Once again I looked at the fixture list with a little hope with regards to this fixture. The Baggies are in a state of transition with a Chinese takeover and Tony Pulis still not sure of his job. So what better time to bounce back from a unexpected 4-2 defeat and grab a win – after all, what is the reckoning of the same scoreline happening twice in a row?
Well, it started badly. 7 mins into the game and Masuaku handles to give a penalty to West Brom for no explicable reason. Chadli scores. it was a gift of a goal and one that should never have been given by the Hammers, especially so early in the match. TBH, Masuaku had a complete mare and is really looking like a liability to say the least. Both Reid and Byram didn’t even make the bench, but at £6.8m from Olympiacos, this is looking like one of the worst Hammers signings ever.
The Hammers had tons of possession (stats will show it hit 70%) , playing it through the middle rather than use the flanks on a more frequent basis. I thought that they were not really using Antonio to his best ability. Zaza looked a little lonely up front. Lanzini was looking a bit useful but service is needed to Zaza – the team were not fluid nor harmonised at all.
Forster stops from Antonio on 33 which showed that the Hammers had a bit of fight despite the silly giveaway goal. However, with a counter attack, Rondon scores. 2-0 up and the Hammers defence once again AWOL. The defending this season has been shocking – truly bloody awful. And with that has been a glut of opposition goals which as not helped the goal difference.
I could sense that the season is falling apart even at this stage of proceedings………..and then at 43 mins passes and another defensive disaster – 3-0 as McClean taps in and TBH, game over. Now way back for the Hammers now and Slav cuts a very forlorn figure – where and why is it going all wrong? Absolutely forgettable first half which as the table stood firmly puts us in relegation positions
Second half, sees Sofiane Feghouli and Jonathan Calleri on for Simone Zaza and captain Mark Noble. The Hammers popping shots, but Forster being equal to the efforts. 56 minsit is all over – Chadli scores 4-0, away fans head for the exit for that trip back down the M40. It has been appalling.
But then some glimmer of hope. 59 mins, Payet is truly unlucky with a free kick denied by the woodwork. And that provided some impetus, with Antonio getting yet another headed goal on 60, and a Lanzini penalty on 65 hauls it back to 4-2 with some of those departed Hammers making it back to their seat to witness what could possibly be a small miracle.
But it was not to be – Collins effort was saved on 81, Baggies just defending for dear life and not pressing forward at all – there was no need for them to do so – they scored 4…….and with that the game ended much to my relief.
The next game is Southampton at home. It will be my very first visit to the London Stadium as a WHU Season Ticket Holder and it will be an experience away from Upton Park. I am looking to document my first steps to the new ground and also really take in our new home.
But I am worried – the results are not good, the pitch is a little far away from what I am used to and it is above all not Upton Park. The old ground had some charm, atmosphere, intimidation – from all accounts, the OS misses this. But that may well be expected – we are still bedding in……..but we need to get familiar with the surroundings quickly. The honeymoon period of “excuse” will only last for so long and if we are not careful, we could have the best ground in the Championship.
“The problem is big.
“We can’t say it is unlucky with some situations, or improve individual mistakes and we are going to be all right. It happens so many times since the start of the season – too many times.
“If we continue to defend like this as a team we can’t win a Premier League game.
“We are weak and we have a problem. I don’t want us to react, I want us to act. It is no time to panic but we have to act.
“We need to be aware of the situation and I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but I am and I have to live with this 24/7.”
West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Dawson, Evans, McAuley, Galloway (Nyom 68), Phillips, Fletcher, Yacob, McClean, Chadli (Morrison 75), Rondon (Robson-Kanu 87).
Subs not used: Myhill, Olsson, Gardner, Berahino.
Goals: Chadli (pen) 8, 56, Rondon 37, McClean 44
Bookings: Dawson 43, Nyom 86
West Ham United: Adrian, Nordtveit, Collins, Ogbonna, Masuaku (Fletcher 77), Kouyate, Antonio, Noble (Feghouli 46), Lanzini, Payet, Zaza (Calleri 46).
Subs not used: Randolph, Obiang, Tore, Oxford.
Goals: Antonio 60, Lanzini 65
Bookings: Feghouli 86