West Ham United v Leeds United: YEP Jury give their big-match predictions

Our panel of fans look ahead to Leeds United’s trip to West Ham United at the London Stadium tomorrow.

Sunday, 7th March 2021, 4:25 pm
KEY MAN: Raphinha could be the key to unlocking the West Ham defence. Picture: Tony Johnson.

DAVID WATKINS

None of the Jury believed Leeds would lose at home to West Ham… and yet we did, and that isn’t the only time this season we’ve managed that! This next game looks just as difficult to predict!

West Ham are the surprise of the season, they lost their opening two games at home to Newcastle and at Arsenal but since then have been remarkably consistent with only two defeats in their last 12 including seven wins.

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DANGER MAN: West Ham United's Jesse Lingard. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire.

They are a big side, useful at set-pieces, and the driving force of Soucek in midfield has been a major factor.

As we go into the weekend, they sit sixth in the table, only two points behind Chelsea in fourth with a game in hand. With difficult games to come, they will no doubt see our visit as a good chance of points in their unlikely quest for a Champions League place.

In the reverse fixture, Leeds were poor but it was only two towering headers that did for us and we will need to be, literally and metaphorically, on our toes for this one.

Prediction: West Ham United 1 Leeds United 1.

PLENTY TO PONDER: Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Picture: Naomi Baker/PA Wire.

MATTHEW EVANS

Tomorrow’s game against West Ham marks the start of a second year without football in our lives.

Clearly it exists in some form, otherwise there wouldn’t even be a game to talk about, but it’s not the same is it?

West Ham would have provided us with another new ground to visit, another new experience in the long-awaited Premier League return which has been robbed from us.

INFLUENCE: Leeds United's Pascal Struijk, right. Picture: Shaun Botterill/PA Wire.

Thankfully, it looks like we are here to stay for another year and results are going to mean less and less as we meander our way to the end of the season.

It’ll be like those many seasons in the Championship where dead rubber games were commonplace and all hope was lost.

In the Premier League, our mid-table averageness is more a welcome relief and provides Marcelo Bielsa with some freedom to experiment, tighten and tweak his Leeds machine for another crack at it in August when we will hopefully be back.

I think we’ll see the ‘London curse’ rear its head again tomorrow with a narrow defeat but it won’t matter too much and none of us will be there to see it.

SEASON TO SAVOUR: West Ham United head coach David Moyes. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Prediction: West Ham 2 Leeds United 1.

JACOB STARR

Ah yes, another trip to the capital which will undoubtedly result in yet another London loss, won’t it?

Despite the location, the opposition look a difficult proposition as it is. West Ham are flying and, remarkably, are in the running for a Champions League place.

When you think of the Hammers in a general sense, you picture a side fairly comfortable in the table without delivering anything too special, which highlights the terrific job David Moyes has done lifting his team above the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea at this stage of the season.

Marcelo Bielsa’s men may be able to profit from a pitch we have yet to play on since the Irons’ stadium relocation, as it is undeniably quite a lot more appetising than our own, but it will be a tough ask nonetheless.

Jack Harrison may be fancying his chances of coming back into the team after Helder Costa’s lack of effectiveness against Aston Villa, the same for Pablo Hernandez and Tyler Roberts respectively.

West Ham came from behind to win in the return fixture with two set piece goals and will surely look to exploit that aspect tomorrow night through the likes of Aaron Cresswell and Thomas Soucek.

A difficult one, that’s for sure.

Prediction: West Ham 2 Leeds United 1.

KEITH INGHAM

West Ham are in good form and are going well in the Premier League – recently they have beaten Spurs and Sheffield United at home and Aston Villa away.

They have a squad that has done a lot better than most people thought they would and were desperately unlucky to lose 2-1 at in-form Manchester City last weekend.

Marcelo Bielsa hinted that Rodrigo may be involved in tomorrow’s game after scoring two goals in the under-23s game with Wolves, Gaetano Berardi also came through another 45 minutes in his comeback after his lengthy absence through injury. Kalvin Phillips is not expected to feature in the game.

Leeds’ record in London is abysmal and you have to look back to their win in 2017 at QPR as their only win over four years playing in the capital.

Surely that record has to end sometime.

West Ham are chasing a Champions League place and could have too much in their ‘locker’ for Leeds.

Saying that, a point isn’t beyond Bielsa’s boys and they might just grab a share of the spoils and stop West Ham getting a rare double over Leeds.

Prediction: West Ham United 1 Leeds United 1.

ANDY RHODES

After last weekend’s lacklustre defeat to Aston Villa, Leeds have the simple task of picking up points in London tomorrow.

To make matters worse, West Ham have the second best home record in the division and are unbeaten at the London Stadium since September.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side will certainly have their work cut out then.

Raphinha could unlock the door of the Hammers’ mean defence, while Illan Meslier is likely to face a barrage once again.

Michail Antonio and Jesse Lingard have carried their team in recent weeks, while the Londoners’ height is likely to cause Leeds a significant headache, both from set pieces and crosses.

United haven’t won away since arguably this season’s best performance at Leicester. A win here would match that performance.

Leeds have two more chances to break the London hoodoo this season.

Could it happen at the first attempt?

Man of the match: West Ham United 1 Leeds United 1.

MIKE GILL

The problem with myths, legends and curses is that the longer they last, the more that people believe in them.

With six London teams in the Premier League, if United are to continue to progress, this curse needs to be lifted.

Whether the London Stadium is the place where this miracle will happen is another matter altogether.

David Moyes’ side have been one of the surprise packages of the season. He is a very good coach.

Clubs have got the best out of him when he has had time to do the job properly and he has had a very stable career only punctuated by the impossible tasks that he took on at Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland. As for United, there is the tantalising possibility that Rodrigo may return.

This, combined with our more stable defence should make us a tougher opponent than when we last faced the Hammers.

I am going for a rare draw on our road to burying the curse once and for all.

Prediction: West Ham United 1 Leeds United 1.

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