Leeds United will play at the London Stadium for the first time on Monday evening when they travel down to take on West Ham.
It’ll be the first time the two sides have met in the top-flight in the capital since 2002. The Whites ran out 4-3 winners in a thrilling encounter at Upton Park.
Both sides are having very successful seasons in the 2020/21 campaign. Leeds are pushing for a top ten finish in their first Premier League season for 16 years, whilst the Hammers are in the hunt for the European places.
When the two sides met in November West Ham left with all three points. Goals from Tomas Soucek and Angelo Ogbonna were enough to battle back from an early Mateusz Klich spot-kick.
Top goalscorer Partick Bamford won the penalty on the night but also squandered some chances to increase the lead. His clash with West Ham’s Craig Dawson will bey key on Monday, MOT Leeds have taken a closer look.
Battle of the Brits
Bamford, at the minute, is in a bit of a barren run. He’s scored once in his last four games, which is his worst spell of the season. He’s been very influential to the Leeds attack this season, scoring 13 and assisting five. But it didn’t exactly go his way in the reverse fixture.
By his standards, the Englishman had a bit of a quiet evening. Despite winning the penalty, he was unable to get involved in the play and was marked closely by Angelo Ogbonna and Fabian Balbuena.
The number nine registered three shots at goal but only one forced a save from Lukasz Fabianski [WyScout]. This time he’ll come up against Diop and Dawson, but the Englishman will take the role of marking him.
Despite being part of the woeful Watford defence last season, Dawson got a move to West Ham in the summer. He was part of a side in 2019/20 that conceded 64 goals, the fourth most in the division.
He’s looked a different animal this year. Since making his Hammers debut in the goalless draw with Southampton, Dawson has been ever-present in the side. He’s played 11 games in a row, in which West Ham have won seven and kept five clean sheets. They conceded 0 goals in his first four matches in all competitions, making it the most successful debut spell ever of any West Ham defender.
The key battle between the two will be in the air, of which both players are very confident. Dawson has won 61.8% of his aerial duels, and even scored headers against Crystal Palace and Liverpool last month. Bamford has had the most headed attempts at goal in the top-flight, with 27. This battle will be very interesting to follow.
Leeds’ frontman is averaging 2.95 attempts on goal per match, with 46.15% of those hitting the target. He’s been clinical this season and is forcing saves every game. West Ham’s Dawson has demonstrated excellent ability at reading the game, he makes 5.73 interceptions and 9.02 recoveries per 90 minutes.
The defender has also shown he’s good on the ball. So far, 82.7% of his passes have been successful. He achieved 89% of this against Manchester City last week, a team who like Leeds United press well from the front. Dawson is confident in possession and this will bode well for him against the philosophy of Bielsa.
The winner of this one-on-one could decide the match overall. Bamford has been deadly in front of goal this year, but Dawson has proved all his doubters wrong, even his own fans. It’ll be a close call, no doubt.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites have enquired about Brentford goal-machine Ivan Toney.