Michail Antonio delivered an impressive, gut-busting performance as West Ham beat Leeds 2-0, despite the striker not getting on the scoresheet on Monday night.
The 30-year-old opened the action at the London Stadium, striving to maintain his run of form in front of the net, having fired home in each of his last two Premier League outings.
Chances to add to his record where few and far between at home to Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites, but Antonio never let a lack of service prevent him from running his heart out to offer attacking support for those around him.
Antonio particularly offered a hand to Jesse Lingard in the closing stages, when the Manchester United loanee began to appear jaded before David Moyes introduced Ben Johnson from the bench.
Antonio’s endless willingness to run also kept the Leeds backline on their heels and stretched them further apart than they would have liked, while his presence in the box prevented Illan Meslier from meeting Aaron Cresswell’s cross, which was headed home by Craig Dawson.
Tomas Soucek almost had his ninth goal of the Premier League season thanks to Antonio too, but the Czech Republic titan could only head the forward’s delivery wide of the post moments before Lingard went down under a challenge from Luke Ayling in the box.
The cross was an inviting one for Soucek to burry with the game still level at 0-0 despite Leeds’ early pressure, as West Ham sought to find a foothold in proceedings after an off-the-pace opening quarter of an hour.
But missing the chance let the Whites off the hook for a moment and denied Antonio what would have been his fourth assist of the season, which he was again denied in the final stages when Pablo Fornals’ attempt was blocked.
Setting up Soucek and Fornals for shots saw Antonio end the night as the joint-most creative West Ham player with two key passes with Lingard and Cresswell, per WhoScored.
Antonio was also one of only three Irons men to feature at any stage to register a successful dribble, while taking 45 touches – only Soucek (51) and Cresswell (56) recorded more.
The London-born striker only averages 33 touches per Premier League game this season, while playing 0.8 key passes and making 1.4 successful dribbles, per SofaScore.
And yet it was Soucek and Declan Rice who iNews praised for running Leeds into the ground, as they were a tireless presence in the engine room and once again performed as the best part of West Ham’s season.
However, that goes for Antonio just as much against Leeds as it did for Soucek, while Rice was a Man of the Match contender, as the forward sacrificed his run of goals for the greater good but saw his performance slip somewhat under the radar as a result.
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