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…]

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…]

Pellegrini rings in the changes, Squandered chances & More- Talking Points from West Ham vs Sheffield United

West Ham United’s recent struggles continued as they drew 1-1 with newly promoted Sheffield United at the London Stadium. The home side took the lead against the run of play through Robert Snodgrass, only for Lys Mousset to equalise for the Blades after the interval.

The Hammers are now winless in their last five games across all competitions- their last victory was the famous 2-0 triumph over Manchester United back in September.

Here are our talking points from this GW10 game.

Pellegrini rings in the changes: It’s clear that Manuel Pellegrini was disappointed with the way his charges have played in the last few weeks. He made FIVE changes for this clash- three of them in the backline. Pellegrini is usually not one to tinker too much with his squad, but he probably felt it necessary to let the players know they needed to perform better. Out went Ryan Fredericks, Angelo Ogbonna, Arthur Masuaku, Pablo Fornals and Manuel Lanzini, and in came Pablo Zabaleta, Fabian Balbuena, Aaron Cresswell, Robert Snodgrass and Andriy Yarmolenko.

Two glorious second half chances wasted by Felipe Anderson: West Ham had two fabulous chances in the ten minute period just before the hour mark. One needed Anderson to pass to the unmarked Snodgrass, while another required the Brazilian to get his pass away to Yarmolenko. Unfortunately for West Ham, Anderson messed up both chances, and Sheffield United were let off the hook while trailing 1-0.

Anderson is not at his best, but with Manuel Lanzini off colour and Pablo Fornals still settling in, much of West Ham’s play goes through the Brazilian. It’s perhaps no coincidence that their winning streak has coincided with his dip in form. [Read more…]

First away win for Hodgson, Superb Hammers team goal & more- Talking Points from West Ham 1-2 Crystal Palace

West Ham’s six game unbeaten streak was halted on Saturday evening as they slumped to a disappointing 2-1 defeat against Crystal Palace. With Leicester having lost earlier in the day to Liverpool, the Hammers could’ve potentially gone third with a victory over the Eagles, but have instead dropped to eighth going into the October international break.

Here are our talking points from this Round 8 clash at the London Stadium.

Roy Hodgson’s first away win against West Ham as manager: This was Roy Hodgson’s first away win against the Hammers in his managerial career after six previous unsuccessful attempts. Given that his side were huge underdogs coming into this clash (not one pundit thought they’d win), this was a fine achievement from the veteran gaffer.

His side were without suspended skipper Luka Milivojevic, which meant Hodgson had to give young James McCarthy his first start since the latter’s horrible leg break against Albion last year.

Palace were well organised defensively, as you’d expect a Hodgson side to be, and his introduction of Andros Townsend at the end when the score 1-1 showed he wasn’t willing to settle for a draw, but instead wanted all three points.

West Ham’s goal a thing of beauty: There weren’t too many bright spots in this GW8 clash, but the Hammers’ goal here was a thing of beauty- a goal worth watching again and again. A simply marvellous team goal- a move that began in the WHUFC half and involved quick, incisive passing to break Palace down and a superb finish from Sebastien Haller as well- the goal had a xG of just 0.14 (14 out of every 100 would score in that situation based on past evidence). Easily the best team goal of the Pellegrini era. [Read more…]

West Ham vs Crystal Palace 2019 Predictions- Media Pundits give their expected scoreline

West Ham’s first game of October sees Manuel Pellegrini’s side square off against Crystal Palace at the London Stadium. The Hammers haven’t lost in the Premier League since their opening round loss to Man City and will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to seven games on Saturday evening against Roy Hodgson’s men.

The Eagles will be without suspended skipper Luka Milivojevic and injured defender Mamadou Sakho. They’ve also had a good start to the season and are only a point behind West Ham in the league standings.

For West Ham, most of the team pick themselves. The only questions in front of Pellegrini will be whether to start with Manuel Lanzini and Arthur Masuaku or continue with Pablo Fornals and Aaron Cresswell.

The referee for this game is Michael Oliver- Palace have won their last three league games under him. Oliver refereed six of the Eagles’ games last season, but only two for the Hammers (the win at home against Man Utd and the draw away at Leicester).

Here is a look at what major TV and media pundits have predicted for this Game Week 8 clash.

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro notes that both teams have done well but adds that West Ham, in particular “have impressed him”. Reckons that the home side’s attack is better than Palace’s, and has backed Manuel Pellegrini’s men to run out 2-0 winners.

Lawro’s celeb opponent for this weekend- legendary athlete Michael Johnson, has echoed the former’s prediction (2-0 to the Hammers)

Charlie Nicholas: Over at Sky, Nicholas says this is the “best West Ham side” he’s seen, and reckons they’ll take this clash 3-1, with Sebastien Haller to score at the London Stadium. [Read more…]

Yarmolenko excellent, Wilshere not so much, Roberto’s league debut & more- Five Talking Points from Bournemouth 2-2 West Ham

West Ham extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to six games as they drew 2-2 with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium. A draw was probably a fair result for both sides after an enthralling afternoon of play on the South Coast. Here are our talking points from the game.

Andriy Yarmolenko excellent: We thought Andriy Yarmolenko was good last week against United, but he was even better today against Bournemouth. Scored a fine opening goal- almost a replica of his strike against United from last week, and played a key part in Aaron Cresswell’s equaliser. His interplay with Sebastien Haller was fantastic to watch and he gave Cherries left back Diego Rico a torrid afternoon.

The Ukrainian didn’t shy away from his defensive duties either, regularly helping Ryan Fredericks on the right wing. All in all, a very fine afternoon of work from him [Read more…]

Bournemouth vs West Ham Pundit Predictions- Who will win this GW7 clash?

Both Bournemouth and West Ham will look to bounce back from their respective midweek Cup defeats when they lock horns at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday afternoon. With Arsenal not playing until Monday night, victory for either side will, at least temporarily, see them move into the top four.

The referee for this game is Stuart Attwell, who was also the man in the middle when the Cherries beat the Hammers 2-1 in August 2018. This will however be his first game involving the Irons in the 19/20 season.

With Arthur Masuaku back from suspension, Manuel Pellegrini must decide whether to restore the former to his starting XI, or to persist with Aaron Cresswell, who scored a fine free kick to help seal all three points against Manchester United, and was named in several pundits’ Round 6 Team of the Week.

Here is a look at what various TV and media pundits have predicted for this clash.

Mark Lawrenson: Lawro reckons that home advantage will help Bournemouth and has backed Eddie Howe’s side to edge this clash 2-1. [Read more…]

Media Player Ratings Oxford 4-0 West Ham | How did Alban Ajeti and Carlos Sanchez fare?

Days after beating Manchester United 2-0 at home, West Ham were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by third tier Oxford United, who thrashed Manuel Pellegrini’s side 4-0.

The Hammers made nine changes to the side that had beaten United, with Issa Diop and Pablo Fornals the only survivors from that game. The reserves unfortunately didn’t rise to the occasion- Oxford, 12th in League One, made six changes and were comfortable winners, and could’ve won by an even greater margin had luck favoured them in the first half.

Another big scalp for OUFC manager Robinson, who was also in charge of the MK Dons side that famously beat Manchester United 4-0 in this very competition five years ago. [Read more…]