m Dutchman did get involved it seldom worked out as he partnered Rutter in the strike force.

Although the Frenchman too failed to find the winning goal, his creativity helped push the Whites forward on numerous occasions, seldom rewarded for trying something different. As such, his 58% pass accuracy is a tad unfair, given it is balanced by the three key passes he recorded, as per Sofascore.

Meanwhile, the former Swansea City man seemed to hide when he was needed most, completing just 28 touches. For comparison, Meslier in the Leeds net enjoyed more possession (57 touches) and completed far more passes (17 v 36). Daming numbers indeed.

Farke, clearly incensed with the lack of activity his star forward was providing, even hooked him after just 63 minutes in order to rearrange following the red card.

What made matters worse was that, despite Piroe’s side struggling for the ball, he failed to put the effort in to lead their press too. As such, the summer signing would not record a single tackle, clearance, block or interception, winning only two of the five duels he competed in.

Journalist James Murray would echo this sentiment in his post-match player ratings, handing Piroe a woeful 4/10. For context, the red-carded Rodon only managed one less at a 3/10: “Piroe was pretty anonymous in the first half, with his only opportunity coming when the ball bounced around the area and he snatched at a chance.

“He didn’t have much impact in the second half either, as it’s hard to really remember him doing much of anything before being taken off following the Rodon red card.”

To have less involvement than the goalkeeper is a searing indictment of a torrid night’s work, which Farke will seek to rectify this weekend. Piroe was not bought just for his goals, but also to lead their attack with energy and creativity. Both were severely lacking tonight, and it showed.



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