Hammers Suffer A Frank Beating
West Ham United started 2022 with a victory at Crystal Palace and they were looking to end the year in similar fashion but unfortunately, they are now without a win since beating newly-promoted AFC Bournemouth back on October 24 after a 2-0 defeat to Brentford in Stratford on Friday night.
David Moyes changed to a back three and made changes from the defeat at Arsenal on Boxing Day, as Pablo Fornals, Tomáš Souček and Michail Antonio were all dropped to the bench and replaced by Angelo Ogbonna, Emmerson Palmieri and Gianluca Scamacca. Thilo Kehrer was also left out of the starting line-up with the German taking his place amongst the nine substitutes.
The Hammers started well against Arsenal just four days ago and they did the same here. But it was the same old story as they were unable to make the most of their chances.
Captain Declan Rice went the closest and had goalkeeper David Raya beaten but the ball hit the post and bounced away for a goal kick.
The Irons kept up the pressure and Craig Dawson met Jarrod Bowen’s corner but could only head wide. Minutes later Bowen tried his luck but the Bees’ defence stood firm.
Goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański saved well from Bryan Mbutemo before there was more disappointment for the home faithful, as Brentford went ahead after just eighteen minutes. Although Fabiański had saved Christian Nørgaard effort, Ivan Toney was in the right place to prod the ball past the helpless Pole.
West Ham were still trying to get back into the game but that all-important goal seemed elusive. Both Bowen and Scamacca tried their luck but were unable to test Raya.
Palmieri went close to an equaliser but soon after, Thomas Frank’s side doubled their advantage as Josh Dasilva beat Fabiański and the East Londoners had given themselves a mountain to climb.
Brentford were on their way to a third consecutive league victory over the Hammers here unless Moyes could get his side going during the break.
Referee Darren England restarted the action and West Ham immediately went in search of a goal back. Bowen went down and the majority inside the stadium were calling for a penalty. It looked like they get their wish, as England consulted VAR but after a quicker than usual check, he changed his mind and the home side would only be awarded a free-kick.
Aaron Cresswell stepped up to take the set-piece but he only succeeded in sending it over the top.
Bowen then moved into a dangerous area but didn’t strike the ball with enough power, meaning it was easy for Raya to hold onto.
Moyes then changed his formation and went with two upfront when Antonio replaced Palmieri on sixty four minutes and the Scotsman was keen to see what the former Nottingham Forest man could do here after performing impressively at The Emirates Stadium.
It was Dawson who came up with the Hammers’ next opportunity with a long-range shot but unfortunately he couldn’t hit the target.
Scamacca scored a rocket in the 2-0 home victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers back on October 1 and he tried a similar effort here but the Spanish stopper was able to get a hand to it. Moments later Dawson forced a spectacular save from the former Blackburn goalkeeper, as he was edging ever closer to keeping a clean sheet.
Moyes made another change with eight minutes of normal time to play, as Souček was introduced in place of Lucas Paquetá.
As they were at the end of the first-half, the home faithful booed their side off the pitch when England blew the final whistle after four minutes of stoppage time had been signalled and this defeat meant that they dropped to seventeenth in the Premier League table.
The Irons meet the Bees again next Saturday for a third round FA Cup tie but before then, they start 2023 with a trip to Elland Road to face Leeds United on Wednesday night.