Saturday, 22 October 2016

West Ham secure 1-0 win over hapless Sunderland

West Ham snatched a late winner in this closely contested game at the London Stadium.

The home side started in the same high tempo style as they deployed so successfully at Crystal Palace last week.

A series of chances came and went in the first half with Dimitri Payet at the centre of most of the best moves.

Early on, the French international whipped a shot past the post prior to dancing past three defenders only to see his shot turned away by Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford.

The keeper was again in action minutes later pushing aside a Simone Zaza shot, after a slick move involving Payet and Manuel Lanzini.

The best effort of the half saw Lanzini again feed Payet who made space, only to see his shot rock back off the post.

The second half proved a lacklustre affair, with little action in either goal mouth.

The game appeared to have reached stalemate when in the final minute Noble and Payet to combine for the latter to lay the ball on for advancing defender Winston Reid to strike his shot through a forest of players and into the Sunderland net.

West Ham were relieved to secure their second Premier league win at the London stadium, with manager Slaven Bilic singling out confidence as the vital missing component earlier in the season. “We never lost our energy, faith and self belief. We lost our confidence,” said Bilic. “No training, no motivation can get that back. Now we need to scrap to keep this momentum. In many areas we are looking much better now.”

The manager also felt his side should have had a penalty in the first half when Reid was wrestled to the ground.

There must be areas though that worry the manager, such as the failure to find a cutting edge up front. Zaza tries hard but has continued to draw blanks in front of goal, while Ashley Fletcher and Jonathan Calleri, who both came on, lack confidence.

Full backs are another area of concern, with Michail Antonio again looking uncomfortable in the role in this game, whilst make shift left back Edmilson Fernandes did well in the role but he is clearly a midfield player. Indeed, at times later in the game it seemed like West Ham were playing with no full backs.
It must be an enduring mystery to the fans how West Ham brought in so many players in the summer but failed to secure a top class right back.

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