Leeds United have endured a miserable season filled with brief moments of hope marred by the inevitable despair that follows. Their clash with West Ham United yesterday only served to emphasise this further, as they took the lead at the London Stadium only to eventually lose 3-1.
This sets up a must-win clash with Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the Premier League season, with the Whites still reliant on Everton dropping points too.
Sam Allardyce seems set to fail in his quest to secure safety for just the second time in his career, with this opportunity at Elland Road proving a step too far. However, he still boasts one final game with which he can still leave his mark.
Regardless of results around the ground, and their thankless pursuit of a three-goal victory over Spurs, the experienced manager will likely make wholesale changes after what was a weak showing on the road when he needed his team to shine.
Whether they perform their miracle and achieve survival, this is a squad that needs gutting if they are to stride into a brighter future. The younger assets may well need time, but the older members have little excuse.
One such example who should have played his last game in a Leeds shirt is Adam Forshaw, who disappointed against the Hammers and has a £20k-per-week deal set to expire this summer.
How did Adam Forshaw play vs West Ham?
Having been a preferred option in Allardyce’s midfield since his appointment, the 31-year-old has only mustered a 6.57 average rating throughout his 11 league appearances.
In what was arguably the most important of them all, the former Toffees academy graduate wilted more than most, despite being the joint-third-oldest of the starting visitors.
To showcase just how anonymous the midfielder was, his 36 touches were even bettered by his goalkeeper Joel Robles (41), which resulted in a truly uninspiring showing.
The often-workmanlike ace was creatively absent and defensively work-shy, culminating in just two duels won despite having competed in six. His subsequent two tackles were further marred by the fact he was dribbled past once too, as Lucas Paqueta ran the show, via Sofascore.
As his opposite number and the creative leader of the hosts, the Brazilian was allowed 106 touches of the ball as he made three key passes, including a fine run and assist for their third. Meanwhile, Forshaw was nowhere to be seen.
The ageing stalwart has seldom been an asset to the Yorkshire outfit in recent years, with his injury record almost as bad as his recent form. Medical expert Ben Dinnery even suggested the midfielder’s consistent ailments should be a “red flag” for the Whites earlier in 2023.
Whether on the pitch or having been forced off it, Forshaw has little left to offer this club. Allardyce must banish him from their all-important final game, and Andrea Radrizzani must ensure yesterday was his final appearance in the famous Leeds strip upon the expiry of that contract.