Illan Meslier, Raphinha and Michail Antonio stood out as West Ham United came from behind to beat Leeds United 2-1 on Saturday.
West Ham United were the stronger of the two sides in the early exchanges, with Illan Meslier being forced into big saves to deny Michail Antonio and Said Benrahma. However, Leeds United soon found their feet and ended up breaking the deadlock after probing their visitors for a few minutes.
In the 19th minute, a mistake by Tomas Soucek was pounced upon by Rodrigo Moreno, who held the ball well before passing the ball to Mateusz Klich, who found Raphinha in acres of space. And the Brazilian made no error in slotting the ball into the bottom left corner with a sublime finish.
The hosts continued to grow into the game thereafter, although it was West Ham who ended the first half strongly. Post the interval, the Hammers continued from where they had left off at the break, and even thought they had equalised through Soucek before the goal was ruled out after it emerged that Antonio had inadvertently elbowed Meslier.
West Ham, though, got their deserved goal through a stroke of luck midway through the second half as a shot by Jarrod Bowen took a double deflection to leave Meslier stranded. David Moyes & co. were now in the ascendancy and after probing further, they got the goal their efforts deserved to clinch a 2-1 win. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both the sets of players.
Michail Antonio for West Ham vs. Leeds:
◉ Most touches in opp. box (8)
◉ Most shots (7)
◉ Most chances created (4)
◉ Most fouls won (4)
◉ Most shots on target (3)
And a last minute winner. 😍 pic.twitter.com/S3p83W3vMo
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 25, 2021
Illan Meslier: 8/10
West Ham made a bright start to the game and it was up to Meslier to keep the ball out of his goal, which is exactly what he did, denying Michail Antonio and Said Benrahma with brilliant saves. Did not stand a chance of saving the shot from Jarrod Bowen, after it took a deflection off Liam Cooper as well as Junior Firpo while Antonio’s finish was top notch.
Jamie Shackleton: 5/10
A surprise selection at right-back, Shackleton was largely pinned in his own half and struggled to get a grip on the pace of the game at times. Could not contain Benrahma on several occasions while also losing the ball cheaply at times. Dancing around when Antonio scored the winner.
Charlie Cresswell: 6/10
With a number of central defensive options missing, Marcelo Bielsa imposed his faith in Charlie Cresswell, who made his Premier League debut on Saturday. And the 19-year-old stood up to the task at hand well, looking good even when West Ham were in the ascendancy. However, he let the visitors get on top thanks to some poor passing, which is something he will iron out with every game he plays.
🎙️ "I'm gutted we've lost" Charlie Cresswell reflects on today's loss pic.twitter.com/mJDuVAl3L3
— Leeds United (@LUFC) September 25, 2021
Liam Cooper: 7/10
The return of Antonio was always going to make things tricky for Cooper, but the Leeds captain held his ground well for the most part. That being said, there were a few nervy moments against the West Ham striker, although he did put his body on the line several times, completing three blocks in addition to making two clearances and as many interceptions. Won 12 duels as well.
Junior Firpo: 5/10
Another game to forget for Junior Firpo, who just is not managing to string together a run of positive performances. This time around, the Spaniard did well for the most part and completed five tackles. However, he was bizarrely bang in the middle of the box when he ought to have been marking Jarrod Bowen for the equaliser.
Kalvin Phillips: 6/10
Stationed at the base of the midfield, Phillips did well to grow into the game and keep a check on West Ham after the visitors’ strong start to the game. Distributed the ball smartly, although there were a few sloppy moments as well. Got overrun on a number of occasions when West Ham piled on the pressure in the second half.
Passed fit to start, Raphinha was typically a bundle of energy, with his blitzing counter-attacking moves being nothing short of delightful while some of his touches were simply exquisite. Posed the greatest goal threat for Leeds and got his goal with a sublime finish. Was a thorn on West Ham’s side but had to be taken off due to his recent hip injury. Leeds completely fizzled out after he went off.
⚽️ vs. Newcastle
⚽️ vs. West Ham
Raphinha has now scored goals from outside the box in back-to-back Premier League games. 👏 pic.twitter.com/dJtKpV5liL
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 25, 2021
Mateusz Klich: 7/10
Klich has not really made a bright start to the season, but this was a fine performance by the Polish midfielder, who was involved in many of Leeds’ dangerous moves. Played three key passes and set Raphinha up for the opener. Struggled to make an impact post the interval, especially following Raphinha’s substitution.
Stuart Dallas: 6/10
Deployed in his more preferred midfield spot despite the absence of Luke Ayling, Dallas seemed to revel in the role, especially in the first half. Was here, there and everywhere in Leeds’ best moments but faded post the interval. Had a shot well saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
Daniel James: 5/10
Starting ahead of Jack Harrison on the left flank, James had a lot riding on his shoulders, but he did not really manage to get used to the pace of the game, managing just eight touches before being taken off at half-time. Back to the drawing board.
Rodrigo Moreno: 7/10
With Patrick Bamford unavailable due to injury, Rodrigo got a rare opportunity to lead the line for Leeds. While he did not get many chances coming his way, the Spaniard put the opposition players under pressure with his pressing, forcing a mistake out of Tomas Soucek before picking the right pass in the build-up to Raphinha’s goal. Could not make much of an impact in the second half.
Jack Harrison: 5/10
On for James, Harrison continued pretty much from where the Welshman had left off, struggling to put Coufal in any sort of pressure. Created no chances and did not test Lukasz Fabianski either.
Tyler Roberts: 5/10
On for Raphinha, Roberts struggled to get into the game, although he did complete each of the passes he attempted.
Crysencio Summerville: N/A
A late introduction, Summerville barely had any time to make an impact.
West Ham United
Lukasz Fabianski: 6/10
It was the goalkeepers’ show on Saturday, and Fabianski did extremely well to deny Raphinha while also charging from the goal-line smartly. In all, the veteran Polish goalkeeper made four big saves, but he could not have done anything to deny the Leeds talisman for his goal.
Vladimir Coufal: 7/10
Coufal was not as involved as he usually is going forward, with most of West Ham’s moves flowing through the wings. However, the Czech international still hustled on and played three key passes while being extremely solid at the back, neutralising Daniel James to good effect.
Kurt Zouma: 6/10
Continuing his run in the side after a brilliant showing against Manchester United last weekend, Zouma once again proved to be a solid customer at the heart of the West Ham defence, making four clearances and a couple of blocks while winning each of his aerial duels.
Angelo Ogbonna: 6/10
A reasonably solid performance by Ogbonna, who, apart from being caught out in the moment when Leeds opened the scoring did well enough to negate the influence of Rodrigo Moreno, winning four duels. Poor when playing out from the back, though, completing just 60 percent of his attempted passes.
Aaron Cresswell: 6/10
Nowhere to be seen when Raphinha found himself in acres of space to score the opener. Indeed, the Brazilian attacker gave him a lot to be concerned about, although he improved a fair bit in the second period. Not at his reliable best on the ball, losing possession 17 times, although he did play a couple of key passes.
Tomas Soucek: 6/10
Usually a reliable customer for West Ham, Soucek made an uncharacteristic howler to set Leeds up for the counter which created the opening goal. However, after a poor first half, the Czech midfielder was much-improved post the interval, getting involved in most of the good moments for West Ham.
Declan Rice: 7/10
A typically tenacious showing by Rice, who provided a solid presence in the middle of the park, winning a couple of duels while completing a couple of tackles as well. Grew in the game after being overrun a few times in the first half but ended the match strongly, providing the assist for Antonio.
Declan Rice. Michail Antonio. PERFECTION 😍 pic.twitter.com/Edeqy6Ykks
— Luís (@luiscgs00) September 25, 2021
Jarrod Bowen: 7/10
As is the case so often, Bowen was extremely precise with his efforts in the final third. This time around, though, the Englishman was not really involved in the moves that West Ham created, with most of their openings coming from the left flank. Did manage to equalise through his deflected effort, which proved to be the spark for the comeback win.
Pablo Fornals: 6/10
Deployed centrally this time around, Fornals was heavily involved whenever West Ham created the openings in the final third. Played two key passes while even coming close with an effort, although there were a few wasteful touches here and there.
Said Benrahma: 7/10
Benrahma has been the most consistent player for West Ham this season and on Saturday, he was in his elements again. Linked up superbly with Michail Antonio, who set up a fine chance for him, only to be denied by brilliantly by Meslier. Did not shy away from his defensive duties either, with a tackle early on being admirable. Unlucky to take nothing from this game.
Michail Antonio: 8/10
Back in the lineup after missing the game last weekend due to a suspension, Antonio was in fine touch, linking up well with Benrahma, in particular. Dropped back down and held the ball well when under pressure and ought to have really had multiple goals and assists before he finally got on the scoresheet with a superb finish from close range after starting the move. What a return.
Michail Antonio has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other player so far this season:
👕 5 games
⚽️ 5 goals
🅰️ 3 assists
Straight back at it. pic.twitter.com/MxsK4KtS2O
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) September 25, 2021
Nikola Vlasic: N/A
On for Fornals, Vlasic did not see a lot of the ball late on.
Craig Dawson: N/A
A late introduction, Dawson helped see the game out.
Andriy Yarmolenko: N/A
Came on to kill off the remaining seconds left in the game.