Wow. Not exactly the away trip I remember from last season. One being class, one being disheartening. The West Ham way, right?
A game that saw us dominate the stats, having over 70% of the possession and being the better team, we still managed to concede four sloppy goals, which now makes it 13 conceded in the opening five games of this campaign. Not acceptable.
Their first came from a free-kick, where Masuaku, right in front of my eyes, handballed inside the box which left every fan baffled as to why he had done it. Chadli sent Adrian the wrong way from the resulting penalty. 1-0 to the baggies.
At this point we weren’t playing badly at all. In fact, I thought we looked rather decent in possession and Lanzini and Payet were dictating the play. But things only got worse from here.
Rondon managed to hold off his man just inside the box, and squeezed a precise snapshot into the bottom corner. I could not believe what I was witnessing.
It was painful to watch, because I knew that we were playing better, and they managed to get two goals from virtually nothing.
But our heads started to drop. We looked like we needed to get in that changing room at half time and sort everything out. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold out and West Brom added a third just before the half time whistle.
Slaven made two changes at half time, bringing on Feghouli and Calleri for Noble and Zaza respectively. Let me just mention now, Zaza must’ve touched the ball twice in 45 minutes, not impressed by him at all so far.
It was two very positive changes, and to be fair to the lads, we gave it a right go in the second half. We started the half well, with Antonio coming close and overall we just looked fired up.
Dimitri Payet then got a free kick on the edge of the box, which so unfortunately hit the bar and came out, it just wasn’t our day, was it?
One sloppy corner later and they were away on the counter, with no defenders in sight.
Honestly, the basics HAVE to be sorted by next week. Bottom line is, they went on and scored a fourth, with around 35 minutes left to play.
At this point, I felt heartbroken. Fans started to flood out, but fair play to the majority that stayed and never stopped singing.
We saw a glimmer of hope with half an hour still to play, after Antonio got his head on a cross and scored yet another goal; you just cannot keep him quiet at the moment!
Then after a sublime piece of skill from Dimitri Payet, he got into the box and was taken down and we were awarded a penalty. Lanzini stepped up, and slotted home with perfection, which will do him the world of good.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find that elusive third goal, and the game ended 4-2 to the hosts. A valiant second half effort, but we shot ourselves in the foot way too early in the game.
The positives we can take from this? There really aren’t a lot, but let’s give it a go.
Firstly, Dimi, Lanzini and Antonio look like a deadly trio together. It is clear to see the chemistry they have between them and if they can carry on the way they are going, we can expect good things this season.
Secondly, we did not just roll over and give in. Slaven fired them up and we actually came out 2-1 winners in the second half. It is just a shame that our basic defensive errors cost us the game early on.
Finally, Payet and Antonio look to have created an exceptional partnership of goals and assists.
If the defence can be sorted out and we can get the balance between attacking and defending, I am confident that we can challenge with the big boys, the difficulty is finding that balance.
On to Accrington Stanley we go, another kick down today, but we dust ourselves off and go again.
Never give up Hammers, we will get through this rough patch, and once we do, we will create some extraordinary history in the process. COYI!
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