West Ham – Fulham: Ademola Lookman’s ugly stoppage-time penalty attempt stopped Fulham from taking a point from West Ham in a 1-0 loss at the London Stadium on Saturday.
The Irons had been stymied by Fulham keeper Alphonse Areola until a stoppage-time goal from Tomas Soucek gave West Ham a deserved lead despite an apparent offside in the build-up.
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The Cottagers frantic efforts to equalize provided a VAR-awarded penalty that Lookman softly chipped to a correctly-guessing Lukasz Fabianski.
Fulham’s point total of four puts it one clear of the drop zone, while the Irons improve to 3W-2D-3L. West Ham is one of three clubs on 11 points.
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3 things we learned from West Ham – Fulham
1. Areola in a groove: The PSG loanee would’ve wondered what he’d gotten himself into after conceding seven goals in his first two Premier League appearances, but Fulham keeper Alphonse Areola has since been very very strong between the sticks since those matches. Areola had four saves including a couple of early show-stoppers for the Cottagers.
2. Irons spared blushes coming out of tough stretch: The Irons emerged from a six-match gauntlet of Arsenal, Wolves, Leicester City, Tottenham, Man City, and Liverpool with an admirable eight points and that was supposed to signal a straight-forward three points at home to Fulham (even without Michail Antonio and Mark Noble). That didn’t materialize, though a win felt increasingly probable as the Irons finally found their footing in the final 15 minutes. They needed a poor penalty attempt from Lookman to take the points.
3. USMNT back Robinson moves forward: That’s five-straight Fulham starts that’ve gone the distance for USMNT left back Antonee Robinson, who’s earned Scott Parker’s trust. Robinson, 23, posted three clearances and two tackles. His crossing was a bit off but overall it’s been a promising time in London for one of Gregg Berhalter’s best hopes to solve the national team’s left back problem.
Man of the Match:
Aaron Cresswell over Areola, and just. West Ham’s left back-turned-left center back was a force with four key passes amongst a number of notable crosses and long passes.
West Ham – Fulham recap
West Ham were all over the Cottagers early, forcing a near-post block and two saves from Alphonse Areola before plunking the cross bar in the seventh minute.
The hosts kept buzzing but unable to open the scoring, typified by Jarrod Bowen’s half-chance near the half-hour mark.
But Fulham got the best chance of the half with Aleksandar Mitrovic flicked an Ademola Lookman through ball across goal but absent receiver in the 40th minute.
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Jarrod Bowen smashed a volley that deflected wide of the post for a corner in the 52nd minute.
The Irons kept working toward a winner that felt likely, and went ahead when substitute Benrahma took a half-header and laid off for Soucek to blast home.
Fulham kept fighting and Tom Cairney appeal for a pen when Benraham cut him down in the 18. VAR told referee Rob Jones to take a look at the monitor, and Fulham went to the spot. But Lookman couldn’t fool Fabianski with a weak chip.