Sunday afternoon’s Premier League fixture with Leeds United in Stratford set all sorts of new records, not only was it Marcelo Bielsa’s first win in East London but it also meant that David Moyes’ unbeaten run against the West Yorkshire club is over and it was West Ham United’s first defeat of 2022.
Moyes named an unchanged side from the encounter against newly-promoted Norwich City four days ago, though he did include Development Squad player Sonny Perkins amongst the substitutes.
It’s not always the case but having had a week’s break after last Sunday’s defeat by the East Londoners, Leeds made a quick start to the game, determined to make amends for their Emirates FA Cup defeat here a week ago and they were ahead in the tenth minute through Jack Harrison. The former Manchester City youngster had his initial effort blocked by Craig Dawson and then Mateusz Klich’s shot was well dealt with by Łukasz Fabiański, then the ball fell back to Harrison, who gave the Pole no chance.
The visitors were set to pile more pressure on West Ham but thankfully Daniel James missed the chance to increase their advantage just minutes later.
West Ham eventually got their rhythm going and after both Michail Antonio and Dawson went close, Jarrod Bowen, who had come up with so many goals recently added another one to his tally and levelled the scores.
The joy from those in the home end only lasted a matter of three minutes as Harrison beat Fabiański again.
Bielsa’s men could have even been further in front before the break. James, who had two chances to equalise seven days earlier, wasted one here. He did well to latch onto Raphinha’s through ball but thankfully, he didn’t make the most of the chance, making it easy for Fabiański to hold onto.
Both teams were having a real go before the break and West Ham tried their luck again on a couple of occasions but couldn’t yet find another goal. Both Captain Declan Rice and Bowen had good opportunities but neither could find a way through.
The visitors went into half-time only one goal ahead but looking far more dangerous than they were last weekend.
The home side were desperate to equalise again and when referee Mike Dean restarted the action, they were intent to do just that. Seven minutes in, Pablo Fornals sent a great shot into the net past goalkeeper Illan Meslier.
The men from West Yorkshire were again pressurising but fortunately, Stuart Dallas sent the ball wide from Harrison’s cross.
This was becoming an all action encounter and it swung back in favour of the visitors on the hour mark when Harrison claimed a hat-trick after seeing Fabiański off his line and sending the ball into the empty net.
Immediately after that goal, Moyes made his first change, as Arthur Masuaku took the place of Nikola Vlašić and eight minutes later, Andriy Yarmolenko entered the fray for Fornals.
Leeds made the margin of victory even wider when Klich found the net shortly after Raphinha had hit the post but the Hammers were relieved to see that VAR had ruled it out.
The home fans were to suffer the same fate soon after, as Yarmolenko had a goal disallowed and it didn’t look like it was going to be West Ham’s day.
Eighty seven minutes had passed before Moyes made his final substitution with Issa Diop being replaced by Perkins.
Four minutes were added on at the end of the game and deep into that allotted period, Bowen had a golden chance to equalise but failed to make the most of it, meaning that when Dean blew the final whistle, the points were heading to Elland Road.
The East Londoners have a tough trip to come on Saturday, as they travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United where they will be hoping for a second win there this season.