Five Talking Points from Brighton v West Ham

What a bizarre weekend of football it was! Bayern, Real and Barcelona all failed to win, and so might have Manchester United, if it hadn’t been for that late comeback and a stoppage time winner from the much maligned Alexis Sanchez that saw them edge Newcastle.

Currently, Bayern, Real and Barcelona have not won in the last 10 league games combined between them! Real are even having problems scoring, and while Barca are drawing, their story might also have been different had Lionel Messi not been available for them.

Moving away from Bayern, Real and Barca, and back to West Ham, this was one very disappointing result. As Hammers fans though, must admit that some of us actually expected this. BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson, in his pre-game prediction, had gone for a Brighton win just because “it would be typical of West Ham to have a stumble just as they start to get back on their feet

This was a very winnable game- make no bones about it. If not a win, West Ham, as manager Manuel Pellegrini pointed out his post match interview, at least deserved a point. They had 65% of possession, made over 510 passes (in comparison to Brighton’s 280 odd). The home side had a passing accuracy of only 68%, and their only goal came from a horrible Hammers mistake, with Yarmolenko losing the ball in midfield and some very ordinary defending allowing Murray to score.

BHA WHU

Five Talking Points from Brighton v West Ham 2018

Are Brighton a bit of a bogey team now for West Ham?

Chris Hughton has faced West Ham three times in the Premier League, with three different managers in the opposition dugout- Bilic, Moyes and Pellegrini, and has beaten them all. West Ham have also never won away at Brighton in a top flight clash. Will that change soon, or have the Seagulls become a bit of a bogey time for the Hammers?

How good was Declan Rice against Brighton?

The teenager has been in the news a lot recently, with rumours regarding a change in international allegiance, and talk of a new contract with the club. He had a very poor opening day game against Liverpool, but has improved as the season’s gone on, and appears to be flourishing in Pellegrini’s 4-1-4-1 system.

He was very assured and composed against the Seagulls- probably the best he’s played for West Ham in the league this season, and he was the only central midfielder that played the full 90 at the Amex- both Noble and Obiang were subbed off by Pellegrini. He also shone in a more advanced role later in the game.

Is Michail Antonio a misfit in Pellegrini’s system?

While Pellegrini’s 4-1-4-1 has allowed Rice to flourish, questions must be asked about Michail Antonio. The 28 year old has his strengths, but is the current system able to get the best out of him? He was poor after coming on as a sub at the Amex.

When will Arthur Masuaku’s defensive issues be sorted out?

Questions have always been raised about Masuaku’s defending and positioning, and they were badly exposed at the Amex, with some truly poor defending for Murray’s goal. Aaron Cresswell didn’t have the best of games against Wolves, but is he a better option, at least defensively?

How will the international break affect West Ham?

The last one certainly came at the right time for Pellegrini- the Hammers had lost their opening four of the season, and bounced back after the break, beating Everton and Man Utd and drawing with Chelsea.

Six Hammers players will be on international duty and Pellegrini will be hoping that all of them, especially Marko Arnautovic (who has been struggling with a knock) come back uninjured. If West Ham’s form after the international break is like what it was after the first one in September, it would do very, very nicely for the Chilean gaffer.

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