Five Talking Points from Burnley v West Ham- Hammers slump to disappointing defeat

Goals from Chris Wood and teenager Dwight McNeil saw West Ham slump to defeat to struggling Burnley at Turf Moor. It was a poor end to the year for the Hammers, who looked flat and were defensively all over the place.

Manuel Pellegrini made two changes to the side that had beaten Southampton, with Marko Arnautovic coming upfront and Mark Noble returning in midfield. For Burnley, inspirational skipper Tom Heaton returned to start a Premier League game for the Clarets for the first time since September 2017, with former Hammer Joe Hart on the bench for Sean Dyche’s side.

WHUFC starting lineup v Burnley 2018

Let’s look at our talking points from the game

1) Fatigue probably caught up with West Ham’s players

The Hammers’ resources have already been stretched and the gap between Thursday night’s game against Southampton and Sunday afternoon’s one against the Clarets was too little for the players to recover, more so given that both were away from home. Add the heavy load of games this month- they played six before the Burnley game. Perhaps a performance that was coming, but the manner of defeat against a relegation threatened Burnley side was disappointing- it also saw the Hammers miss out on the chance to finish the year in 7th place.

2) Burnley could’ve scored four, five or even six goals.

It’s not an exaggeration. West Ham were all over the place defensivey, and Chris Wood and Barnes had plenty of good chances. Only two were put away, but it could easily have been 5 or 6-0. A win here would’ve taken West Ham’s tally this month to 18 and a potential Manager of the Month nomination for gaffer Pellegrini.

3) Is Lucas Perez West Ham standard?

On the evidence of his last two Premier League starts- the first time he’s done so in England, the answer is no. Perez doesn’t look like a man fighting for his place in the starting XI. He had a horror game against the Clarets and was hooked at half time. One paper even gave him a 2/10 rating, and that tells a story in itself.

Few will voice their dissent, if any, if Pellegrini chooses youngster Xande Silva ahead of him next game.

4) Marko Arnautovic wasn’t fully fit

Arnautovic returned ahead of schedule but didn’t have the impact we normally know he can. The gamble of starting him didn’t work, and from a fan’s POV, it didn’t look as if he was fully fit. A fully fit and firing Arnautovic is an altogether different beast.

It didn’t help that Burnley dominated in the middle of the park through Westwood and Cork, with the former especially very good, and that Felipe Anderson, West Ham’s hero against Southampton, was kept shackled.

West Ham’s only two real chances came from headers- one in the first half that Angelo Ogbonna headed straight at Heaton, and another after the interval from Andy Carroll that was brilliantly saved by the Burnley keeper.

5) Lawro gets it right!

A perfect scoreline prediction for Mark Lawrenson- that’s twice this month that he’s gone against the grain (the other being the 1-1 draw against Huddersfield), and predicted West Ham’s result perfectly. Credit where credit’s due!

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