West Ham maintained their unlikely push for a place in next season’s Champions League with a deserved Premier League victory over Leeds United at London Stadium.
David Moyes’ side climbed to fifth – two points behind Chelsea, who beat Everton 2-0 earlier on Monday – and have a game in hand on their London rivals.
Jesse Lingard sparked West Ham into life when his menacing run into the penalty area drew a foul from Luke Ayling. Lingard, on loan from Manchester United, converted the rebound after his spot-kick was saved by Illan Meslier.
Leeds had found the net twice in a blistering opening spell, but Tyler Roberts’ finish was ruled out for a marginal offside against Helder Costa, and Raphinha ran the ball out of play before crossing to Patrick Bamford.
But they were two goals down before half-time when the unmarked Craig Dawson headed in Aaron Cresswell’s corner.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds went close to a response five minutes after the restart when Raphinha’s sensational overhead attempt was tipped over by Lukasz Fabianski, while Bamford blazed over from Raphinha’s cut-back and Dawson cleared off the line as Leeds chased a late lifeline.
Pablo Fornals struck the crossbar with a dipping second-half shot, but the Hammers ultimately held firm at the back to see out the three points.
Rice and Soucek at heart of West Ham efforts
Moyes said on Sunday that he would not sell England midfielder Declan Rice for £100m, which was reported to be the club’s valuation.
This match was the latest reminder of why Moyes is keen to ward off potential suitors as, alongside the equally dependable Tomas Soucek, Rice proved the antidote to Leeds’ incessant pressing, particularly in a second half which the visitors dominated for large periods.
In Rice and £19m summer signing Soucek, former Everton and Manchester United boss Moyes has a holding midfield combination he can trust, allowing West Ham’s attacking players to flourish.
Such solid foundations enable Lingard to shine. This was his fourth goal in six league appearances since his January move – as many as he had managed in his previous 38 in the competition for United.
Dawson, on loan from Watford, continues to prove as shrewd a signing as any. This was his 11th successive league start at the heart of West Ham’s defence and his fourth goal in all competitions this term.
Involved at both ends on Monday, he hit a post with another header before half-time and somehow prevented Rodrigo’s shot from creeping over the line in the closing stages.
A European place in any form would mark significant progress for a West Ham side which finished only five points clear of the relegation places last season. With 11 games to play, a Champions League place remains a real possibility.
More to follow.
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West Ham United
- 11LingardBooked at 79minsSubstituted forJohnsonat 87′minutes
- 9BenrahmaSubstituted forBowenat 73′minutes
- 23PhillipsBooked at 49mins
- 17Hélder CostaSubstituted forHarrisonat 45′minutes
- 11RobertsSubstituted forRodrigoat 60′minutes
- 43KlichSubstituted forAlioskiat 45′minutes
Match ends, West Ham United 2, Leeds United 0.
Second Half ends, West Ham United 2, Leeds United 0.
Attempt blocked. Pablo Fornals (West Ham United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Michail Antonio.
Attempt missed. Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.
Attempt saved. Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Foul by Luke Ayling (Leeds United).
Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, West Ham United. Ben Johnson replaces Jesse Lingard.
Stuart Dallas (Leeds United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Declan Rice (West Ham United).
Attempt missed. Rodrigo (Leeds United) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Patrick Bamford.
Jesse Lingard (West Ham United) is shown the yellow card.
Raphinha (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United).
Attempt missed. Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Raphinha.
Attempt missed. Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jack Harrison.
Attempt missed. Declan Rice (West Ham United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jesse Lingard following a set piece situation.
Foul by Diego Llorente (Leeds United).
Tomas Soucek (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Jack Harrison (Leeds United) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left.