West Ham United's 2-0 Win Over Leeds Was Deserved, But Not Without Controversy

Elsewhere, Liverpool and Spurs both came from a goal down to beat underdog opponents
16:06, 09 Jan 2022

West Ham United are through to the FA Cup fourth round, after a controlled display at the London Stadium. The 2-0 was a fair reflection of proceedings, as David Moyes’ side were in control for the most part. Leeds United, who named two young debutants alongside handing a first start to 19-year-old striker Sam Greenwood, did rally late on but an injury time strike from Jarrod Bowen sealed their fate.

The age-old offside debate reared its unwelcome head in the first half, with the arguments raging around Manuel Lanzini’s opener. Nikola Vlasic had a shot blocked by Leeds debutant Leo Hjelde, which was kept alive by Jarrod Bowen. The ball trickled free, and Lanzini dispatched it into the net. The controversy centred upon whether Bowen was offside during a tangle of touches that took place before the Argentinian got his shot away. The former Hull City forward certainly was offside for part of the move, but it is debatable how much he was interfering with play. After a VAR consultation, it was decided the goal would stand.

Despite Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa introducing Raphinha and Stuart Dallas at half time, the Hammers remained in the ascendancy. Michail Antonio terrorised Diego Llorente throughout the half. First he left Spaniard standing and flashed a dangerous cross through for Bowen. Next, he sent Llorente tumbling with a slick turn before once again finding Bowen, whose angled shot drew a superb save from Illan Meslier.

Despite the dominance, Leeds did have one golden opportunity to at least take this tie to extra time. Raphinha found Mateusz Klich with a floated pass, and the Poland international’s cross-shot was very nearly turned in by Daniel James. The chance arrived completely against the run of play, but showed the danger Bielsa’s side still posed. 

James went close once again when Stuart Dallas whipped a low ball into the near post. Craig Dawson did exceptionally well to block off the Welshman, and the chance went begging. As the minutes ticked by, Leeds began to open West Ham up with their pace. Substitute Crysencio Summerville proved particularly adept at backing up the home side’s defence.

Just when it looked like Leeds were finding their footing, Bowen got the goal his performance deserved when Antonio led a counter-attack. West Ham’s talisman found Bowen, who kept his cool up against an on-rushing Meslier to slot it home.

Liverpool were made to fight for their win this afternoon at Anfield against a spirited Shrewsbury Town side. The travelling side initially took the lead after a teasing cross into the six-yard box was put away by Daniel Udoh in front of the away end. The joy however was short lived as Kaide Gorden bent an effort into the far corner from the right of the area in a Mo Salah esq strike. Minutes later Liverpool were awarded a penalty after centre-back Ethan Ebanks-Landell, handled tin the area. Fabinho stepped up and confidently put the penalty away. The second-half was easy enough for the home side and with 12 minutes left on the clock a cheeky backheel from 5-yards out by Roberto Firmino made it 3-1 to the hosts. A Fabinho header in the dying seconds wrapped up a 4-1 win for Jurgen Klopp’s side. 

Tottenham Hotspur were another prohibitive favourite forced into a comeback, when Morecambe took the lead in north London. Anthony O’Connor put the underdogs ahead just after the half-hour mark. The cavalry arrived in the form of Harry Winks, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane, as Antonio Conte’s blushes were saved.

SUNDAY FA CUP RESULTS:

Luton 4-0 Harrogate 

Cardiff City 1-1 Preston (going to extra time)

Charlton 0-1 Norwich 

Liverpool 4-1 Shrewsbury

Stoke 2-0 Leyton Orient

Tottenham 3-1 Morecambe

West Ham 2-0 Leeds

Wolves 3-0 Sheffield United

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