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Pascal Struijk steals show in Leeds United win over West Ham

Jack Harrison netted his first-ever hat-trick to hand Leeds United an impressive win over West Ham United on Sunday afternoon.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side avenged last weekend’s FA Cup heartbreak by clinching all three points at the London Stadium, moving them nine points clear of the relegation zone.

The Argentine was without several players due to injury once again and named a bench that contained only one first-team star and even despite picking up further problems to Adam Forshaw and Junior Firpo, the Yorkshire giants sealed the victory.

A fierce strike to open the scoring, a delightful dink and the all-important match-winner from the former Manchester City dynamo was enough to steer Leeds to glory.

Leeds fans, who was your MOTM vs West Ham?

HARRISON

HARRISON

STRUIJK

STRUIJK

RAPHINHA

RAPHINHA

MESLIER

MESLIER

However, there was an unsung hero amongst the starting XI – Pascal Struijk.

The Dutch colossus returned from injury, slotted straight back in and centre-back and looked like an absolute Rolls-Royce once again.

As per SofaScore, he led the visiting side for touches (71), proving to be a key cog in starting most of their attacks and in the absence of Kalvin Phillips, it was Struijk who stepped up with those long diagonal balls that set the likes of Harrison and Raphinha racing through.

Indeed, he made five accurate long balls from his 43 total passes.

Elsewhere, the 22-year-old was an absolute brick wall at the back, registering a team-high five tackles, three clearances, two blocks and one interception. He also won 100% of his ground duels up against a tricky talisman in Michail Antonio, which is mighty impressive.

LeedsLive reporter Beren Cross was equally excited by Struijk’s display, also reinforcing the way in which he kept the Jamaican international quiet.

‘Excellent on his return to the side. Looked so solid and anticipated danger very well all afternoon. Kept Michail Antonio largely pocketed for the full 90 minutes,’ he wrote in his post-game column.

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Leeds were beaten by Spurs in their first game of 2021 but what was the scoreline?

It’s no wonder the £18m-rated defender has been lauded as a “beast” by other reporters in the past. He looked like he had never been out of the side down in east London and deserves just as many plaudits as the goalscoring hero.

Struijk arguably stole the show against the Hammers, at the very least, he’s was an underrated and influential reason behind their stunning victory.

AND in other news, Beren Cross drops positive Raphinha contract update

Article title: Pascal Struijk steals show in Leeds United win over West Ham

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