David Moyes said the video assistant referee is making “terrible decisions” in the Premier League, despite seeing us fight back to beat Leeds and move up to fifth.
Leeds had gone in front when Mateusz Klich converted a twice-taken sixth-minute penalty, with VAR ordering the retake after ruling keeper Lukasz Fabianski had stepped off his goalline.
But our lads – who had won just once on the previous 26 occasions when they had conceded first in a Premier League game – levelled when Illan Meslier failed to stop Tomas Soucek’s soft header and won it with 10 minutes to go through Angelo Ogbonna’s header.
“There are some terrible decisions that are happening at the moment,” Moyes said. “Whoever saw it must have had [Fabianski’s foot] X-rayed. The decision was rubbish.
“It was a definite penalty. I was angry. I am still angry. This is the way football has gone. I think his heel is on the line. You need to have a microscope to see it. Surely the benefit should go to the goalkeeper, he has made the save. The game continued for 15 seconds and carried on. I am disappointed and angry with it.”
In an entertaining game where both sides created numerous chances, Meslier atoned for his error in the equaliser when he superbly kept out a second-half header from Fabian Balbuena and saved Sebastien Haller’s overhead kick.
After Ogbonna rose at the far post to power home Aaron Creswell’s inviting free-kick for what proved the winner, Leeds wasted their best chance to level when Rodrigo headed straight at Lukasz Fabianski from six yards.
We went on to register our first victory at Elland Road in 20 years and we have now won four games out of five.
Even though Elland Road is his local Premier League ground, England boss Gareth Southgate gave this game a miss. It was a shame really because he would have seen two of his less heralded potential Euro 2020 candidates facing each other.
Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips were rarely in the same area so it could not be termed a head-to-head battle but it was interesting to see how both went about the defensive screening role they were asked to fulfil.
As the West Ham formation was less fluid and Phillips’ role in the Leeds side was clear, it was easier to watch the Yorkshireman go about his work as he tried to shut down Said Benrahma on his first start for the Hammers.
Given the amount of time he had the ball and the fact Phillips got tighter to him after half-time, the assumption would be that Marcelo Bielsa wasn’t entirely happy with the opening period.
In contrast, Rice had more opportunity to get forward as he had the insurance of Soucek alongside him. There was also more cover in defence, which meant Rice had greater opportunity to use his excellent passing range.
It is clear Rice’s unfussy approach is well suited to life at the top end of the Premier League but Moyes must hope his captain hangs around for a bit because the Scot has built a very effective team, very much in the mould of the one he created at Everton.
Jose Mourinho has already likened Soucek to Marouane Fellaini. If so, then Cresswell’s set-piece delivery is akin to that of another stalwart of Moyes’ Goodison Park era, Leighton Baines.
His free-kick to the far post screamed for someone to get on the end of it. Ogbonna obliged with his first Premier League goal away from London Stadium in three years.