Angelo Ogbonna was the match-winner for West Ham United as they came from behind to defeat Leeds United 2-1 at Elland Road in the Premier League.
The game was off to a lively start as just five minutes in Leeds were awarded a penalty after Patrick Bamford was brought down by Lukasz Fabianski. Mateusz Klich stepped up and delivered from the spot at the second time of asking after the West Ham goalkeeper was adjudged to have been off the line when he had denied the midfielder in his first attempt.
West Ham reacted well to going behind and had a couple of promising opportunities which Sebastien Haller failed to take. However, the equaliser came soon enough as Tomas Soucek headed home a Jarrod Bowen corner in the 25th minute.
The Hammers’ looked the likelier of the two teams to score in the second half, with Said Benrahma going close and Illan Meslier denying Fabian Balbuena with a brilliant save. However, the Frenchman could do nothing about Angelo Ogbonna’s header in the 81st minute that made it 2-1 in favour of the visitors.
It could have bee 3-1 for the Hammers but Meslier pulled off another fine stop to deny Haller while Fabian Balbuena’s header glanced wide off the post. At the other end, Rodrigo Moreno should have levelled things up for Leeds in stoppage time but sent his header straight at Fabianski as David Moyes’ side held on for a narrow win.
The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both sets of players after what was a tightly-contested match-up at Elland Road.
Illan Meslier: 6.5/10
Should have done better to keep Soucek’s header out for the opening goal. But redeemed himself with two brilliant stops in the second half to keep out Balbuena and Haller. Misplaced just five passes on the night.
Stuart Dallas: 6.5/10
Didn’t do enough to put off Soucek leading to the equaliser for West Ham. Worked hard throughout and did a good job of keeping Bowen quiet in the second half after moving to left-back. Played a key pass and made three successful tackles.
Luke Ayling: 7.5/10
Came up with a couple of important blocks to keep Haller and Benrahma in the first half, before repeating the trick to keep out the Frenchman again in the second. Strode out of the defence with confidence, completed one key pass while also making four interceptions – most by any player on the night.
Liam Cooper: 6.5/10
Stole the ball off of Haller and played Bamford in with a fine pass leading to the penalty. Made a crucial block to deny Bowen a cutback opportunity soon after and stayed solid for most of the game apart from a mistimed tackle allowed Fornals an opportunity late in the game but it didn’t come to anything.
Ended the game with a game-high eight aerial duels won, completed the most number of passes (73) and made the most number of tackles as well (6). However, got caught out for the winning goal, which bumps down a rating point.
Ezgjan Alioski: 4/10
Had difficulties dealing with the threat of Bowen in the opening exchanges. Booked for a needless foul on the West Ham attacker. Hooked off at half-time, rather unsurprisingly.
Kalvin Phillips: 6/10
A rather subdued performance from the England international, who didn’t really do anything wrong but wasn’t quite able to keep Said Benrahma quiet either, allowing the Algerian time and space to have a go at the goal on multiple occasions, especially in the second half. Drew a save from Fabianski in the second half.
Lively in the first half, showed some good touches and created chances for his teammates. Much more subdued after the break, however. Still, managed to finish with a game-high four key passes.
Mateusz Klich: 6/10
Poor penalty the first time out and was lucky that he got the second bite at the cherry and kept his composure to find the net. Not a lot went his way from that point on as he was easily bypassed in the middle. A powerful effort from distance in the second half was straight at Fabianski.
Rodrigo Moreno: 5/10
Had a couple of shots in the first half but one went wide while the other was straight at Fabianski. Presented with a great chance to salvage a point for his team late in the game but fired a tame effort right at the West Ham custodian. Needs to do more.
Jack Harrison: 4/10
A good cross early in the game aside, it was a struggle for Harrison, who found it difficult to get past Vladimir Coufal. Conceded the corner from which West Ham equalised. Made way for Helder Costa at half-time.
Patrick Bamford: 6/10
Did well to win the penalty in the first half after being played in by Cooper. Had to feed on scraps for most of the game with little service coming his way. Came close with an effort in the second half before being subbed off.
Jamie Shackleton: 6/10
Replaced Alioski at half-time, slotted in at right-back with Dallas moving to the left. Showed good intent after coming on, getting forward and involving himself in a few attacking moves. Pinned back as West Ham amped it up later on, though.
Helder Costa: 4/10
Came on for Harrison at half-time. Did little of note going forward. Conceded the free-kick leading to Ogbonna’s goal.
Tyler Roberts: N/A
On for Bamford for the final 15 minutes. Not involved much.
West Ham United
Lukasz Fabianski: 6/10
Conceded the penalty early on. Seemed to have redeemed himself by stopping Klich, only to find out that he had stepped off the line and couldn’t repeat his heroics on the retake. Solid thereafter though, showing good authority in his box. Made a couple of decent stops in the second half.
Vladimir Coufal: 7.5/10
A strong display from the summer signing who never really allowed Harrison to get into the game in the first half. Won the corner leading to the equaliser and continued to provide an outlet on the right, while staying solid in defence. Ended the game with four headers won, three tackles and three clearances.
Fabian Balbuena: 7/10
Sloppy with his distribution on occasion but was assured at the back despite the change in formation. Made a couple of key interceptions. Came so close to scoring twice in the second half only to be denied by Meslier and the woodwork.
Angelo Ogbonna: 7.5/10
There were a few occasions when his lack of pace was exposed in the first half as the Leeds’ midfield runners got past him. Otherwise, was fairly solid defending with his back to the goal, before showing his aerial prowess at the other end to score the winning goal.
Aaron Cresswell: 7/10
The West Ham left-back dealt quite well with the threat posed by Raphinha and Helder Costa but was limited in his attacking contributions. Did deliver a pinpoint cross for Ogbonna to head home the winner.
Declan Rice: 8/10
Declan Rice vs Leeds United:
85% passing accuracy
2 key passes
3/4 aerial duels won
3/4 ground duels won
My DM ? pic.twitter.com/oKpOiFmWtx
— West Ham Transfers (@westhamtransfer) December 11, 2020
Hardly gave an inch to the Leeds players in the middle of the park, breaking up play effectively while he also pushed forward to good effect, notably stitching together two key passes.
Tomas Soucek: 8/10
Another game, another goal for Soucek, who pulled West Ham back on level terms with a powerful header in the first half. Combative presence in the middle of the park as he hardly let anything past him ensuring that Leeds didn’t get a foothold in the game. What a signing he’s proving to be for the Hammers.
Jarrod Bowen: 7/10
Posed a threat on the break as usual, but was let down by his decision-making at times. A fine delivery from the corner leading to the equaliser and made four key passes in total on the night. Missed narrowly from a decent effort.
Said Benrahma: 7/10
Making his full debut for the east London outfit, the ex-Brentford man was lively throughout and looked a threat each time he cut inside, although could have been more accurate with his shooting. Nevertheless, impressive signs for the Algerian international and West Ham.
Pablo Fornals: 6/10
A quiet outing for the Spaniard in comparison to his other attacking partners but worked hard off the ball, making three interceptions and two tackles. Almost found the back of the net in the second half but his effort went just wide off the mark.
Sebastien Haller: 4/10
Sebastian Haller lost possession more times (12) than any other player on the pitch. pic.twitter.com/ixIDecrqzo
— Talkin West Ham #GSBOUT (@TalkinWestHam) December 11, 2020
Lost the ball to Liam Cooper, leading to the Leeds penalty. Worked hard but not good enough holding the ball up at the top, while he should have done better with the two chances he got in the first half. His acrobatic effort in the second half was denied by an equally fine save by Meslier.
Mark Noble: N/A
On for Benrahma with less than ten minutes left.
Ben Johnson: N/A
Replaced Bowen for the final five minutes as Moyes looked to shut up shop.
Robert Snodgrass: N/A
Stoppage time substitute for Fornals.