West Ham United 4-2 Burnley
Turning the clock back to November 3, 2018 – West Ham went into the game keen to end a three-match winless sequence against a Burnley side surprisingly struggling to defend of late…
WEST HAM UNITED made a welcome return to winning ways after seeing off a dogged Burnley side in what was an entertaining Premier League encounter at the London Stadium.
The Hammers hadn’t won in four previous matches in various competitions, although recent performances suggested they had deserved a little more for their ever-improving toil.
Nevertheless, despite the visitors heading into the match off the back of two heavy defeats, Hammers boss, Manuel Pellegrini, insisted Burnley would offer his side a stiff test, explaining: “They have had the same manager for years and I expect them to continue playing the same way they did last season, with a flat back four and a lot of the same players.
“I have enough things to work out with my team to beat Burnley to worry about what Burnley have to do to beat us!”
Pellegrini’s preparations were boosted by the return of talismanic striker, Marko Arnautovic – the Austrian having missed the Hammers previous two outings due to illness.
Ashley Westwood and Ben Mee provided a somewhat robust introduction for the home side as both Arnautovic and Pedro Obiang were on the receiving end of un-gamely challenges. But when James Tarkowski attempted to find Joe Hart with a horrendously placed back pass, Arnautovic took full advantage, slotting low beyond the one-time England stopper and sparking the home crowd into life, and an aggressive reaction from the Hammers frontman.
West Ham looked in the mood. Hart denied Arnautovic a second following an interchange of passes with Felipe Anderson, while Grady Diangana almost seized on another nervous moment from Tarkowski as the hosts probed menacingly.
Mee somehow acrobatically nodded Anderson’s goalbound strike off the line, while Diangana again provided a constant threat as the traffic continued to follow decisively one way. But with a second goal not forthcoming, Burnley snatched their chance. Johann Berg Gudmundsson prodded past Lukasz Fabianski to stun much of the London Stadium crowd, this after Steven Defour had picked him out.
Hart expertly saved from Robert Snodgrass and Arnautovic, while Mee snubbed out substitute Javier Hernandez as West Ham continued on the front foot after the interval.
But Burnley clearly couldn’t hang on forever. Diangana released Anderson and the Brazilian playmaker slotted through the advancing Hart’s legs to reestablish the home sides lead.
But once again, the Hammers defensive Achilles heel returned to haunt them. Substitute, Chris Wood rose unchallenged to powerfully head home Robbie Brady’s flag-kick, leaving everyone connected with the east Londoners confused and bemused.
However, the Hammers were determined to end their recent difficult run. Anderson’s effort deflected off Mee, wrong-footing Hart in the process, as they took the lead for the third time in the contest.
Wood clipped the bar, while Hart saved from Anderson as the sides continued to entertainingly slug it out. But in stoppage-time, West Ham put the outcome beyond reasonable doubt. Hernandez supplied an emphatic finish after Michail Antonio had cleverly played him in, sparking a sense of relief from the out of sorts Mexican as well as the home fans.
West Ham United return to Premier League action on Saturday, November 10 when they face Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium (3pm).
West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Pablo Zabaleta (Capt), Fabian Balbuena, Issa Diop, Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice, Pedro Obiang (Javier Hernandez 61’), Robert Snodgrass, Grady Diangana (Michail Antonio 86’), Felipe Anderson, Marko Arnautovic (Angelo Ogbonna 90’) Subs not used: Adrian (GK), Ryan Fredericks, Arthur Masuaku, Lucas Perez
Booked: Felipe Anderson (foul)
Goals: Marko Arnautovic 10’, Felipe Anderson 68’, 83’, Javier Hernandez 90+1’
Burnley: Joe Hart, Matthew Lowton, Charlie Taylor, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee (Capt), Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Sam Vokes (Chris Wood 72’), Steven Defour, Ashley Westwood, Aaron Lennon (Robbie Brady 75’), Matej Vydra (Ashley Barnes 72’) Subs not used: Tom Heaton (GK), Jeff Hendrick, Kevon Long, Dwight McNeil
Booked: James Tarkowski (foul), Matthew Lowton (foul), Robbie Brady (foul), Ashley Barnes (foul)
Goals: Johann Berg Gudmundsson 44’, Chris Wood 76’
Referee: Roger East
Assistants: Matthew Wilkes and Derek Easton
Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell
Reaction to follow…