Jack Harrison scored a stunning hat-trick as Leeds United registered an enthralling 3-2 victory against West Ham to dent the hosts’ top-four hopes.
West Ham United started the game in a lethargic way. On the other hand, Leeds began pressing their opponents from the get-go. The Whites capitalised on their early dominance, with Jack Harrison thumping a crisply struck drive into the bottom corner.
The momentum soon shifted in West Ham’s favour after Leeds were hit with injuries, as Junior Firpo and Adam Forshaw hobbled off the pitch midway through the first half. The visitors were undone by a set-piece as Aaron Cresswell’s dipping corner found Jarrod Bowen, who converted to continue his excellent goalscoring run.
Minutes later, Leeds restored the advantage from a set-piece routine themselves, with Harrison bundling Luke Ayling’s deflected header over the line. When Pablo Fornals equalised again seven minutes after the interval, it appeared West Ham would go on to win the game, but Leeds reacted splendidly.
Harrison’s precise finish following a fantastic play by Raphinha regained his side a slender one-goal lead. There was still time for Raphinha to hit the crossbar with a superb free-kick before Mateusz Klich and Andriy Yarmolenko both had goals ruled out for offside. Bowen had a great chance to salvage a point for the Hammers late in the game but sent his effort over the bar to hand Leeds the victory.
With this win, Leeds moved up to 15th place, nine points above the relegation zone, while West Ham remained in fourth place with 37 points, but the sides below them have at least two games in hand. After a wildly entertaining affair at the London Stadium, The Hard Tackle will now run the rule over both sets of players.
West Ham United
Lukasz Fabianski: 5.5/10
The Polish keeper was not convincing for his side as he let in three goals. Unluckily, his stop from Mateusz Klich fell to Adam Forshaw, who set up Harrison for the opener. He could not have done much about the second or third, given the poor defending in front of him.
Vladimir Coufal: 6/10
Coufal was caught out of position for the third goal, but it was majorly a decent overall performance. He could not deal with the pressure from Harrison, who found his knack for goalscoring boots out of the blue. He won six aerial duels, made three tackles, and fired two shots on target.
Craig Dawson: 4/10
Dawson had a terrible game by all standards. His central defensive partnership with Issa Diop never looked settled on the afternoon and struggled throughout, leaking goals due to poor positioning, lack of mobility and some horrendous defending. He missed a crucial header for the second goal while he should have scored from a close-range header at the other end.
Issa Diop: 4/10
He was feeble with challenges and put his teammates under pressure with poor balls out from the back on several occasions. He looked rusty and error-prone, which contrasted with his good performance in previous games. Kurt Zouma will replace him to take his position at the heart of the Hammers’ backline from the next game.
Aaron Cresswell: 6/10
One of the few bright spots for West Ham on the day, his superb set-piece deliveries provided the Hammers’ with greater potency in attack. He provided the assist for his team’s second goal. However, he struggled against Raphinha, who became a nagging nuisance for Cresswell throughout the 90 minutes.
Manuel Lanzini: 6/10
The Argentine had a rare off-day in a long while as he could not get a hold of the ball enough to make any sort of impact in the final third. Lanzini made four tackles and two aerial headers, but he could not record a goal or an assist. He was another player looking off the pace due to playing three games in a week as the Leeds midfield played their way out easily through West Ham’s press.
Declan Rice: 7/10
The English midfielder worked hard defensively in the absence of Tomas Soucek. Still, he was arguably the most dangerous West Ham player going forward with his commanding driving runs from deep as he pushed for the equaliser until the final whistle.
Pablo Fornals: 7/10
Fornals first goal since early November made it 2-2 early in the second half, and it was a pretty well-taken one. He ran his socks off and was a constant nuisance for Leeds’ midfielders.
Jarrod Bowen: 7/10
Jarrod Bowen's last five home games:
⚽️ vs. Chelsea
🅰️ vs. Southampton
⚽️ vs. Leeds United
⚽️⚽️ vs. Norwich
⚽️ vs. Leeds United
In the form of his life. ⚒ pic.twitter.com/IqHd6ij5i5
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 16, 2022
The Englishman is in a really rich vein of form at the moment and bagged his fourth goal in three games. Bowen constantly found promising positions in Leeds’ box and would be fairly disappointed to only come away with a single goal to his name. It was a really well-taken goal, heading home from Aaron Cresswell’s corner. But he missed a glorious chance at the death to salvage a point for his side.
Michail Antonio: 6/10
Antonio’s build-up play was good as he held the ball up extremely well and kept plugging away with runs in behind but struggled for service down the middle. Despite being tightly marked by Leeds’ Pascal Struijk, he claimed an assist but would be fairly disappointed with himself as he failed to register even a single shot on target.
Nikola Vlasic: 4/10
Nikola Vlasic was fairly anonymous and did not really make much of an impact before David Moyes’ subbed him off. He switched off when he was caught in possession just before Leeds third goal.
Arthur Masuaku: 5/10
He came on at the hour mark but could not keep Leeds United at bay and was pinned back. He squandered a great opening with a sloppy cross.
Andriy Yarmolenko: 6/10
Yarmolenko came on in the 69th minute to help West Ham in their quest to find an equaliser. He offered an additional threat for Leeds to deal with and saw a goal chalked off for marginal offside.
Sonny Perkins: N/A
Illan Meslier: 7/10
Although West Ham attacked with intent, they did not put Meslier to test apart from the two goals, both in which the Frenchman was helpless. He produced a phenomenal double save in the final ten minutes.
Stuart Dallas: 6.5/10
Dallas should bear the blame for West Ham’s first goal after losing track of Bowen in the penalty area during a corner kick. But he recovered well from his early mistake. His versatility was utilised handily by Marcelo Bielsa as the Northern Irishman put in a strong performance and played a part in Harrison’s third goal.
Luke Ayling: 6/10
Luke Ayling not only kept Antonio at bay, but he also assisted his team’s second goal with a decent header. He also sent a wonderful long ball over the top for Raphinha to run onto in the build-up to the opener. He tried to push Leeds to get the fourth goal. However, some of the defensive play was not good enough, and his passing from the back was appalling, putting his teammates in high-risk situations.
Pascal Struijk: 7/10
Pascal Struijk was phenomenal for Leeds this afternoon. No player won more tackles (5/5) than him today and he made the most ball recoveries (15), won the most defensive aerial duels (4) and made the most blocks (2) of any other player involved. 💪 pic.twitter.com/ZGW7xMR1xY
— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) January 16, 2022
Despite surrendering two goals, Pascal Struijk was one of Leeds United’s best defenders on the day. Struijk did not back down from the physical battle despite being handed the difficult task of containing Antonio. He marshalled the West Ham striker throughout the 90 minutes and gave nothing away. Overall, he produced an excellent defensive showing on his return to the side.
Junior Firpo: 5/10
Had not really kicked on before his hamstring started to bother him. He showed alertness in dealing with Bowen’s danger on the right flank before being forced off inside the opening 25 minutes.
Robin Koch: 6.5/10
Koch put in a great effort as Bielsa deployed the German international in a defensive midfield role once more. He ran about the field chasing his markers and broke up the play on a few occasions. With Adam Forshaw injured, that duty may be assigned to Koch for a longer period than anticipated, but it would not be a cause of concern if he keeps performing like this.
Adam Forshaw: 7/10
Only played a quarter of the game before leaving the pitch with a hamstring injury, but he was excellent in a more advanced role. Not only did he assist Harrison’s opener with a crucial lay-off, but he was playing neat passes on the spin with pace and accuracy while spraying the long balls effortlessly into wide areas.
Mateusz Klich: 8/10
The Poland international had a solid afternoon in the engine room as he helped the Whites keep the pressure while also providing that crucial link-up to build plays around. Klich will be disappointed that his goal was disallowed because the ball brushed an offside Rodrigo before going over the line, but he was getting into great positions around the box.
Raphinha vs. West Ham:
26/35 successful passes
11/14 final third passes
10 ball recoveries
7 chances created (🥇)
5 duels won
2 big chances created
2 successful take-ons
2 successful crosses
2 times fouled
1 tackle won
1 woodwork shot
1 assist 🅰️ pic.twitter.com/go3Tms1vPn
— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) January 16, 2022
Much better from the Brazilian after a couple of relatively quiet games compared to his high standards. He carried the ball beautifully and provided penetration and flair in the final third and he was electric throughout the game. His assist for Harrison’s third goal was spectacular, and he should have had another when he spotted Klich sprinting into the penalty area. Raphinha also rattled the woodwork with a breath-taking free-kick.
Daniel James: 6/10
James continues to struggle as a centre-forward. He did not make much of an impression at West Ham, but he missed a huge scoring opportunity in the first half to extend Leeds advantage when he shot straight at Fabianski when one-on-one with the West Ham goalkeeper before firing another attempt just wide. Having said that, he pressed intensely from the front and ran about the pitch in an attempt to get the ball back.
Jack Harrison: 10/10
Harrison scored his maiden career hat-trick in what was a remarkable afternoon for the Englishman. He showcased great anticipation and determination to score his first two goals, while his third was a confident finish, a cheeky dink over the keeper in a one-on-one situation – as composed as it gets.
Jack Harrison vs. West Ham:
20/32 successful passes
10/16 final third passes
8 penalty box touches
5 duels won
3 shots on-target
3 goals ⚽️⚽️⚽️
2 chances created
2 tackles won
1 successful take-on
1 time fouled
Match ball. 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/xY6d7KlmLb
— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) January 16, 2022
Lewis Bate: 5/10
Bate was thrown into the midst of a heated contest, and he failed to come to grips with the intensity of the game and was subsequently substituted in the second half.
Leo Hjelde: 5/10
Leo Hjelde was impressive after replacing Junior Firpo in the first quarter of the game. Certainly better suited for a central role, but was more than comfortable playing as the full-back against some red-hot attackers.
Replaced Bate in the 65th minute but did not have much of an impact. His involvement from an offside position saw Klich’s goal get ruled out.