Disappointing loss, Wilson continues to torment & More- Talking Points from West Ham 0-2 Newcastle

West Ham’s 2020/21 league season started on a disappointing note as they went down 2-0 at home to Newcastle United. Jeff Hendrick and Callum Wilson were on target for Steve Bruce’s Magpies at the London Stadium. Here are our talking points from the game.

Is the Grady Diangana transfer still affecting the players?

On paper, this was a very winnable game, and given West Ham’s tough starting fixture list, it was a game David Moyes would’ve targetted for at least a point, if not all three.

The players weren’t clearly happy with the situation regarding Grady Diangana’s transfer and one wonders if it’s affected their morale. With the next set of fixtures reading Arsenal, Wolves, Leicester, Spurs, Man City and Liverpool, there is every chance the Hammers might only get their first points of the season in November!

Hammers go in the same attacking formation as they did at the end of 19/20 season

Moyes made only one change from the side that had faced Aston Villa on the final day of the 2019/20 season, with Aaron Cresswell coming in at left back for Ben Johnson. That meant a repeat of the 4-2-3-1 formation with skipper Mark Noble again effectively playing as a 10, Pablo Fornals on the left wing, Antonio alone upfront, and the troika of Anderson, Sebastien Haller and Manuel Lanzini on the bench.

Lanzini didn’t even make it off the bench while Anderson, the club’s second most expensive player, only had a minute or so of action. [Read more…]

Two strikers upfront, first start (and goal) for Jarrod Bowen, Haller’s rabona & more- Talking Points from West Ham 3-1 Southampton 2020

West Ham claimed a much needed win as they beat Southampton 3-1 at the London Stadium on Leap Day. Given their tough run of fixtures recently, this was a game that the Hammers would’ve targetted for three points, and they achieved it thanks to goals from Jarrod Bowen, Sebastien Haller and Michail Antonio.

Here are our talking points from West Ham’s game against Saints at the London Stadium.

Two strikers upfront works well: Moyes opted for Antonio to partner Haller upfront, and the two were excellent as a duo. Haller, who has often appeared lethargic and disinterested while playing as a sole striker this season, seemed to pick up his game in the company of the energetic Antonio.

Both of them scored goals and their presence forced Hasenhuttl to switch to a back three strategy in the second half to contain the duo, with Jannik Vestegaard coming in for Michael Obafemi.

The downside of this strategy is that it leaves West Ham a bit thin in midfield, where they can be overrun, as was illustrated in Southampton’s first goal on the counter, but the positives appear to outweigh the negatives currently.

First start and first goal for Jarrod Bowen: Given his first Premier League start, young Jarrod Bowen responded with a well taken goal to open the scoring for the Hammers. He didn’t shy away from his defensive responsibilities either, something that the likes of Anderson and Lanzini have often been criticised for. Perhaps a bit greedy on a couple of other occasions when he could’ve picked a team mate in a better position instead of going for goal himself, but a good performance nevertheless. [Read more…]

Moyes 2.0 starts with a fine win, rare win over Cherries & more- Talking Points from West Ham 4-0 Bournemouth

The first game of David Moyes’ second stint as West Ham manager saw the Hammers turn in one of their best performances of the season as they demolished Bournemouth 4-0 on New Years’ Day.

By kick off time, the Hammers were in the drop zone because of Villa’s 2-1 win away at Burnley, but they blew away Eddie Howe’s side to snap their four game losing streak at the London Stadium and lift themselves up to 16th in the league table.

Here are our talking points from this GW21 clash.

A very good win against Bournemouth: The Cherries have been tough opponents for West Ham in recent years- they were unbeaten in six against the Irons coming into this fixture, and did the double over them last season. However the home side’s first half blitz left the visitors stunned and forced Howe into making two changes at half time, albeit to no avail. The eventual margin of the win- four goals, was West Ham’s biggest Premier League win since their 5-0 win over Derby back in November 2007.

A real statement of intent from David Moyes, and perhaps apt that it came against Bournemouth- it was in the reverse fixture at the Vitality Stadium back in September that saw Lukasz Fabianski injured and the Hammers’ slide down the table begin.

Fantastic pressing and closing down from West Ham: Bournemouth were simply unable to live with West Ham’s pressing game in the first half, and the likes of Jefferson Lerma ended up giving the ball to the opposition time and again in dangerous areas. The Hammers took their intensity levels up a notch- their work rate was excellent, and Howe cut a shell-shocked figure on the sidelines.

Felipe Anderson scores his first goal of the season: Felipe Anderson hasn’t been at his best this season, and it’s probably no coincidence that the Hammers’ attacking struggles have coincided with his own slump in form. The Brazilian’s confidence appeared low for most of the game- there were a couple of opportunities he would have easily put away in his first season.

He eventually did manage to get on the scoresheet just seconds before being subbed off, courtesy of a fine ball from Declan Rice. Will this help him turn his season around? West Ham fans will certainly be hoping so. [Read more…]

City love playing at the London Stadium, Haller looks promising & more- Five Talking Points from West Ham 0-5 Man City

West Ham’s opening league game of the 2019/20 season saw Manuel Pellegrini’s side go down 5-0 to defending champions Manchester City. The Hammers were pretty good for the first twenty odd minutes and were only a goal down at half time, but the floodgates opened after the interval once City got into their side.

Here are our talking points from this fixture.

City love playing at the London Stadium: Pep Guardiola’s men have now scored four or more goals against West Ham for the fifth game in succession at the London Stadium. Their record at this ground currently reads: Played 5, Won 5, Goals scored 22, Goals conceded 1.

While recent games at the Etihad between these two sides have been tightly fought, the ones at the London Stadium have been blowouts. It’s fast becoming one of City’s favourite grounds to play Premier League footy.

Sebastien Haller looks promising: Given City’s dominance, we didn’t really get to see much of West Ham’s new record signing, but he was impressive in the few instances he did get the ball. Strong, able to draw in defenders and has an eye for team mates around him. Also registered the Hammers’ first shot of this game with an attempted bicycle kick.

Questions remain over West Ham’s defence: While Manuel Pellegrini did strength his attack significantly with the additions of Fornals and Haller, there was little done on the defensive side of things. Youngster Goncalo Cardoso was their only signing in that department, and he didn’t even make the 18 here. [Read more…]

Diop and Balbuena re-united, First team to win at New Spurs Stadium & More- Talking Points from Tottenham v West Ham

West Ham became the first visiting team to win at the new Spurs stadium as they secured their first away league triumph of 2019 on Saturday afternoon. Michail Antonio’s fine finish midway through the second half gave the Hammers all three points against Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

Here are our talking points from the game.

Balbuena and Diop re-united: After a long time, Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop together played as a central defensive pair. The pairing between the Paraguayan and the young French star has been one of the bright points of West Ham’s season, and they were fantastic today as the Hammers secured a rare clean sheet. Balbuena denied Vincent Janssen a late equaliser with his clearance off the line, while Diop almost scored a great individual goal, striding from his own half into the opposition box, but was denied by Lloris.

Angelo Ogbonna has his moments, but tends to be inconsistent. Balbuena and Diop are clearly the way forward.

First away team to win at the New Spurs stadium: West Ham became the first away team to win at the new Spurs stadium, and Antonio’s goal was the first the Lilywhites have conceded at this ground. Nice little pub trivia stat in favour of the Hammers, who were also the first team to win against Arsenal at the Emirates.

All the more remarkable given that the Hammers had taken just one point from 8 league games on the road prior to this clash. [Read more…]