Leeds United 1-2 West Ham United - a good day for battered star and key man, a bad day for Kalvin Phillips and off-camera moments
After seeing Leeds United defeated 2-1 by West Ham, chief football writer Graham Smyth runs the rule over who had a good day, a bad day, the turning point and some off camera moments at Elland Road.
A momentous week that he will never forget. The result will have put a downer on it all but he can be rightfully proud of making his Leeds United dream come true. Acquitted himself well against an awkward, elite customer. Didn't fully contain Antonio but defenders of greater experience struggle to do that.
With each recent appearance he has added to the growing feeling that he will go on to become a great. This wasn't a perfect performance but he made some terrific stops and refused to wilt under a lot of physical pressure and an elbow to the face. A star.
The nutmeg on Benrahma that left the West Ham man looking for the nearest exit sign was exquisite, just as the little shimmy to ghost between two defenders was. His finish was typically excellent, too. Leeds need to keep him fit and available, he's absolutely key to getting the season on track.
This was a big game, against a very good midfield, but Phillips struggled. Has shone at times this season but couldn't in this one, in the second half especially. When he plays well it's of huge significance for Leeds. When he doesn't, their chances of controlling a game diminish greatly.
His absence from the team sheet led to questions for Marcelo Bielsa and the revelation that he's suffered another injury set-back. Given the incredible effort he continues to make to get fit, it must be beyond frustrating, even if niggles are to be expected for a player returning from nearly two years out of action. The hope is that this is something closer to a niggle than a real problem that seriously derails his comeback further.
Marcelo Bielsa himself put a question mark over whether or not Harrison would be ready to play after isolating having tested positive for Covid-19. He didn't look himself at all in a tame showing as a second half substitute. Leeds might well have been better sticking with James for the second half or, if the new boy had to come off, sending Crysencio Summerville on.
Number of the day
Leeds gave West Ham 10 free-kicks, some of which were needless or careless and in dangerous positions. Against a team so physically strong and adept at set-pieces, it was only inviting pressure. Leeds dealt well with many of the free-kicks and corners, but the more they gave away, the more confidence West Ham seemed to gain.
Leeds didn't look the same side after West Ham levelled, particularly when Raphinha had to go off. The Hammers, by contrast, looked more and more confident that they could go on and win it. Their 90th minute had very little element of surprise about it.
Off camera moments
It was a big day for Charlie Cresswell and his fellow Under 23s prospects knew it. As he lined up in the tunnel before kick-off both Sam Greenwood and Crysencio Summerville gave him supportive pats on their way to take their seats in the substitutes' area. After the game he was selected to do post-match media duties and received an ovation from what appeared to be family members or friends in the West Stand. Throughout the game the response he received from Elland Road was one of pride and encouragement. The performance he produced will only enhance his reputation as a potential future star.
On a day when Angus Kinnear used his programme notes to take aim at Jurgen Klopp for his actions in the lead up to Pascal Struijk's red card against Liverpool, Elland Road witnessed another pitch invasion. This time it was a lot less controversial, but Leeds fans still let David Moyes know their feelings when he ran on to kick the ball back to his defence so they could take a free-kick. Moyes wasn't the only visitor to unexpectedly enter the playing surface. The stewards down in the corner where the West Ham fans were housed had their hands full restraining a number of visiting supporters, a small number of whom came over the advertising boards. One was tackled, expertly, by a steward much smaller than him who showed dogged determination and excellent technique to bring down the Hammer.
Raphinha is a fierce competitor, as he has shown on numerous occasions since his arrival. Even when he's not involved, he wants to be involved. His desire to win saw him up on the touchline, abandoning the spot of turf where he was sitting and icing his legs late in the second half, to bark orders at Crysencio Summerville and Jack Harrison during a break in play.
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Thank you Laura Collins