Ogbonna captain, Brighton remain unbeaten under Anthony Taylor & more- Talking Points from BHAFC v West Ham

West Ham’s first away game of the new 2019/20 Premier League season saw Manuel Pellegrini’s side draw 1-1 with Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium. Javier Hernandez put the visitors ahead just after the hour mark, only for debutant Leandro Trossard to equalise four minutes later for Albion.

Here are our talking points from the game.

Angelo Ogbonna into the starting lineup and appointed captain: Manuel Pellegrini was clearly upset with the performances of some of his players against Man City. Aaron Cresswell, captain for the season opener, went out of the 18 altogether today, with Arthur Masuaku replacing him at left back.

Another surprising omission was that of Fabian Balbuena, with Pellegrini drafting Angelo Ogbonna into the XI at the expense of the Paraguayan and also handing him the armband.

Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson were both injury enforced absentees, with Michail Antonio the fifth player to be axed.

lineup vs brighton 2019

Brighton remain unbeaten under Anthony Taylor: We had noticed before the game that Brighton had never lost a Premier League game with Anthony Taylor as referee. That record stayed intact today. With this result, no West Ham manager has still been able to win away at Brighton in the PL era.

Woeful Masuaku: Given how neither Arthur Masuaku nor Aaron Cresswell were able to make the left back jersey their own last year, West Ham fans might’ve wondered if it was better for Pellegrini to splash the Fornals cash on a defender instead. Left back, centre back and even defensive midfield to an extent, remain areas where West Ham need quality reinforcements if they are to make a sustained push for Europe.

Masuaku was caught napping in the corresponding fixture last season, and was again found wanting defensively today. One was a terrible clearance that gave the unmarked Dale Stephens an opportunity to let fly from distance. Fortunately for West Ham, Fabianski was on hand to tip it over the bar.

Masuaku also didn’t exactly cover himself in glory when Trossard’s glorious volley went in on 27 minutes. VAR came to the Hammers’ rescue on that occasion, with Burn ruled to have been offside.

If Pellegrini was upset with Cresswell last week (against an admittedly superior City team), we’re not sure how he’d rate Masuaku’s defensive performance today.

Some questionable tactics at the beginning?: West Ham bizarrely chose to start with Javier Hernandez as their sole striker upfront. Chicharito has never flourished in that role in the past, and putting him as the sole targetman against Brighton’s three tall centre backs (all well over 6 feet) meant there was only going to be one winner in that battle.

Jack Wilshere had struggled to impose himself on the game last week, and was average for 45 minutes today before being hooked at half time. Pablo Fornals was another who struggled with the physicality of the game. In the absence of Haller and Anderson, this was perhaps a game that needed Michail Antonio upfront and Andriy Yarmolenko on the wing. The game changed when Antonio was introduced at half time, with Brighton’s defenders given a real work out. He could’ve even snatched a winner at the death, but his header didn’t quite have the power required.

Manuel Lanzini and Declan Rice were decent, and so was Antonio from the bench to an extent, but there was precious little from the others.

brighton xi vs whufc 2019

Brighton will look at this as an opportunity missed: The Seagulls were clearly the better side, and had more clear cut chances. Maupay and Trossard both missed glorious opportunities in the box when they were unmarked and Davy Propper even had a free header at the end, which he nodded straight at Fabianski.

West Ham’s first shot of the afternoon came in the 44th minute, when Declan Rice smashed one into the crowd. Their first corner came in the 76th minute- Brighton had six of their own by then.

Brighton 1 (Trossard 65) drew with West Ham 1 (Hernandez 61)

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