Over the last fortnight, West Ham United have lost both their unbeaten records but they still remain unbeaten as, for a second season running, the game against Southampton at St Mary’s ended goalless.
For a fourth consecutive encounter, David Moyes named the same starting line-up but new signings Kurt Zouma, Nikola Vlašić and Alex Král were included amongst the substitutes.
With the Saints doing well to come from behind to earn a point when all seemed lost at St James’ Park last time out, whilst the Irons dropped two points against Crystal Palace the same afternoon, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side made the better start to the match with summer signing Adam Armstrong testing goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański but thankfully for the travelling support, it was comfortable for the Pole.
The home side were winless going into this game but were certainly more than holding their own here. It took until thirty one minutes for the visitors to fashion their first attempt but unfortunately, Jarrod Bowen failed to beat McCarthy from 20 yards out.
In a lively game, a breakthrough wasn’t to be found by the time referee David Coote blew the whistle for the break and with both teams looking to start September on a winning note, could either go on to claim all three points?
It would have been interesting to hear what Moyes said to his team in the break, as they almost opened the scoring at the start of the second period. Michail Antonio linked up well with Saïd Benrahma. The former Nottingham Forest man took the shot on but Saints’ stopper Alex McCarthy was in the right place to deny him at his near post.
On fifty one minutes, Craig Dawson met Bowen’s corner but couldn’t beat McCarthy, while neither Tomáš Souček, or Angelo Ogbonna could reach the follow-up.
West Ham spent the majority of the second forty five minutes in the ascendancy and went close again when Bowen picked up possession, turned and shot towards goal. The sold-out away end thought they would see the ball hit the back of the net but somehow McCarthy managed to produce an outstanding save.
Just minutes after the hour mark, Moyes decided it was time to introduce Vlašić as his first change with the summer signing replacing Benrahma.
Hasenhüttl also named a number of his summer signings in the matchday squad and one of them almost made the desired impact on eighty one minutes.
Chelsea loanee Armando Broja shrugged off the attentions of both Dawson and Ogbonna in order to create an opportunity and what an opportunity it was! Fabiański was lucky not to be beaten with the Pole seeing the ball hit the base of the post.
Minutes later, Moyes made a second change as Andriy Yarmolenko replaced Bowen.
The East Londoners survived another scare as five minutes of stoppage time were signalled at the end of the game and it was Broja again who nearly sealed the points for his new team but Hammers’ Captain Declan Rice got back to clear off the line.
The match ended on a sour note for the East Londoners seconds before the final whistle sounded. Antonio, who had earlier been booked was given a second yellow card for a foul on Mohammed Salisu. The frontman will now be suspended for next Sunday’s home clash with Manchester United.
Coote brought proceedings to an end and Moyes can now look forward to taking his team to Croatia on Thursday night for their first European game in four years as they begin their UEFA Europa League group stage campaign against GNK Dinamo Zagreb.