Chicharito

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STREAM: West Ham United vs. Huddersfield Town

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West Ham’s next chance for its first points of the Premier League season comes with a Monday visit from surprising Huddersfield Town (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ STREAM: West Ham vs. Huddersfield Town ]

The Irons will hope that a starting role for Andy Carroll can help them get the job done, and pairing with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez has to be an enticing idea for embattled coach Slaven Bilic.

For Huddersfield Town, Jonas Lossl is between the sticks with a chance to become just the fourth goalkeeper in PL history to start his career with four clean sheets. The Danish backstop would join Pepe Reina, Anders Lindegaard, and Alex Manninger.

This is the first match between West Ham and Huddersfield Town since the 1997-98 League Cup.

LINEUPS

West Ham United: Hart, Zabaleta, Reid, Collins, Fonte, Cresswell, Kouyate, Obiang, Antonio, Chicharito, Carroll. Subs: Adrian, Byram, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Rice, Ayew, Sakho.

Huddersfield Town: Lossl; Smith, Schindler, Billing, Lowe, Mooy, Zanka, Ince, Van La Parra, Kachunga, Mounie. Subs: Coleman, Malone, Sabiri, Williams, Depoitre, Hadergjonaj, Hefele.

Brace-bagging Chicharito soured by officiating at St. Mary’s

Adam Davy/ PA via AP
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West Ham United nearly pulled off a stunning comeback with 10 men, a late concession making Javier Hernandez’s two-goal day a little less sunny.

The ex-Manchester United man scored in both halves for his first scoring match day in the Premier League since 2014.

[ RECAP: Saints 3-2 West Ham ]

The first came after teammate Marko Arnautovic was sent off for an elbow, while Chicharito’s second marker was followed by Southampton earning its second penalty kick of the match when Pablo Zabaleta interfered with Maya Yoshida‘s attempted header in the box.

Hernandez was not pleased that the Hammers’ game effort down a man went for nothing on the table. From the BBC:

“When you are running most of the game with 10 men, the penalty decision is harsh. We spoke about Marko Arnautovic’s sending off, it is not completely a red card.

“It shows the character of this team that we do not give up. You have to look at the positives and to look forward. It is hard with 11 men but with 10 men it is even harder. I gained motivation and confidence and happy I scored two but the result is what stays in your head.”

Both goals were classic Chicharito, as the relentless Mexican striker was on the scene to beat his marker to two rebounds. West Ham now sits bottom of the Premier League table through two matches.

VIDEO: Mexican striker Hernandez bags brace for West Ham

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Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez has his first and second Premier League goals since 2014 to open his account as a West Ham United player, though the Hammers lost 3-2 to Southampton at St. Mary’s on Saturday.

Both arrived in fitting fashion, and with West Ham down to 10 men.

Mexico’s first-class poacher was in his office to finish with ease after Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster pushed a Michail Antonio shot onto his path, and then did it again in the closing stages.

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Hernandez raced past his marker to finish and give the 10-man Irons a chance at a St. Mary’s comeback following a red card to Marko Arnautovic.

Dusan Tadic, Charlie Austin, and Manolo Gabbiadini scored for Saints.

See the first goal atop the page, and the second below:

Southampton 3-2 West Ham: Late pen avoids Saints blushes

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  • Redmond, Gabbiadini combine for first
  • Arnautovic sent off
  • Tadic, Austin convert penalties
  • Hernandez scores twice

Charlie Austin watched as Southampton tossed away a 2-0 lead against brace-scoring Chicharito and 10-man West Ham United, then buried a penalty in stoppage time to give Saints all three points on Saturday at St. Mary’s.

Manolo Gabbiadini and Dusan Tadic scored to stake Saints to their lead, and Maya Yoshida won the penalty.

Marko Arnautovic saw red for violent conduct in the first half, and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored for West Ham before and after the break.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Nathan Redmond‘s through ball slid right into Gabbiadini’s stride, and the Italian spun the ball around Joe Hart and inside the far post.

Redmond then flicked a Dusan Tadic pass toward Hart, but the England keeper was wise to it.

Mark Noble should’ve put West Ham down to 10 men with an awful challenge just before the half hour mark, and then Marko Arnautovic earned a red card with an elbow to the neck of Jack Stephens.

Tadic converted a penalty on his 100th Premier League appearance, getting his 15th goal after ex-Saints star Jose Fonte hauled down Steven Davis in the box.

Hernandez netted his first West Ham goal when Fraser Forster pushed Michail Antonio‘s left-footed shot onto the path of the Mexican national team star.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

El Tri’s first class poacher was at it for the equalizer as well, as Forster saved another Antonio chance to Hernandez for a blast into the top of the net.

Nathan Redmond took a left-footed effort that deflected, forcing Hart to push the ball off the bar and out for a corner.

And Saints would break through with a second penalty given by Lee Mason. Pablo Zabaleta tried to get away with a veteran’s shove as Yoshida tried a header in stoppage time.

Premier League 2017-18 preview – West Ham United

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West Ham truly, truly struggled at times last season. Injuries were abound. There were questions asked of Slaven Bilic.

And yet through all that, they finished 11th. That seems to speak to the depth of the roster and the fantastic, sometimes underappreciated managerial job Bilic did to keep the Hammers afloat despite all the struggles.

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This year, the bad luck should turn around. West Ham shedded the excess fat on the squad and brought in a pair of impact players who should step right into the starting lineup. Marko Arnautovic especially is a fantastic addition, who along with Robert Snodgrass, Manuel Lanzini, Sofiane Feghouli, and Michail Antonio should provide plenty for new signing Chicharito to feast on.

Best, worst case scenarios – Best case, this is a Europa League team. With all the new attacking talent for Bilic to play with, he can rotate players to avoid or deal with injuries. At the back, Bilic will have to find his preferred formation, because the depth will give him headaches – a good problem to have.

Through all the problems last season, the team still finished strong and away from the relegation battle, proving they are not a relegation candidate this season, even if the injury troubles return. Worst-case is probably another early flirt with the bottom third, but ultimately they pull out of it for a 13th place spot.


Best possible XI is…

Hart

Fonte — Reid — Ogbonna

Antonio — Noble — Lanzini  — Kouyate — Arnautovic

Carroll — Hernandez

This is tough, and you can be sure Bilic will rotate plenty. Pablo Zabaleta and Aaron Cresswell will get time in a typical 4-man defensive line, while Robert Snodgrass and Sofiane Feghouli will rotate through on the wings. Diafra Sakho provides striker depth.


[ MORE: 2017-18 PL season preview hub ] 

Transfers In: Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City, $27 million), Chicharito (Bayer Leverkusen, $21 million), Joe Hart (Manchester City, Loan), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City, Free).

Transfers Out: Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough, $9 million), Havard Nordtveit (Hoffenheim, $8.5 million), Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough, $6.6 million), Raphael Spiegel (Boavista, Free), Stephen Hendrie (Southend United, Free Transfer).

Last season: 

— 11th place in Premier League
— FA Cup 3rd Round (lost to Manchester City)
— League Cup quarterfinals (lost to Manchester United)

Star Player: Chicharito — Last season, West Ham seriously missed a player who could finish chances with Andy Carroll either out or misfiring. Now, they have a guy who can provide that final touch. Chicharito is a top-class striker who will eat up the goals where last season the Hammers failed to find the back of the net.

Last year, West Ham was ninth in the Premier League in chances created. Add Arnautovic to that mix, plus a healthy Snodgrass and Lanzini, and this season could be a big return to England for the Little Pea.

Coach’s Corner: Slaven Bilic — If it wasn’t clear after his first season in charge at West Ham, last season should prove how valuable the 48-year-old Croatian is to the Hammers. Bilic is able to mix and match his tactics to fit who is available and on the field, such an important trait last season when players were dropping like flies. Now, with good squad depth, he’ll need to channel that ability again to get everyone’s best.

PST Predicts: With the creative talent and steadiness at the back, West Ham should seriously improve on last season. They’ll finish more chances, and with Bilic in charge, this should be a top-half team with a shot at a Europa League spot.