YEP Leeds United Jury: Why Whites need to iron out quirks to overcome West Ham United

Leeds United are still chasing that elusive first Premier League win of the season and our YEP fans’ jury is split as to whether or not the Whites will attain that goal against West Ham United on Saturday afternoon at Elland Road.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 6:00 am
Charlie Cresswell, celebrating a pre-season friendly goal against Fleetwood Town, caught the eye against Fulham. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia.

The Hammers look, at this early stage in proceedings, like a top-six team whereas Leeds, and our jurors readily acknowledge this, don’t.

That said, United’s potential to break free of the lower echelons of the top flight is also not lost on the jury and that’s why some, at least, feel that first three-point haul could come their way come tea-time Saturday.

Check out what they have to say:

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

ONE TO WATCH: Leeds United's Charlie Cresswell, right, with Jamie Shackleton at St James' Park. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia.

JACOB STARR

The prospect of facing a dangerous West Ham side on Saturday when we could really do with a first victory isn’t helping matters, although cup success during the week is bound to boost confidence.

The Hammers are competing in the Europa League this season, which shows how well they performed last campaign, and the start they have made this year shows they could be challenging the top six yet again.

Talisman and predator in front of goal, Michail Antonio, will return from suspension to the delight of the Leeds defence... One of the most difficult strikers in the Premier League to stop on his day, and already has four goals in four appearances this term.

The’ Carabao Cup penalty-shootout win over Fulham wasn’t the most thrilling football match but the under-23s who featured all made strong cases to be considered by Marcelo Bielsa for regular first-team chances. Charlie Cresswell especially, a rock at the back with a mature head on his 18-year-old shoulders.

And whilst we’re paper thin at centre-half, who knows what may be in store for him.

Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling both missed the trip to London owing to injuries picked up at Newcastle.

We need players like these available when sides as good as West Ham are the opposition.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 West Ham United 2.

ANDY RHODES

After navigating their way through a tricky cup tie in midweek, Leeds will turn their attention towards getting a first league win of the season.

Visitors West Ham have been steady this season, only losing for the first time last weekend. In his second spell as manager, David Moyes has created a solid side. Leeds, then, will have their work cut out.

The injury worries have appeared to mount in recent days while the longer the wait goes on for a first league win, the more tense things will get.

Having said that, Leeds are by no means in trouble.

The foundations to dig themselves out of a hole were laid when Marcelo Bielsa first took over. After all, they went from mid-table in the Championship to the top half of the Premier League.

At the back, Leeds will need to be wary of the threat carried by the likes of Said Benrahma and Michail Antonio.

The game continues the run of fixtures where Leeds will have identified the opportunity for points. They’ll come soon enough.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 West Ham United 0.

DAVID WATKINS

The shootout win at Craven Cottage will probably have little bearing on the West Ham game but at least it was a positive moment in what’s been a tricky few opening games and, for the young lads involved, it was great experience.

I think we all know we now have another quality centre-back in our ranks. One who is going to keep pushing the established quartet for a starting slot. Charlie Cresswell was simply immense. West Ham’s 2nd XI won at Old Trafford too, but that also has little relevance.

This is another game where I really am scratching around for pointers. My gut feeling is we are better than results suggest but our finishing has, generally, been woeful and several of our star players have not hit their straps. If we can iron out those quirks then I believe we can actually hammer the Irons. If not, well, if not then I could see the Happy Hammers going home very happy.

I’m going with my heart on this one and I’m saying we’ll turn a corner, put in a really good performance and, finally, get our first three-point haul.

Prediction: Leeds United 2 West Ham United 0.

MIKE GILL

Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup adventure against Fulham was a real morale booster.

If the 90 minutes were not exactly filled with sparkling football, United’s defence looked solid as a rock against the top-scoring team in the Championship. Charlie Creswell strode around Craven Cottage as if he owned the place and the rest of the youngsters kept their heads to triumph in the penalty shootout.

Of course, a sterner challenge awaits against West Ham at Elland Road.

The Hammers have had a good start to the season.

This was spoiled only by their inability to convert a last-minute penalty against Manchester United last time out.

Both fixtures against the Londoners last season showed that they are a difficult team to beat.

How the Leeds team will line up on Saturday is still dependent on the skills and expertise of the guys in the treatment room.

But we can be assured that there will be no lack of fight or endeavour from the team selected.

Although three points would be most welcome, one point is more likely - and an improvement on our performances against the Hammers last season.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 West Ham United 1.

KEITH INGHAM

The ‘walking wounded’ will welcome West Ham United to Elland Road on Saturday.

Definitely out is the suspended Pascal Struijk but this lis the last game of a three-match ban. There are doubts over Diego Llorente and Robin Koch, and Luke Ayling, Liam Cooper, Patrick Bamford and Raphinha picked up injuries at Newcastle. And it is hoped that no more injuries were picked up in the League Cup win over Fulham.

The Hammers were unfortunate not to pick up at least a point in their game with ‘manu’ last weekend but an injury-time penalty miss by Mark Noble meant the ‘lucky’ visitors walked away from The London Stadium with three points. West Ham are eighth with two wins and two draws so have only one loss in the Premier League. Michail Antonio is back after suspension and will be one to be wary of; he’s in superb form.

Despite still being without a win, Leeds improved against Newcastle and I’ve always thought, as long as you create chances, you aren’t doing too badly, even though it’s frustrating for the fans.

It’s the other end that bothers me; because of injury and suspension, there hasn’t been a settled pairing at centre-half - and that is really needed.

Charlie Cresswell may well get his Premier League debut if the injury situation doesn’t improve. He looks ready for it.

It looks like being a close game and I’ll sit on the fence and say Leeds may have to wait at least another week to get that elusive first league win.

Meanwhile, Leeds beat Fulham 6-5 on penalties to progress to the last 16 of the Carabao Cup after Tuesday’s game had ended 0-0.

The side that finished the game included Joe Gelhardt and Stuart McKinstry and both of them scored their penalties in the shootout.

Charlie Cresswell was superb in the centre of defence alongside Kalvin Phillips, and Crysencio Summerville had a decent first game on the right wing before being substituted with just over 20 minutes to go.

Four young players who, on the look of Tuesday night, have great futures ahead of them at Leeds.

Prediction: Leeds United 1 West Ham United 1.

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click HERE to subscribe.