YEP Jury: Encouraging signs but Leeds United need a 90-minute performance

It was a case of another game, another missed opportunity for Leeds United as they conceded a late goal to lose 2-1 at home to West Ham United on Saturday. Here’s what our fans’ panel made of he match:

Monday, 27th September 2021, 6:00 am
Leeds United's Rodrigo is blocked by West Ham United's Tomas Soucek. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

DAVID WATKINS

That was cruel! The first half was the most cohesive, all-round display of the season; we made a good West Ham look ordinary.

Deservedly taking an early lead, with a goal born of the teamwork we saw last season, all looked good and the Hammers were chasing shadows.

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Marcelo Bielsa barks out instructions from the sidelines against West Ham. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

When they did get through, Illan Meslier was unbeatable. Had Raphinha found the net, not post, to make it 2-0 we may have broken the Hammers’ spirit.

It continued after the interval and Matty Klich had a chance to grab that all-important second goal too but shot wide. But with Charlie Cresswell and Jamie Shackleton playing like seasoned pros and Rodrigo and Raphinha looking back to their best, everything was falling into place.

That all changed in the space of two minutes.

The Hammers needed a stroke of luck and in the 67th minute, they got one.

Raphinha celebrates his goal against West Ham. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Bowen’s weak shot took two wicked deflections off Liam Cooper and Junior Firpo and they were level.

Seconds later Raphinha left the pitch and most of our inspiration left with him.

West Ham got their second wind, scored in added time, and that was another winless outing. Cruel indeed.

It’s coming I’m sure folks, and it could well be Watford who’ll face the music.

Leeds United's fans in full voice against West Ham. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Man of the match: Illan Meslier.

ANDY RHODES

Another game, another missed opportunity. Much of this performance was perfect but the demons came back to haunt us.

The first half was outstanding. Raphinha, Rodrigo, Mateusz Klich and Daniel James all attacked in perfect harmony and caused all sorts of problems for the Hammers.

West Ham boss David Moyes on the sidelines at Elland Road. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

In truth, it could have been at least two-nil before half-time with the array of chances Leeds created. But that’s where it fell down, those missed opportunities.

West Ham always looked capable of scoring themselves and if not for two cruel deflections they might not have got their equaliser.

But from then on it looked like the game was only going one way. Leeds struggled to keep up and when reinforcements were needed, the strength in depth wasn’t there.

Under David Moyes, the London side is one that has been around the block and knows how to stay resolute.

If Leeds can pick up some of that resilience, the points will come.

Man of the match: Raphinha.

KEITH INGHAM

Unfortunately Leeds’ pursuit of the first win of the season continued as West Ham ‘nicked’ the points with a late, late Antonio goal.

The striker was a little fortunate to be still on the field after he clearly elbowed Illan Meslier in an incident that led to the young keeper getting treatment and the goal they scored being disallowed by VAR.

Leeds started well and were deservedly ahead within 20 minutes, Klich laid the ball back to Raphinha and the Brazilian made no mistake – he could have made it two but he hit the post.

The second half was just as entertaining but it was West Ham who held the upper hand.

With Leeds forced on the back foot it didn’t come as a surprise that they equalised, Bowen scored it via a deflection off Firpo.

The cruellest time to lose a game is late on and for once Antonio got away from Cresswell with a minute to go and the striker slotted it past Meslier.

The positives to take from it were the performances of Shackleton and Cresswell at the back and Raphinha was superb, especially in the first half when West Ham couldn’t deal with him.

Leeds will hope to get at least a couple of players back before next Saturday’s home game with Watford.

It’s not do or die but it’s important to get that first win sooner or later.

Man of the match: Charlie Cresswell.

MIKE GILL

Leeds played well but not well enough to pick up a point.

It was a great start in front of a noisy Elland Road which became quieter as the game progressed.

Few expected a three-point haul and so when Raphinha smashed the ball into the net, the Whites were on cloud nine. Both sides continued to come close with Illan Meslier and Fabianski making fine saves.

Sadly, the old wastefulness was there and United were left to regret their missed chances.

Early in the second half, Antonio clearly elbowed Meslier in the face as Soucek scrambled the ball into the net. The effort was rightly disallowed but Antonio escaped with a yellow card.

This allowed him to stay on the pitch and haunt United with a goal in the dying minutes of added time. Jamie Shackleton had been left exposed and could not dispossess him.

Previously Bowen had netted via Junior Firpo’s backside.

The positives from this game were fine performances from Meslier, Charlie Creswell and Raphinha and a draw would have been a fair result.

Man of the match: Illan Meslier.

JACOB STARR

60 minutes of that performance were great, but in the Premier League, it has to be 90, particularly against teams like West Ham because they will punish you.

An early, well-worked goal from Raphinha, coupled with some wonderful saves by Illan Meslier, looked as though the Whites were on course for their first three points of the campaign, but ultimately, we ended up with nothing.

Michail Antonio won it right at the death, despite being marshalled tremendously for the rest of the game by youngster Charlie Cresswell.

To be fair, the makeshift Leeds side did really well against the Hammers, but it’s just the fear that injuries to similar key players throughout the season may heavily impact us.

Rodrigo did pretty well leading the line in the absence of Patrick Bamford, whilst Jamie Shackleton put in a solid performance covering for the injured Luke Ayling. Marcelo Bielsa’s men now find themselves in the bottom three, in what is probably something that looks more worrying than it actually is.

The result was identical to this same fixture last season. At this stage, it’s not games like this that will decide our season.

Man of the match: Charlie Cresswell.

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