Vital Win At The Vitality
West Ham United have moved above AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League table after beating the newly-promoted Cherries 4-0 at The Vitality Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Nayef Aguerd retained his place from the team that beat Belgian outfit KAA Gent in the UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-final just three days earlier, as Łukasz Fabiański and Aaron Cresswell replaced Alphonse Areola and Emmerson Palmieri, who both dropped to the bench.
The Hammers were obviously full of confidence going into this game and they went ahead after just five minutes. They won themselves a corner, which was taken by Cresswell and his delivery found Michail Antonio, who was allowed a free header at goal and he placed the ball into the back of the net, beyond home goalkeeper Neto to claim his third goal in two games and have the travelling support cheering.
Those who had made the trip from East London had more reason to celebrate seven minutes later when further shaky defending from the hosts allowed Vladimír Coufal to take possession from Marcus Tavernier and then play in Jarrod Bowen. He took the ball upfield and crossed into the area, where Lucas Paquetá then bagged his second goal of the week, as he too headed past Neto.
Although the scoreline was firmly in the control of the visitors, Gary O’Neill’s side did create opportunities. Jefferson Lerma tested Fabiański but fortunately, the Pole was equal to his effort. Then not long after, Dominic Solanke evaded the attentions of Aguerd and was through on goal but he was denied by the former Swansea City and Arsenal stopper’s boot.
Moyes’ men still had their two-goal advantage intact and survived the spell of pressure, before adding to their tally with just two minutes of normal time to play until the break. Declan Rice also notched up another goal after his stupendous strike three days earlier when another Cresswell corner was sent into the box and flicked on by Tomáš Souček. When the ball fell to the Captain’s path, he gave Neto no chance.
When referee Anthony Taylor blew the whistle for half-time, the Irons had built such an advantage that you would think they would be very unlikely to lose it.
Not content with just the three goals, the East Londoners went looking for more at the start of the second-half. They could have got a fourth too!!! A great team move involving Paquetá, Saïd Benrahma, Bowen and Cresswell ended with the former Brentford winger sending a tame shot straight at Neto.
Whilst West Ham were in the mood to get more goals, the Cherries were trying all they could to keep scoreline respectable.
Moyes made a double change on sixty five minutes, as the Algerian was taken off, along with Antonio, allowing Pablo Fornals and Danny Ings to enter the fray.
West Ham made it 4-0 just seven minutes later, as Fornals scored a quite remarkable goal when Rice stole in to gain possession, he then passed to Bowen for the winger to cross into the box. The opportunity looked to have gone until Fornals managed to swivel around and flick the ball over his head and into the net past and extremely helpless goalkeeper.
Moyes made use of his fifth and final change on eighty three minutes as Thilo Kehrer came on for Coufal.
O’Neill’s team tried to get themselves a consolation in the closing stages. Solanke tried his luck but thankfully for the travelling support, his attempt came back off the post.
Cornet then thought he had opened his account for West Ham as the minutes ticked away. However, a VAR check spotted that the Ivorian was in an offside position.
That decision didn’t dampen the spirits of the away fans though, as they were able to celebrate back-to-back away wins for the first time this season.
Having cruised through this match, it is a much tougher task coming up next for the Irons, as Liverpool are the visitors to Stratford on Wednesday night.