We went into this match without a win in the premier league this season and a raft of injuries and a suspension. Playing against a West Ham side that made into Europe last season. West Ham are a much improved outfit from the side that beat us last season. Never more have we needed that eleventh man – a sell out at Elland Road. Still it was not enough and again we ran out of steam. The patched up team was injurious in defeat.
After a much criticised start to the season struggling to be allowed under Bielsa to play a full match, Rodrigo has much to prove as the substitute striker for Bamford. Shackleton and Cresswell hold up the defence after a promising performance against Fulham. Cresswell really does look the finished article – a very big child.
Bielsa sees no need to change the way we play arguing he has not seen the opposition do anything different to make him. We just have to improve. Players like Dallas and Ayling are simply not performing like the end of last season.
Lively start by Leeds pressuring West Ham on the ball, both sides testing the goalies. Leeds are going to have be sharper in attack and defence to stop West Ham putting moves together. After the in initial rush Leeds got into their stride with Dallas close on goal after a good link up. Raphinha also took a punt – Leeds are making more shots on goal compared to earlier games, and Cresswell is looking like he has Leeds in his movement forwards as well as defending.
The first goal comes from another fast paced counter attack from Leeds own half with Rodrigo taking the ball quickly up the pitch and a flick from Klich to Raphinha in the centre to place the ball in the net before West Ham could gather themselves.
I like Firpo. He has not had the best of starts but Beilsa brought him straight into the first team learning the Leeds way whilst on the job. He makes many mistakes with his passing but his commitment to forward play is impressive.
The first half ended with a world class save from Meslier when Phillips (not his best match) missed a forward pass to Fornells who one on one with Meslier has his placed shot saved. Meslier kept Leeds in the game in the first half.
Dan James is another promising signing that came straight into the Leeds first team and had to learn the ropes. He has put the effort in on the left but was replaced early on at half time, not really getting on the ball, by Harrison.
After Leeds were run ragged by Saint Maximin at Newcastle, Cresswell managed to keep Antonio restricted to long range shots. He cut a frustrated figure reduced to fouling Raphinha.
Antonio’s arm in the face against Meslier on the free kick when the ball went in the net was a clear foul which VAR got right this time. The blood on Meslier’s face was proof. Goal overturned.: finally, Antonio got a yellow card for his raised arm.
Leeds like previous matches drifted in the second half, none of the constant pressure last season wearing teams down. Meslier had to working hard to keep the ball out of the net. But ultimately West Ham pressure paid off with a lucky goal coming off Firpo’s hip.
Leeds’ response to this is to take off Raphinha, carrying a hamstring injury, and bring on Tyler Roberts. Roberts is a debatable player – lacking the goals to justify a starting place. Plenty of effort today but not a lot of outcome. This should surely be his last season at Leeds. This was an opportunity to bring on Geldhart.
Big opportunity on the hour when Klich had a big opportunity in a crowded penalty box but places it wide again. Klich is another player not yet firing on all four cylinders. The match then became a series of set pieces from free kicks and corners for West Ham as Leeds struggle to get the final touch on goal.
Cameo moments in the last ten minutes. For Phillips getting into a tussle with a West Ham player on the grass still playing for the ball. Not a classic performance but the commitment was there. And then Leeds crowded around a West Ham attack with four Leeds Players disarming the West Ham player.
Then it went wrong with a late goal from Antonio left unmarked. This was a draw we deserved. Shackleton, who lost Antonio in the goal, is hauled off for Somerville. One final chance for Phillips goes wide. Chances to score went begging and final passes missing.
Man of the Match: Meslier