Shockers for Fabian Balbuena & Roberto, VAR Blunder & More- Talking Points from Burnley vs West Ham

Burnley halted their three game losing streak as they comfortably beat West Ham at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon. The Hammers have now gone seven games without a win across all competitions, and Manuel Pellegrini’s job appears to be under serious threat.

Just six weeks ago, West Ham were in the top three (behind Liverpool and Man City), but today’s defeat has seen them slump to 16th in the table. Their recent opponents- at least on paper, aren’t fearsome by any stretch of imagination- Bournemouth, Palace, Everton, Sheffield United, Newcastle and now Burnley, but Pellegrini’s men have collected just two points from these six games. It’s borderline relegation form, and given their next set of fixtures after the break (Spurs, Chelsea, Wolves and Arsenal), it could get even worse.

Here are our talking points from the game.

VAR blunder hurts West Ham: When it rains, it pours, and it certainly seemed so for the Hammers at Turf Moor. Replays clearly showed that Phil Bardsley’s long range attempt on goal had taken a deflection off Ashley Barnes, but referee Kevin Friend gave a corner to Burnley. The home side scored from the resulting set piece, and VAR, somewhat bizarrely, chose not to interfere.

West Ham never do well when they concede first- they had lost eight in a row before this game after going behind, and it predictably became nine on this horror afternoon in Lancashire.

Chris Wood scores against against West Ham: New Zealand striker Wood has a fantastic record against the Hammers (had scored in all four of his previous games against WHUFC), and Clarets boss Sean Dyche had no hesitation in restoring him to the starting line up for this game and putting Jay Rodriguez on the bench.

Wood originally thought he had scored from a header (the cross from Dwight McNeil for the goal was simply exquisite), but VAR disallowed it for offside. However he was not to be denied his customary goal against the Hammers, with Balbuena robbed in possession just minutes later and McNeil setting him up for Burnley’s second.

Shockers for Falbian Balbuena and Roberto: Paraguayan defender Balbuena, as mentioned above, handed Burnley their second goal on a platter. Even more shocking was goalkeeper Roberto, who attempted to flap at thin air and then proceeded to divert Westwood’s corner into his own net.

The first goal was also partly Roberto’s fault- it was his weak punch (under no real pressure) that saw the ball fall to Bardsley.

The Spaniard, to his credit, did make some good saves, but he doesn’t inspire confidence currently, especially at set piece time. Burnley even thought they had scored a fourth (again from a corner), but Mee’s header was disallowed for an alleged foul in the box.

At this rate, third choice keeper David Martin might fancy his chances of making his league debut for West Ham when they play Tottenham after the international break.

Balbuena was also given a torrid afternoon by Barnes and Wood, and was repeatedly caught out of position. It was shambolic, shambolic defending.

West Ham attack toothless: While the defending was shambolic, the attack didn’t fare too better either. There was NO shot on target in the first half (Burnley had five to their name). Pablo Fornals and Felipe Anderson were again poor, and Sebastian Haller, after an impressive start to his career, probably thinks it’s not worth his time and energy to expend much effort- not that we would blame him. There was one cross early in the game that was worth an attempted header, but the Frenchman just stood and watched it go past him.

West Ham made nearly 450 passes (to Burnley’s 300 odd), and comfortably enjoyed more possession. But they never really threatened Nick Pope, perhaps bar one attempt from Aaron Cresswell after the interval that the goalkeeper did well to block.

Injuries to Mark Noble and Manuel Lanzini: Capping off a miserable afternoon for the visitors were the injuries to Mark Noble and Manuel Lanzini. Noble damaged his ankle in a clash with Barnes, while Lanzini suffered a shoulder/collarbone injury late after a cynical Westwood foul late in the game. If both are out for an extended period of time, as suggested by the manner they left the pitch (Lanzini was stretchered off, and Noble hobbled off immediately after his injury), things could go from bad to worse for West Ham.

Burnley 3 (Barnes, Wood, Robert OG) beat West Ham 0

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