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West Ham United 2-0 Norwich City
WEST HAM UNITED made it back-to-back Premier League victories, sweeping newly-promoted Norwich City aside at the London Stadium in a match they could have won far more comfortably than the 2-0 scoreline suggested.
Having got off the mark at Watford seven days previous, West Ham returned home, perhaps mindful of the visitor’s respectable start to the season, and particularly the form of the Premier League’s leading marksman, Teemu Pukki.
Nevertheless, those of a Hammers persuasion need not have worried.
Canaries skipper, Christoph Zimmermann, produced a superb last-ditch challenge to thwart Felipe Anderson’s advances early on as the home side picked up where they left off at Vicarage Road.
Norwich were organised, neat and tidy. However, West Ham’s patience paid off. Arthur Masuaku exchanged passes with Anderson, drove powerfully down the right before delivering low into the path of Sebastien Haller – the Frenchman, who simply couldn’t miss, was quick to share the plaudits while celebrating his third Premier League goal of the campaign.
Todd Cantwell was unable to react similarly, getting his bearings wrong and nodding waywardly at a Max Aarons’ centre, while Marco Stiepermann drilled directly at Lukasz Fabianski as Norwich searched for a swift response.
But with their tails up and the crowd behind them, West Ham was looking the more likely side to add to the scoring. Haller’s fierce volley cannoned back off an upright, this after Mark Noble’s deep cross. But within seconds, Andriy Yarmolenko was on hand to lash home – the Ukrainian finding himself in the right place at the right time after the marauding Noble had run into heavy traffic.
Teemu Pukki was having a reasonably quiet afternoon by his standards. The Finnish frontman saw his deflected attempt comfortably gathered by Fabianski as the Canaries struggled to make any real headway.
Indeed, it was the home side who appeared very much in the ascendancy. Tim Krul’s finger-tips rebuffed Fredericks stinging angled drive, while Issa Diop’s goalbound header was hacked off the line by Emiliano Buendia as the Hammers looked to kill the contest.
Krul pulled off a contender for ‘save of the season’ – acrobatically springing to his left to keep out a powerful header from Robert Snodgrass. The former Newcastle United stopper then denied both Anderson and Haller in quick succession as West Ham turned the screw.
Krul continued to stem the ever-increasing claret and blue tide – this time using his feet to again deny Snodgrass. Meanwhile, Declan Rice drove the wrong side of a post as the game drew to its conclusion.
West Ham United return to Premier League action after the international break, facing Aston Villa at Villa Park on Monday, September 16 (8pm).
West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Andriy Yarmolenko (Robert Snodgrass 71′), Felipe Anderson (Pablo Fornals 88′), Manuel Lanzini, Mark Noble (Capt) (Carlos Sanchez 85′), Angelo Ogbonna, Sebastien Haller, Issa Diop, Ryan Fredericks, Arthur Masuaku, Declan Rice Subs not used: Roberto (GK), Fabian Balbuena, Pablo Zabaleta, Albian Ajeti
Booked: Robert Snodgrass (foul), Ryan Fredericks (foul)
Goals: Sebastien Haller 24′, Andriy Yarmolenko 56′
Norwich City: Tim Krul, Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey, Christoph Zimmermann (Capt) (Ibrahim Amadou 37′), Moritz Leitner, Jamal Lewis, Todd Cantwell (Kenny McLean 78′), Emiliano Buendia, Marco Stiepermann (Josip Drmic 78′), Tom Trybull, Teemu Pukki Subs not used: Ralf Fahrmann (GK), Sam Byram, Mario Vrancic, Ibrahim Amadou, Alexander Tettey
Booked: Max Aarons (foul)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistants: Edward Smart and Harry Lennard
Fourth Official: Matthew Donohue
Reaction to follow….