Smash & grab win for Gunners, Haller & Antonio squander chances & more- Talking Points from Arsenal 1-0 West Ham

Alexandre Lacazette’s second half goal, given after a lengthy VAR check, saw Arsenal edge West Ham 1-0 on Saturday afternoon in Game Week 29. With Watford and Bournemouth both losing and Brighton drawing, the Hammers could’ve potentially gone as high as 14th with a win against the Gunners, but their poor record at the Emirates continued as they slumped to defeat despite a strong performance.

Here are our talking points from the game.

Smash and grab win for Arsenal: Arsenal had nearly 70% of the ball, but they were very ordinary here. The quality of West Ham’s chances were far superior, and the visitors had six shots on target as opposed to the Gunners’ two.

The Arsenal goal also had an element of luck- Aubameyang’s pass took a wicked deflection off Declan Rice and it wrong-footed the Hammers defence before falling to Mesut Ozil, who chested the ball down to Lacazette to slot home from close range. It was also Ozil’s first open play assist in more than a year!

Hammers squander chances: As mentioned above, West Ham created several clear cut chances. They had a 2 on 1 in the 10th minute, with Michail Antonio and Sebastien Haller against David Luiz, but the French striker overran the ball. Another chance in the 18th minute saw Haller in a promising one on one with Bernd Leno, but the former’s first touch let him down. A third opportunity saw Diop’s header from a corner land at the feet of Antonio, but the striker inexplicably missed from point blank range. A fourth saw Antonio get a free header, but it was again squandered. [Read more…]

Arsenal vs West Ham Predictions- What do the pundits think of the Hammers’ chances?

David Moyes will be looking for his first away win against Arsenal as a Premier League manager when his charges square off against the Gunners on Saturday afternoon at the Emirates Stadium. The hosts are managed by Mikel Arteta, whom Moyes coached as a player during his stint at Goodison Park.

Arsenal come into this game on the back of a win in the FA Cup against Portsmouth, while West Ham also registered an important victory last weekend against Southampton.

Here is a look at what the pundits have predicted for this Round 29 clash.

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro says it was “imperative” for West Ham to beat Southampton last weekend and that victory may have given them “something to build on”. Reckons that while West Ham have their issues, the Gunners are not entirely without problems either, and has predicted a 1-1 draw.

His celebrity opponent this weekend, singer Tom Grennan, expects this to be a goalless stalemate. [Read more…]

Premier League postponed till April 30, announces FA

Another coronavirus update from the Premier League, who have now announced that the competition will be postponed till at least April 30. The original suspension of the league was till April 3, but with more cases of the epidemic emerging in the United Kingdom and schools being ordered to shut down, it’s now been extended till April 30.

UEFA moving Euro 2020 to 2021 has created some much needed space on the calendar for the domestic leagues, who will now be free to potentially continue the league later on in the summer. The FA’s regulations state that leagues must be completed by June 1 at the latest, but that will be relaxed in the wake of the virus, which appears to be world football’s biggest crisis since World War II. [Read more…]

Two strikers upfront, first start (and goal) for Jarrod Bowen, Haller’s rabona & more- Talking Points from West Ham 3-1 Southampton 2020

West Ham claimed a much needed win as they beat Southampton 3-1 at the London Stadium on Leap Day. Given their tough run of fixtures recently, this was a game that the Hammers would’ve targetted for three points, and they achieved it thanks to goals from Jarrod Bowen, Sebastien Haller and Michail Antonio.

Here are our talking points from West Ham’s game against Saints at the London Stadium.

Two strikers upfront works well: Moyes opted for Antonio to partner Haller upfront, and the two were excellent as a duo. Haller, who has often appeared lethargic and disinterested while playing as a sole striker this season, seemed to pick up his game in the company of the energetic Antonio.

Both of them scored goals and their presence forced Hasenhuttl to switch to a back three strategy in the second half to contain the duo, with Jannik Vestegaard coming in for Michael Obafemi.

The downside of this strategy is that it leaves West Ham a bit thin in midfield, where they can be overrun, as was illustrated in Southampton’s first goal on the counter, but the positives appear to outweigh the negatives currently.

First start and first goal for Jarrod Bowen: Given his first Premier League start, young Jarrod Bowen responded with a well taken goal to open the scoring for the Hammers. He didn’t shy away from his defensive responsibilities either, something that the likes of Anderson and Lanzini have often been criticised for. Perhaps a bit greedy on a couple of other occasions when he could’ve picked a team mate in a better position instead of going for goal himself, but a good performance nevertheless. [Read more…]

Tomas Soucek impressive on debut, Masuaku sub hurts West Ham & More- Talking Points from WHUFC 3-3 Brighton

West Ham dropped into the relegation zone as they squandered a two goal lead TWICE to draw 3-3 with fellow strugglers Brighton at the London Stadium. The result, coupled with Bournemouth’s 2-1 win at home against Aston Villa, pushed David Moyes’ men into the bottom three ahead of a tough set of fixtures for the club- 6 of their next 7 are against Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Wolves, Spurs and Chelsea.

Here are our talking points from West Ham’s 3-3 draw against Graham Potter’s men in Game Week 25.

Tomas Soucek impressive on debut: Czech midfielder Tomas Soucek was thrown into action straightaway today, and he impressed on debut. He played the furthest of West Ham’s three central midfielders in what appeared to be a 4-1-4-1 formation, and at times, almost looked like he was partnering Seb Haller as part of a duo upfront.

Didn’t shy away from the physical stuff, and very nearly got a debut goal early in the game, but Brighton keeper Mat Ryan did very well to save his header. Did a good pressing job in the first half too and played 85 minutes before being replaced. All in all, a more than satisfactory debut for the 24 year-old, and Hammers fans will be keen to see more of him in the future.

Masuaku substitution hurts West Ham: With Michail Antonio having run himself into the ground, David Moyes was left with no option but to bring him off, but his decision to bring Arthur Masuaku and play a more defensive system backfired. It was his botched clearance that lead to the mess that eventually resulted in Brighton’s second goal and his impact unfortunately seemed to mirror the Arsenal game, where West Ham lead 1-0 at the time of his introduction into the fixture, but ended up losing 3-1. [Read more…]

Media Player Ratings v West Brom (H)- How did the press rate West Ham’s players following FA Cup loss?

West Ham bowed out of the FA Cup at the hands of lower division opposition for the third season in succession as West Bromwich Albion claimed a 1-0 win at the London Stadium. The Baggies, currently managed by former Hammers gaffer Slaven Bilic, fielded a virtual reserve side and played the last 20 minutes with ten men following Semi Ajayi’s dismissal, but ran out deserved winners.

WHUFC boss David Moyes was so disappointed with his players that he made all three of his changes at half time, and added that he would’ve probably made “five or six” substitutions if the rulebook had permitted him. He also mentioned that it was a “lack of quality” rather than a lack of effort, indicating that some of the players who started the game were simply not Premier League standard, and this might be a cry to the owners to bring in some reinforcements before the winter window closes.

Moyes may well have been referring to Carlos Sanchez, the midfielder who didn’t cover himself in glory for WBA’s opener. The Colombian was hooked at half time, as were defender Fabian Balbuena and midfielder Pablo Fornals, with the trio of Mark Noble, Angelo Ogbonna and Michail Antonio replacing them. With their introduction, it was virtually a full strength West Ham side, but it still took them 85 minutes to register their first shot on target.

Here is a look at how the big newspapers across the country rated the players following this disappointing Cup exit.

Daily Mail: The Mail gave Balbuena a 3, with Sanchez and Fornals both being rated a 4/10 [Read more…]

Referee for Leicester vs West Ham 2020- Hammers have never won under him, Foxes yet to lose with him in charge!

The referee for West Ham’s Game Week 24 clash against Leicester at the King Power Stadium has been announced, and it’s an official under whom the Hammers are yet to win a Premier League fixture- David Coote. The Foxes, on the other hand, have never lost a game that he’s been in charge of so far, going all the way back to the time they were in the Championship!

Coote was also the referee when these two sides met last month at the London Stadium- West Ham lost 2-1 to what was effectively a B side fielded by Brendan Rodgers, resulting in the club parting ways with manager Manuel Pellegrini.

West Ham record under David Coote (P4- L3, D1)

West Ham 1-2 Leicester (December 2019, Loss)
Sheff Utd 1-1 West Ham (October 2019, Draw)
Wolves 3-0 West Ham (January 2019, Loss)
Burnley 2-0 West Ham (December 2018, Loss) [Read more…]

First headed goal of the season, Crucial Pickford saves, Ajeti head butt on Holgate & More- Talking Points from West Ham 1-1 Everton 2020

West Ham’s second game at the London Stadium under new manager David Moyes saw them draw with Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton. Having beaten Bournemouth 4-0 earlier this month, the Hammers would’ve been hopeful of picking up a win against the Toffees, but had to settle for a point.

Here are our talking points from Saturday afternoon’s fixture.

First headed goal of the season: Issa Diop’s first half goal, which put West Ham ahead, was also the Hammers’ first headed one in the league this season. The French defender nodded home from Robert Snodgrass’ fine free kick in the 40th minute of the game. Unfortunately for West Ham, they were to concede a headed equaliser just four minutes later, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin netting for the visitors.

Crucial Pickford saves: Apart from Diop’s goal, West Ham had two glorious chances in the first half- one fell to Sebastien Haller and the other to Pablo Fornals. Pickford however was equal to the task, and his excellent reflexes ensured the score stayed 1-1, instead of potentially ending up 3-1 in favour of the home side.

First half good, second half not as much: West Ham created plenty of opportunities in the first half- their best ones all came before the interval. The only real notable chance after the break, if you could call it one, came from the Haller header on the edge of the box that forced Pickford to stumble a bit after claiming the ball.

Manuel Lanzini disappointing: The Argentine is a fine player when on form, but still hasn’t been able to hit his pre-injury heights. Earned the free kick (from a silly Delph foul) that gave West Ham the lead, but not too much otherwise. [Read more…]

Moyes 2.0 starts with a fine win, rare win over Cherries & more- Talking Points from West Ham 4-0 Bournemouth

The first game of David Moyes’ second stint as West Ham manager saw the Hammers turn in one of their best performances of the season as they demolished Bournemouth 4-0 on New Years’ Day.

By kick off time, the Hammers were in the drop zone because of Villa’s 2-1 win away at Burnley, but they blew away Eddie Howe’s side to snap their four game losing streak at the London Stadium and lift themselves up to 16th in the league table.

Here are our talking points from this GW21 clash.

A very good win against Bournemouth: The Cherries have been tough opponents for West Ham in recent years- they were unbeaten in six against the Irons coming into this fixture, and did the double over them last season. However the home side’s first half blitz left the visitors stunned and forced Howe into making two changes at half time, albeit to no avail. The eventual margin of the win- four goals, was West Ham’s biggest Premier League win since their 5-0 win over Derby back in November 2007.

A real statement of intent from David Moyes, and perhaps apt that it came against Bournemouth- it was in the reverse fixture at the Vitality Stadium back in September that saw Lukasz Fabianski injured and the Hammers’ slide down the table begin.

Fantastic pressing and closing down from West Ham: Bournemouth were simply unable to live with West Ham’s pressing game in the first half, and the likes of Jefferson Lerma ended up giving the ball to the opposition time and again in dangerous areas. The Hammers took their intensity levels up a notch- their work rate was excellent, and Howe cut a shell-shocked figure on the sidelines.

Felipe Anderson scores his first goal of the season: Felipe Anderson hasn’t been at his best this season, and it’s probably no coincidence that the Hammers’ attacking struggles have coincided with his own slump in form. The Brazilian’s confidence appeared low for most of the game- there were a couple of opportunities he would have easily put away in his first season.

He eventually did manage to get on the scoresheet just seconds before being subbed off, courtesy of a fine ball from Declan Rice. Will this help him turn his season around? West Ham fans will certainly be hoping so. [Read more…]

The return of Fabianski, loss to Leicester reserves, Carlos Sanchez poor, Pellegrini sacked- Talking Points from West Ham vs Leicester

West Ham’s 2019 finished on a disappointing note as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Leicester City on Saturday evening. Brendan Rodgers fielded what was virtually a Foxes B team by making nine changes, but his reserves ran out comfortable winners at the London Stadium. The home side will feel they could have done better defensively for both goals, and apart from that moment of brilliance from Felipe Anderson to set up Pablo Fornals, didn’t trouble Kasper Schmeichel too much.

The result left the Hammers just one point above the drop zone and forced the club to part ways with Manuel Pellegrini after the game, with Wednesday’s fixture against Bournemouth now shaping up to be a massive one. Here are our talking points from this GW20 clash.

The return of Lukasz Fabianski: West Ham’s problems began the moment Fabianski got injured at the Vitality Stadium in September. The club started the season encouragingly, but everything went haywire once the Pole, the reigning Hammer of the Year, was diagnosed with a torn hip muscle. His replacement Roberto didn’t exude confidence under the sticks, and that nervousness seemed to spread to the rest of the team. Roberto was finally replaced by veteran David Martin, who himself picked up a hip injury after keeping clean sheets in the wins over Chelsea and Southampton that bought Pellegrini some time.

Fabianski saved an early penalty from Demarai Gray, but there was precious little he could do to stop the other goals. Nevertheless, the fans will be glad to see the Polish stopper back in goal.

Carlos Sanchez poor: A poor outing for the Colombian who was asked to start as Pellegrini chose to rest veteran Mark Noble. Had a couple of nervy passes in the beginning that led to Leicester counter attacks, and the early penalty that the Foxes earned came from a move that began after his misplaced pass. He didn’t cover himself in glory for Gray’s winner either.

When Sebastien Haller was hooked early in the second half, the crowd wasn’t happy, but they almost cheered in appreciation when Sanchez was taken off. That tells a story in itself- the Colombian has clearly not endeared himself to the fans at the London Stadium. [Read more…]