Weston McKennie anonymous again in second start under Sam Allardyce but Leeds earn much-needed draw vs Newcastle

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Weston McKennie Leeds 2023
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Weston McKennie retained his spot in Leeds' starting XI but failed to have a significant impact as the hosts held Newcastle to a 2-2 draw.
  • Started second game in a row
  • Played the full 90 minutes
  • Compatriot Aaronson benched

WHAT HAPPENED? After losing 2-1 away against Manchester City last time out, manager Sam Allardyce picked the American for his first home game in charge. It was another show of faith in the 24-year-old who hasn't been in great form of late, with his loan spell even being dubbed "a failure" by U.S. pundit Alexi Lalas. International teammate Brenden Aaronson, meanwhile, started on the bench for the second game running under his new head coach, having played 10 minutes last weekend.

In what was a thrilling encounter, Luke Ayling put the home team ahead early on before Patrick Bamford then missed a penalty. To make matters worse, Newcastle then scored their own spot-kick just moments later through Callum Wilson, who repeated that trick in the second half to put the Magpies ahead. Rasmus Kristensen made it 2-2 thanks to a big deflection off Kieran Trippier and that was enough to see things end all square – taking Leeds up to 18th in the table, one point above Leicester who play on Monday night.

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Leeds starting XI: Robles, Kristensen, Wober, Firpo, Ayling, Koch, Greenwood, McKennie, Harrison, Rodrigo, Bamford.

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Subs: Meslier, Struijk, Georginio, Forshaw, Summerville, Gray, Aaronson, Roca, Gnonto.

Newcastle United starting XI: Pope, Schar, Botman, Trippier, Burn, Guimaraes, Willock, Joelinton, Almiron, Wilson, Isak

Subs: Dubravka, Lewis, Manquillo, Dummet, Anderson, Murphy, Targett, Saint-Maximin, Gordon

HOW DID MCKENNIE GET ON? Without doing anything particularly terrible, McKennie wasn't able to have a huge impact as the game mostly passed him by. Indeed, he attempted 21 passes - completing 15 of them - which was fewer than Robin Koch, who also started in midfield. The Juventus loanee won just one tackle over the course of the 90 minutes, with Luke Ayling the best performer for the home side in the defensive department, winning four of his five attempted tackles. Aaronson, meanwhile, only came on in the 87th minute, replacing Rodrigo but wasn't able to really get involved in his brief cameo.

WHAT NEXT FOR LEEDS? Leeds, who now find themselves in severe relegation danger with two games to go, don't play again until May 21 when they travel to West Ham. They will then host Spurs the week after on the final day of the season.

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