The Ides of Jesse Marsch – Can he stop Leeds’ slide?

From El Loco to Jesse Marsch, Leeds’ new American manager has big shoes to fill after replacing Marcelo Bielsa, earlier this week.

The former FC Salzburg and RB Leipzig manager must stop Leeds from falling into the relegation battle. The club earned only one point from its last six matches, conceding 21 times, and scoring five times. It failed to score in four of those six matches.

In that time, the Yorkshire club has plummeted to 16th in the Premier League, two points and two spots above the relegation zone.

It has 23 points from 26 matches, one ahead of Everton, which has played two games less.

Burnley is on 21 points from 25 games. In the bottom two, and looking doomed to relegation are Watford on 19, and Norwich, on 17 points. Both have played 26 games.

Although Bielsa left on a losing streak, Leeds fans still respect him. There was widespread mourning at his departure as the fans appreciated his efforts in turning the sleeping giant back into a Premier League outfit.

A long injury list hindered Bielsa and could be a stumbling block for Marsch.

Three Malaysian Leeds fans are confident the Princeton graduate can help turn things around as four of the club’s next six opponents are in the bottom half of the table.

It plays 12-placed Leicester tomorrow (8.30pm), followed by Aston Villa (13th), Norwich (20th), Wolves (eighth), Southampton (ninth) and Watford (19th).

Dir Kheizmein Kamaruddin said Bielsa leaving “was the worst Monday Blues”.

“Bielsa brought us back to the ‘Promised Land’ with humbleness, devotion, principles, transparency and tactics that Leeds fans had never seen before,” said the Leeds United Supporters Club Malaysia (LUSCM) secretary.

“From transforming a mid-table Championship team, to shopping in Morrisons (Supermarket) in his Leeds sweater, Bielsa will always be a legendary manager, on a par with Don Revie and Howard Wilkinson.”

Kheizmein added Marsch should fit in nicely as he is as attack-minded as Bielsa.

“He is a good motivational speaker, rotates his team a lot and gives young players the chance to shine.

“We need to stand by the new manager. The Leeds anthem is Marching On Together. Perhaps, now, it should be ‘Marsching’ On Together.”

LUSCM president Sidek Ahmad agreed with Kheizmein.

“Appointing Marsch is a calculated move by the board as there were talks that Bielsa would leave at the end of the season as he felt he could not improve the squad further,” said Sidek.

“The parting was too soon. Bielsa deserved a proper farewell for all he did for the club.

“Marsch is young, hungry for success and not as rigid with his football philosophy. I hope to see an exciting style of play. I hope for the best for the rest of the season.”

Nicolas Anil, a member of LUSCM, said Bielsa was treasured by the fans, but looked forward to Marsch’s reign.

“The best way to honour Bielsa is for the players to fight to keep Leeds in the Premier League,” said Anil.

“The next three games are winnable. Marsch has to get the players to believe in themselves again.”

FIXTURES (Malaysian time)
SATURDAY

Leicester vs Leeds (8.30pm)
Burnley vs Chelsea (11pm)
Aston Villa vs Southampton (11pm)
Norwich vs Brentford (11pm)
Newcastle vs Brighton (11pm)
Wolves vs Crystal Palace (11pm)

SUNDAY

Liverpool vs West Ham (1.30am)
Watford vs Arsenal (10pm)

MONDAY

Manchester City vs Manchester United (12.30am)

TUESDAY

Tottenham vs Everton (4am)