West Ham 1-2 Bournemouth: Winners and losers from the London Stadium
Despite trailing at half-time, Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side battled back valiantly to make it two wins on the bounce with a 2-1 win at West Ham on Saturday.
Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
Renowned for their never die attitude, Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side were at it again this weekend.
While West Ham’s Hammer of the Year Marko Arnautovic did give the hosts the lead from the penalty spot in the first half, the Cherries produced all the good work at the restart and goals from Callum Wilson and Steve Cook saw the South coast side leave East London with all three points.
Conceding six goals in their last two games, there will certainly be more pressure on a West Ham side still struggling to adapt to life under former Premier League winning manager Manuel Pellegrini.
With Bournemouth now winning two in as many matches, here are the winners and losers from Saturday’s match:
Callum Wilson, the Cherries’ striker, will be wishing that he could play against West Ham every week.
Scoring his first professional hat-trick against the Hammers back in 2015, the 26-year-old put in a Man of the Match performance on Saturday and asked questions all afternoon.
Finding the net with a well-taken solo goal that he picked up on the halfway line, Wilson eased past five West Ham defenders and slid the ball under Fabianski’s legs.
Also finding the net against Cardiff in their 2-0 win on the opening weekend, he worked the channels tirelessly and constantly remains a threat for Eddie Howe’s side.
Wilson has now scored in three successive league games for the first time since April 2015, when they were in the Championship.
West Ham’s defence
After enduring a horror debut in the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool on the opening game of the season, summer signing Fabián Balbuena must have been wishing for an easier afternoon’s work.
However, the 26-year-old still looked well out of his depths and always struggled to deal with Bournemouth’s quick creativity in the final third.
Their issues were highlighted by Wilson’s solo goal. With five West Ham players around him, the Cherries striker breezed past them all, side-stepping an incredibly weak lunge by Balbuena 40 yards from the goal.
Balbuena’s centre half partner Angelo Ogbonna did not fare any better: the Italian was completely dominated by Steve Cook for the second goal and there was a clear lack of communication at the heart of the Hammers defence all afternoon.
With the highly-rated £21 million man Issa Diop having to once again settle for a place on the bench, West Ham fans will be demanding that the former Toulouse captain is installed to the starting eleven sooner rather than later.
After joining from Sheffield United in a deal worth up to £11.5 million earlier in the summer, David Brooks appears to be relishing the chance to perform on the Premier League stage.
With the Wales Under-20 international playing as Bournemouth’s most advanced midfielder, Brooks caused West Ham all sorts of problems playing between the lines and really pulled the strings for the Cherries.
Winning the free-kick for Bournemouth’s second having also nearly notched a stunning assist for Wilson in the first half, Brooks was a standout performer for the away side.
Taken off after 75 minutes to a standing ovation from the travelling support, the 21-year-old put in yet another eye-catching performance and is certainly one to watch for the Cherries.
Although last week’s starters, Ryan Fredericks and Michel Antonio, were omitted from Pellegrini’s squad altogether following West Ham’s 4-0 hammering by the Reds, youngster Declan Rice was arguably the more surprising omission.
West Ham’s Young Player of the Year was taken off at half-time after 45 minutes playing as a holding midfielder last weekend and there still seems to be plenty of confusion over if he is best used in their defence or midfield.
In a manner worryingly similar to what happened to fellow academy hopeful Reece Oxford, many around West Ham were upset that the 18-year-old failed to even secure a spot on the Hammers bench.
Now the longest-serving manager in the Premier League since the departure of Arsene Wenger last season, Eddie Howe has been the key part of Bournemouth’s rise.
Securing a record-breaking ninth-place finish last season, the Cherries picked up 21 points from a losing position last year and no team in the top flight held a better record.
Bournemouth were back at it again this weekend. While his side did fall a goal behind at halftime, Howe continued to implement his plan and his side dominated the second half.
Bringing in the highly-rated Jefferson Lerma in the summer transfer window, Howe’s side have now won their last four consecutive top-flight games for the first time in their history and the 40-year-old deserves enormous credit.
With his reputation as one of Britain’s outstanding young coaches only growing season by season, Bournemouth fans will know it’s only a matter of time before the Premier League’s biggest sides come knocking.
The London Stadium
West Ham’s players and their fans must be wishing that they could play each week away from the Olympic Stadium. With no team in the Premier League holding a worse home record than them, they have the feel of the away side even when they’re in East London.
New boss Manuel Pellegrini has been pleading with the fans for more time to gel his side together. However, the Hammers fans piled out of the stadium with 10 minutes to go and there were even a handful of boos from some of the fans who stayed for full-time.
With some calling the atmosphere in and around the stadium ‘toxic’ last season, West Ham fans continue to make the London Stadium an incredibly hostile environment for their side. The club’s decision to leave Upton Park is starting to look very foolish indeed.
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