EPL Player of the Week – Javier Hernandez (West Ham)

hernandezWest Ham have been having a fair to middling season in truth. At times criticised for poor performances, the Hammers have nonetheless staved off any threat of a relegation scrap thus far and find themselves ninth in the Premier League table. While they sit quite a distance from the European places – indeed, points-wise they are closer to the drop zone – they have managed to pull some decent results out of the bag, and this past weekend’s thriller at home against Huddersfield could be labeled many things, but never boring! Manuel Pellegrini has used his experience and past success in English football (one Premier League title and two League Cup trophies) to instill a sense of purpose throughout the side.

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EPL Game of the Weekend – West Ham vs Huddersfield

westhamhuddersfieldLife really can be cruel at times. Sometimes, no matter what you try and do, things just don’t come off – nothing works, and all you are left with is frustration and confusion. Depending on which side of the London Stadium you were sitting in on Saturday, that could be either the exact opposite of what happened, or the embodiment of your weekend. For the neutral of course, while West Ham taking on Huddersfield may not necessarily seem like the most must-watch game of the weekend, this was an absolute cracker. It could be argued that, like West Ham fans, the neutrals felt the opposite of the aforementioned frustration. Huddersfield, however, really look in danger – they somehow managed to claw defeat from the grasp of victory, and hopes of a miracle continue to fade with each passing match. Continue reading

West Ham secure first win of the season

It has been a tough start to the season for West Ham, with the club having lost each of their first three league matches. The Carabao Cup offered a chance for them to get their season started, as they faced League One outfit AFC Wimbledon in the Second Round. The team may have made hard work of it at times, but the Hammers secured a 3-1 win at Kingsmeadow and their first win of the season.

The game didn’t get off to a great start for West Ham. In just the second minute Joe Pigott rose above Angelo Ogbonna to head in Mitchell Pinnock’s corner. Adrian got a hand to the ball but was only able to push it into the roof of the net. As the Wimbledon striker peeled away in celebration there will have been a sinking feeling of de ja vu for the Hammers faithful.

However, West Ham were helped out in the 18th minute. Having been booked just five minutes earlier, Rodney McDonald was sent off for a second bookable offence after fouling Javier Hernandez just outside of the box. West Ham were unable to get a goal in the first half though, with the score remaining 1-0 at half time. The scoreline seemingly forced Manuel Pellegrini’s hand, as he brought Pedro Obiang off for Felipe Anderson at half time, a decision which undoubtedly helped to change the game in West Ham’s favour.

The Dons managed to keep West Ham at bay for just over an hour, but the Hammers’ resilience eventually paid off. In the 63rd minute, Anderson played the ball across to Issa Diop, who took a touch out of his feet and smashed the ball into the bottom corner from outside the box. The relief on Pellegrini’s face was clear to see. There was even more joy from Diop though. Having struggled so far in a West Ham shirt, the happiness at getting his first goal for the club was there for all to witness as he brought out his trademark celebration.

Ogbonna could have done a lot better with Wimbledon’s goal, but he made up for that in the 83rd minute. Robert Snodgrass sent a corner ball into the box, with it somehow evading all of Wimbledon’s defenders. The Italian defender was able to capitalise on the loose defending and volleyed it into the gaping net to get the Hammers ahead for the first time in the match.

The victory was secured beyond any reasonable doubt in the 92nd minute. Arthur Masuaku played a ball in behind the Dons defence for Chicharito to run onto. The Mexican rounded Wimbledon goalkeeper Tom King before sending the ball into the goal via the legs of William Nightingale.

This was the final blow of the game, as the referee’s whistle soon confirmed West Ham’s 3-1 victory. The result sees the Hammers progress to the Carabao Cup Round Three, the draw for which will take place at seven o’clock tomorrow night. The fixture for the round will be played during the week commencing 24th September.

In the meantime, the club will be hoping that the momentum from this win can be transferred over to positive league form. Having lost against Liverpool, AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal, the Hammers will now face Wolverhampton Wanderers at home on Saturday. It will be a tough test, but with matches against Everton, Chelsea and Manchester United following this fixture, it is important to get some points on the board sooner rather than later.

Last night’s result won’t do that, but it has got West Ham through to the next round and added some positivity to a tough start.

 

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