West Ham v Leeds United: Big match preview; key battle, Hammers key man and Graham Smyth's prediction

AHEAD of Leeds United's latest venture to London to face West Ham, the YEP's chief football writer Graham Smyth looks at the key aspects of the Hammers against the Whites.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 10:29 am

Date: Tonight

Time: 8pm

Competition: Premier League

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Venue: London Stadium

Odds: West Ham win - 21/20, Draw - 13/5, Leeds United win - 5/2

Key battle: Set pieces

Leeds United were undone by set-pieces when they lost 2-1 to West Ham at Elland Road. It's a problem that has reared its head at various points this season. West Ham have other dangers, but defending set-pieces well will still be key. It's difficult to put a finger on why it has plagued Leeds so much, other than to simply point at the height of opposition players but as Bielsa has said, there are ways to compete in the air despite a height disadvantage.

CAST IRON: Jesse Lingard has bagged three goals and two assists from just five games for West Ham since signing on loan from Manchester United. Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - Pool/Getty Images.

Hammers key man: Jesse Lingard

The 28-year-old's impact for West Ham has been significant, since joining on loan at the end of January. Three goals and two assists in five games have helped the Hammers to continue their fine Premier League season, winning three and drawing once with the Manchester United man in the side. He's playing a variety of roles behind the striker for David Moyes side and whoever plays in defensive midfield for Leeds will have their hands full. It appears as if Kalvin Phillip's is once again in contention and that would be a huge boost for the Whites. If anyone can shut down a talented attacking midfielder it's the United homegrown talent and England international. His absence has been difficult to overcome for Leeds this season.

Graham Smyth's verdict

Leeds United are in London. That London. The London in which they don't win football games. And the opponents are a side in form, a side enjoying a magnificent season. Leeds might be without Kalvin Phillips again, so the midfield could be an issue. It looks tough on paper. While the Whites are long overdue a result in the capital, it's hard to look past a draw as the likeliest positive outcome. I'll go 2-2.

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Thank you Laura Collins