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Leeds United at Sutton United: Three takeaways from a true FA Cup catastrophe

Leeds United were sent crashing out of the FA Cup in embarrassing fashion on Sunday at the hands of non-league Sutton United.

Sutton United v Leeds United - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
An all-too-familiar sight: Marco Silvestri clumsily collides with Lewie Coyle as Leeds United concede a penalty.
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

It's a game we could analyse and scrutinise for days on end; however, Leeds United's exit at the hands of a deserving Sutton United on Sunday left a weird, never-before-experienced taste in the mouth.

The result of course, is shocking, shambolic, atrocious - and any other superlative one may wish to use to describe such a horror show. The game itself, however, isn't necessarily front-and-centre of the post-mortem.

Let's (reluctantly) go over what the fallout from this farce may mean in the near future...

Talking Point 1: Leeds United have 48 hours

Many of the points you're about to read could have page upon page of discussion in their own right. While there are many things to discuss and issues to resolve, we'll keep this one relatively brief.

Perhaps the main topic to come out of the aftermath from Sunday was the lack of activity in this current transfer window. Yet again, fans' optimism has been dealt a blow.

Before January 1st rolled around, Garry Monk was insistent the exit door was going to remain firmly closed, and the only activity would be coming in the other way. So far, it's been the complete opposite.

With Pablo Hernandez the single confirmed signing thus far, it remains to be seen what the club can do as they clock rapidly ticks down to the window closure.

The sale of Alex Mowatt and the post-match comments from Monk leave little room for the imagination to wander; same old story, same old frustrations.

I've seen thicker coats of paint than the depth in quality in Elland Road, and on Sunday, that showed. In my opinion, this was an opportunity for Monk to stick two fingers up to the boardroom.

He needed to make a statement, his last cry for help before it's too late, and by all accounts, the starting XI he put out for this match and the pathetic loss they achieved shows he has done just that.

Talking Point 2: Is the “Great Leeds United Academy” that great?

We're all aware that Monk named an incredibly inexperienced side on Sunday afternoon - but I don't think anybody saw a performance like that coming.

Stuart Dallas was the only player to retain his spot from the midweek win over Nottingham Forest, and while the likes of Silvestri were expected to run out for Leeds United's 'cup team', the others just weren't at it - at all.

I'm all for blooding youth and bringing on young talent, but Sunday’s performance from those young players that were selected was an unforeseen case of bringing lambs to the slaughter.

Leeds were outfought, outbattled, outclassed, and outperformed in all areas of the pitch on Sunday by a team a whopping 83 places below them.

I'm hearing the excuse of 'they haven't played together' all over the place. Sorry, no. Even if they hadn't, I would still suspect a Leeds United side made up of a majority of youth players to take care of a National League outfit any day of the week.

In addition, those players do play together. They play together for the under-23 side week in, week out.

Playing Liam Cooper alongside Paul McKay was a disaster, especially when you add Tyler Denton and Lewie Coyle into the mix. There was not one leader in the back-four, and how Cooper was given the armband is beyond me: asking “who wants it?” after receiving his second yellow card says it all.

And the young lads gave zero account for themselves. Had Monk thrown them together against a Premier League side, then yes, we could easily use the excuse of their inexperience - against a non-league side? No chance.

Talking Point 3: Too many players not up to standard

This point somewhat encompasses the other two, but there are still elements to the performance on Sunday that need dissecting.

Leeds United are incredibly short in depth. We all know that as fans, the club know it, Monk knows it, and so does the wider media.

However, it's looking more and more likely that Leeds will be praying the injury Gods that the same 12 or 13 players can stay fit until the end of May. Ultimately, that's what we'll need if we're going to make the playoffs.

An injury to Chris Wood, Pontus Jansson or Kyle Bartley now would be absolutely catastrophic to the season. There are absolutely zero feasible options in replacement for Wood, as Marcus Antonsson proved quite easily against Sutton.

At centre-half, Cooper is so far behind his positional cohort that it's almost laughable. The defence was in absolute tatters. Cooper is not a leader, and he is simply not good enough to be in the team. The gulf in ability between him and Bartley and Jansson is astounding.

As for the midfield, Matt Grimes was taught a lesson by players who will be getting up in the morning and installing a boiler to a family home. How Grimes is on the books of a Premier League side is a travesty. The sooner he gets sent back to Swansea, the better.

In a nutshell, Leeds need help. They need reinforcements.

We've been saying this since before the end of last year, and we all know what the result will be - we won't get them.

Prove me wrong, team Radrellino, please... for all our sakes, don't ruin this season for us. MOT.