Much improved Felipe Anderson, Big Snodgrass miss & More- Talking Points from Wolves vs West Ham

West Ham’s first ever Premier League game on Amazon saw Manuel Pellegrini’s men slump to a disappointing 2-0 defeat away at Wolves on Wednesday night. Hopes had been raised following Saturday’s stunning 1-0 win over Chelsea, but Nuno Espirito Santo’s men, who have managed the pressure of playing both in the Europa League and PL with aplomb this year, brought the visitors down to earth at Molineux.

West Ham have never won a Premier League game this season after conceding first, which meant it was crucial for Wolves to open the scoring, and they did so through a deflected Leander Dendoncker strike midway through the first half. Patrick Cutrone sealed all three points for the home side four minutes from time.

Manuel Pellegrini made only change to the side that had beaten Chelsea, with Michail Antonio rested and Sebastien Haller brought into the XI. Haller was again disappointing, and how Pellegrini would’ve wished for the French striker to show the energy and physicality that Antonio brought on Saturday- a key reason for West Ham’s triumph at the Bridge.

The success of the Balbuena-Diop pairing against the Blues meant they kept their places in the XI, but Issa Diop, available for selection after serving his one game suspension, dropped out of the 18 altogether.

Here are our talking points from the clash.

Much improved Felipe Anderson: The Brazilian has been disappointing this season, but put in a much improved performance yesterday evening. He was easily the Hammers’ best player, and ran rings around the Wolves’ midfield, causing them all sorts of problems. Much of West Ham’s recent struggles on attack can be put down to Anderson being off colour- he scored ten goals across all competitions in 2018/19, but is yet to find the back of the net this season.

Big Robert Snodgrass miss: A big moment in this game came on the hour mark. Wolves were 1-0 up, and an excellent ball from Pablo Fornals found Snodgrass in acres of space and in a one on one situation with the opposition keeper. His first touch was decent, but the second was absolutely horrendous, and Wolves escaped. At 1-1, and with West Ham having the better of the game in the second half, things could’ve finished very differently. The Scottish international’s corners, normally so reliable, were also disappointing at Molineux. [Read more…]

Media Player Ratings Wolves (A)- Fornals decent, Haller terrible

Wolverhampton Wanderers extended their unbeaten league run to ten games as they comfortably saw off West Ham 2-0 at Molineux on Wednesday night. Not since 1972 have the Midlands outfit managed this feat in the top flight, and the victory took them to 5th in the table- the same position they eventually finished in that historic 72/73 season.

For West Ham, it was a case of probably taking one step forward and two back. Given Wolves’ congested fixture list (this was their 28th game of the season), and West Ham’s stunning win against an in-form Chelsea side on Saturday, the visitors would’ve been hopeful of taking something from this clash, but instead slumped to another disappointing defeat.

Here is a look at how some of the major newspapers and media outlets rated the Hammers following the 2-0 loss. [Read more…]

Premier League debut for David Martin, Pablo Fornals & Declan Rice Very Good, 16 Fouls to 0 & More- Talking Points from Chelsea vs West Ham

West Ham secured their first ever win at Stamford Bridge since 2002 as they upset Frank Lampard’s men 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. The Hammers, winless in their last eight games across all competitions, were rank outsiders for this clash, with questions marks also being raised over the future of Manuel Pellegrini. They however put in a fine defensive shift to come away with all three points.

Chelsea were all over the Hammers for the first 25 minutes, but the visitors recovered and slowly worked their way back into the game. They took the lead against the run of play through Aaron Cresswell, and also had a second denied by VAR.

Chelsea had 66% of the ball and made 666 passes. They didn’t even commit a single foul (the first time it’s happened for the Blues since Opta began recording stats)- the Hammers won that department 16-0!

Here are our talking points from this GW14 clash:

David Martin makes his Premier League debut: When Martin signed for West Ham, playing Premier League football would’ve probably been the last thing he would’ve expected. However Lukasz Fabianski’s injury and Roberto’s horror run in goal saw Pellegrini turn to his third choice keeper, and he did his job at the Bridge as the Hammers secured a much needed clean sheet.

There were several nervous moments for Martin- twice he spilt first time shots, but fortunately they didn’t cost the Hammers. He however looked way more assured than Roberto, and it seemed to rub off on his back four, with Cresswell, Balbuena, Ogbonna and Fredericks all putting in decent performances.

Martin’s tears at the end of the game told just how much this meant to him. While probably not in the same league as Fabianski, he’s probably done enough to earn himself another start against Wolves in midweek.

Declan Rice and Pablo Fornals good: Pablo Fornals has been a bit of a disappointment this season but today was probably his best game for the Hammers since his summer switch from Villarreal. We didn’t see too much of him on attack, but he was very good defensively, with his work rate and determination to thwart Chelsea attacks very encouraging.

Fornals started on the left wing with Anderson playing behind Antonio, but most of West Ham’s attacking moves went through the opposite wing- more than 50% of their attacks in the first half were through the right flank.

Declan Rice would probably admit that he hasn’t been at his best over the last few weeks, but today was a much improved performance- more like the Rice of old. Even made several marauding runs down the left wing! [Read more…]

Media Player Ratings- West Ham’s players rated by the press after shocker at Turf Moor

West Ham put in another insipid performance as they were beaten 3-0 by Burnley at Turf Moor. It was a horror afternoon for the visitors- shambolic defending, listless in attack and injuries to skipper Mark Noble and influential playmaker Manuel Lanzini.

Most of the blame (and perhaps rightly so), will be laid at the feet of Fabian Balbuena and Roberto, but there were very few positives from this game. Pablo Fornals was anonymous, Sebastien Haller looked disinterested and even Declan Rice wasn’t at his best. Robert Snodgrass was again an honest worker, although it didn’t amount to much. [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]