Leeds U21s emerged 4-2 victors from an encounter with Newcastle U21s at Thorp Arch this afternoon, a win which maintains their unbeaten start to their Premier League 2 Division 2 season.
The squad now sit firmly at the top of the league table, six points ahead of second place Southampton, after acquiring 25 points from 9 matches played. This positive result will maintain forward momentum as the side now face a lengthy international break, with their next game coming against Nottingham Forest U21s in early January.
Despite Leeds taking the lead in the match’s first minute through a header from centre-back Kristan Moore, Newcastle quickly hit back with an equaliser six minutes later which saw the teams go in level at the break.
Leeds’ three points were secured by an impressive second-half performance by Max Dean, who scored a hat-trick in less than twenty minutes.
Whilst the win itself is important, so too is what the composition of the match-day squad indicates about how Leeds’ senior side will line up against Wolverhampton Wanderers in their EFL Cup fixture at Molineux on Wednesday.
As right-back Cody Drameh and forward Sonny Perkins both featured today, in the starting line-up and as a substitute respectively, it is unlikely either will be present in Marsch’s squad.
After strong performances against Bournemouth at the weekend it is likely that Sam Greenwood, Wilfried Gnonto and Crysencio Summerville are being rested, with the probability of them appearing against Wolves currently being unknown.
The omission of strikers Joe Gelhardt and Mateo Joseph from the squad facing Newcastle provides Marsch with options up front should he wish to drop Rodrigo, either to experiment with starting a different forward or to set an example after Rodrigo’s petulant outburst when substituted against Bournemouth.
One of the most notable absences in today’s starting XI was that of midfielder Darko Gyabi, with this being the only game he has missed all season. Could this signal a potential first-team start for him on Wednesday?
While Leeds United’s record in cup competitions is less than stellar, it would be great to see them progress relatively far this season. Marsch therefore has a decision to make: does he attempt to maintain momentum by fielding the squad who have won their last two games in the Premier League, or instead seize the opportunity to test the abilities of players such as Joseph and Gyabi at a higher level?
The choice, thankfully, is his to consider; with all being revealed when the team news is released on Wednesday evening.