Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has pinpointed the two players who are key to the Hammers ahead of Monday’s clash.
The game is huge for the Irons’ hopes of qualifying for the Champions League this season.
Leeds, too, can strengthen their claim on a top-10 finish; Bielsa’s men are currently 11th and, if results go their way, could climb into the top-half with a victory over the Irons next week.
The eccentric Argentinan was asked about the form of the Hammers in his pre-match press conference and he pinpointed Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek as key to the way David Moyes sets the Irons up.
Quoted by Football.London, he said: “A secret or something special I don’t observe. They’ve been able to maintain a stable partnership in midfield. Two players who are very important.”
Bielsa also took the time to praise the full-backs at the club, and has been impressed with how the Irons have dealt with the setback of Arthur Masuaku’s injury, reserving special praise for Aaron Cresswell and his set-pieces.
He added: “The four full-backs that they possess are important players and they’ve resolved the absence of Masuaku. The centre-backs, not only have they been strong at the back but they have contributed goals in attack.
“They have a very good set-piece taker with his left foot [Cresswell] and the manager has been able to obtain some very good minutes of football with that team.”
The reverse fixture ended in a 2-1 win for the Irons back in December, with Angelo Ogbonna powering in a late winner.