Five talking points from West Ham 3-1 Cardiff- Fan Analysis & Post Match Thoughts

West Ham achieved back to back wins for the first time since January 2017 by beating Cardiff City 3-1 at the London Stadium. The crowd was the Hammers’ lowest (though not by much!) at the Stadium this season, but they went home happy, with Manuel Pellegrini’s men continuing their progress up the table.

It wasn’t all one way traffic for West Ham though. One expected them to start fast off the blocks against a poor Cardiff side who’ve been absolutely woeful away from home. They did that reasonably well for about 20 minutes and then fell back into their old ways. The best chance in this period went to Marko Arnautovic, who showed a great burst of pace to speed past Sol Bamba, but his final shot was hacked off the line by Sean Morrison.

Perhaps frustrated by that miss, Arnautovic unnecessarily went and barged Junior Hoilett in the back, giving away a stupid penalty. Perhaps Arnie thought Hoilett was offside, but he wasn’t, and referee Graham Scott pointed to the spot. Joe Ralls decided to take the spot kick and Fabianski, one of West Ham’s best signings this season, produced what was effectively a match winning save.

Had that gone in, coupled with Marko Arnautovic’s injury minutes later and West Ham’s inconsistent form, one wouldn’t have bet against the Bluebirds going home with all three points, if not at least the solitary one.

Fortunately for the home fans, it was Cardiff who crumbed in the second half. First, Morrison and Bennett got into a horrible mix up while attempting to clear the ball, and Robert Snodgrass took advantage, lofting it into the path of substitute Lucas Perez, who produced a good finish. Five minutes later, Manga went missing on the right flank, and Noble and Masuaku combined for Perez to score his second. After about half a dozen corner attempts, West Ham picked up their third goal from a set piece, with Antonio nodding in at the near post. It was, as Neil Warnock described after the game “12 minutes of madness”

Warnock even mentioned after the game that he was asking Pellegrini how West Ham were 3-0 up, and the latter replied that he didn’t know. That probably tells the story of this Round 15 clash!

How did West Ham’s defenders fare?

Ogbonna, Antonio and Masuaku came in and gave a reasonably decent account of themselves. They didn’t really have much to do- Cardiff’s front three had a right back playing at striker, a CM in Camarasa on the right wing and an out of form (despite his marvellous goal v Wolves) Hoilett on the left wing.

How did Lucas Perez go?

He would’ve been probably frustrated with the lack of game time. The Spaniard was chosen ahead of Andy Carroll to replace the injured Marko Arnautovic, and gave a good account of himself. May have more game time in December, with Arnautovic set to be out for a while.

How was Andy Carroll?

He got about half an hour, and the game was done as a contest by then. Still showed some good touches, and is a handful for defenders aerially.

How good were Snodgrass and Felipe Anderson?

In Arnautovic’s absence, and with Lanzini ruled out till next year, they are West Ham’s biggest attacking threats. Some of Anderson’s passing in this game was absolutely sublime, and with his goal here, he now tops West Ham’s goal scoring charts. Also tops the list for most chances and dribbles, and that doesn’t come as a surprise.

Snodgrass departed to a standing ovation after having a hand in two of the three goals, and has reinvented himself under Pellegrini after looking almost certain to depart the London Stadium last season.

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