Leeds United 1-2 West Ham: Luke Ayling's good day, Jack Harrison's bad day and the Elland Road turning point

Leeds United fell to a 2-1 defeat to West Ham on Friday night - but who had a day to remember and a day to forget?

Saturday, 12th December 2020, 4:30 pm

Few, if any, Leeds United players will look back on yesterday as a good day.

The new West Stand lights illuminated problems that have been an Elland Road feature for a while, in the 2-1 defeat by West Ham.

Here's the YEP view on the good, the bad and the turning point.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

West Ham celebrate their late winning goal at Elland Road. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

Good day

Luke Ayling was in relatively unfamiliar territory at centre-half, against a side with pace, skill and physicality in attack, but he looked comfortable.

His mobility helped drive Leeds forward, he wanted the ball and got involved in a lot of the play and without the ball, defended well.

Didn't look out of place and certainly cannot be blamed for either goal. Stuart Dallas didn't have a bad game either and his move to left-back kept Jarrod Bowen quiet.

Bad day

Jack Harrison struggled for 45 minutes. He conceded the corner from which West Ham levelled, he was unable to get the better of his full-back when they went one v one and defensively his and Gjanni Alioski's flank was a real problem for Leeds.

There was one moment that could have redeemed Harrison's evening, a lovely cross for Patrick Bamford that the striker couldn't head home, but aside from that there was little to keep him on the pitch. Unsurprisingly withdrawn at the break.

He wasn't alone in struggling, Alioksi had a poor first half and was also replaced before the second half began, Helder Costa and Tyler Roberts who came on as substitutes failed to make an impact and Mateusz Klich was unable to perform to the levels he has hit in the Premier League.

Turning point

53rd minute

Leeds started the second half quite brightly with Jamie Shackleton buzzing around the field and causing West Ham problems. But West Ham came close to scoring in the 53rd minute, denied only by Luke Ayling's excellent goal-saving block, and then threatened from the resulting corner. They seemed to grow in confidence from then on and looked the likeliest side to score. When the game went flat, they still looked solid in defence and when it opened up, they looked more dangerous on the counter attack. As David Moyes pointed out, had it not been for Illan Meslier and some missed chances, the scoreline might have had a harsher look to it for Leeds.

Number of the day

6ft 4ins

Tomáš Souček towered above Stuart Dallas at the back post to head in West Ham's first, from a corner.

There are ways and means when it comes to stopping players with a height advantage, Gaetano Berardi has managed it in the past for Leeds, but it looked very easy for the Hammer to rise and head home.

Angelo Ogbonna, an inch shorter than his team-mate, got up above Liam Cooper to head in the second, from a free-kick. Leeds have got to find a way to neutralise players with height and aerial ability.