Two would-be Top Seven teams both delivered attacking quality on Saturday, but West Ham United will be happier as it delivered a late equalizer in a 2-2 with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
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But Bournemouth will feel aggrieved by the chalking off of a Nathan Ake goal by VAR, one that would’ve made it 3-1.
Three things we learned
1. Yarmolenko at his very best: Last week’s star show led to another for the Ukranian playmaker, who took the fine work of Sebastien Haller to set him up and raised it to the next level. He worked a very good center back in Nathan Ake to score, and could’ve had two or three assists on the day. With Haller, Manuel Lanzini, and Yarmolenko, the Irons have game changers.
2. VAR stings Cherries: Bournemouth’s Ake thought he had a goal to go with an assist, and the Cherries would’ve had a 3-1 lead had VAR not noted that Ryan Fredericks was hip-to-hip with a just offside Dominic Solanke as the ball took the slightest of turns off the West Ham defender. It’s an offside that probably never gets called without video, as Solanke was in the sightline of Irons goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez but not making a play on the ball.
3. Wilson scores, but will rue miss: Are these the sort of missed chances that keep Callum Wilson from breaking into the England mix? The striker scored once, yeah, but his 1v1 chance belted into Jimenez’s thigh from close range is one which should’ve really decided the match.
BONUS. Fabianski injury a big concern: Roberto Jimenez has plenty of experience between the sticks, but Lukasz Fabianski limping off heavily could be a major prob for the Irons. He was one of their best players last season, and West Ham looks up for a Top Seven challenge. Slim margins between star keepers and adequate ones.
Man of the Match: Yarmolenko
West Ham took a deserved lead following its bright start, as Sebastien Haller settled the ball and laid off for Yarmolenko. The Ukranian turned Nathan Ake — no east feat — and curled a gorgeous ball around a helpless Aaron Ramsdale.
VAR took a look at a potential Bournemouth equalizer which had been blown dead for offside. Ake’s trap of a cross was kept onside, and King’s classy finish hit the scoreboard after a minute’s review.
The next moment was an injury, as West Ham star backstop Lukasz Fabianski was banged up and the Irons introduced well-traveled Spanish backstop Roberto Jimenez. The backup allowed four goals to Oxford United at midweek.
Felipe Anderson had a scissor kick well-saved by Ramsdale on the edge of first half stoppage to keep West Ham from taking what would’ve been a fairly well-earned advantage.
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Wilson belted a shot past Jimenez, after the referee played advantage following a foul on Dominic Solanke outside the 18. Perhaps the defense and keeper shifted off, but Wilson did not. 2-1 after 29 seconds of the second half.
Ake made it 3-1 in traffic, but would it stand past VAR? No, a razor-thin call went against the goal scorer, whose shot hit West Ham’s Ryan Fredericks on its way past Jimenez. Solanke was ruled to be offside.
Yarmolenko’s curling effort nearly leveled the score line in the 64th, but just missed the far post.
The in-form Ukranian then sent a gorgeous pass over the fray for Anderson to head on Ramsdale, who was wise to the effort.
Jimenez denied Wilson 1v1, an unreal opportunity denied by indecision and sturdy goalkeeping.
Cresswell delivered West Ham’s equalizer, scoring tighter to goal than his pristine free kick last week. It was a Yarmolenko cross headed back into the fray by Anderson.