West Ham – West Brom was a tight, tense clash as Michail Antonio’s predatory finishing was the difference between the two teams.
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Jarrod Bowen put West Ham 1-0 up but Matheus Pereira equalized before Antonio struck the winner for the second game in a row after his return from injury.
With the win West Ham move on to 32 points and are just five points off the top of the table, while West Brom are on 11 points and remain in the relegation zone and five points from safety.
Three things we learned
1. Antonio gives Hammers extra edge: The career arc of Michail Antonio is quite remarkable. In non-league and battling through the lower leagues for many years, the winger moved to West Ham and found himself chucked up top as a central striker. He’s flourished in that role (scoring 41 times in the PL for the Hammers to sit third all-time on their goalscoring charts) and West Ham missed him badly when he was out through injury. In the two games since he’s come back he’s scored two winners to move the Hammers into the top four conversation. Capable of clever finishes, powerful runs and skilful link-up play, Antonio gives West Ham an extra edge. Their entire attack comes to life when he’s running at a defender or a cross comes into the box towards him. Antonio, now 30, is an unsung hero and as long as he stays fit, West Ham have a chance of qualifying for Europe.
2. West Brom keep conceding: The camera panned to Sam Allardyce after both West Ham goals and on both occasions he had a face like thunder. No wonder. It was anti-Allardyce defending from his team, as crosses into the box have been a big problem for the West Brom defenders before, and since, he arrived to try and keep them in the Premier League. West Brom have conceded a whopping 19 goals in Big Sam’s first seven games in charge in all competitions. He has to tighten that up if he wants to keep West Brom up. It is simple. Even in the win at Wolves at the weekend they got lucky as their defensive mistakes were not punished. Allardyce’s blueprint is all about limiting mistakes and playing the percentages. West Brom aren’t able to do the simple things well right now.
3. Moyes to get credit he deserves: Whatever way you slice this up, David Moyes deserves huge credit. He arrived midway through last season with West Ham in a relegation battle and has totally restructured the team. They look like a Moyes side in the best possible way and are horrible to play against. The Hammers have enough quality in attack to hurt teams too, just like Moyes’ teams at Everton had, and they are brilliantly efficient. Moyes is unfashionable and many will never forget his ill-fated season at Manchester United. But this West Ham team remind you of the miracles he worked at Everton. The crazy thing is, despite having West Ham just five points off the top of the table Moyes and his players are saying they can play much better than they are. That is the sign of a good team.
Man of the Match: Aaron Cresswell – Some brilliant deliveries and provided quality passing and crosses all game long on the left flank.
West Ham started well and Craig Dawson should have scored from a corner but headed wide at the back post.
Set pieces were the main source of chances for both teams as Angelo Ogbonna was under pressure from Kyle Bartley in a tight, tense clash.
Vladimir Coufal, Manuel Lanzini and Said Benrahma went close from distance for West Ham but West Brom continued to look dangerous from set pieces.
But right on half time Bowen chested home from close range after a long ball into the box by Benrahma was hammered towards goal by Coufal.
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The second half started with a bang as Pereira drilled home from distance to equalize, as a VAR check on Conor Gallagher being in an offside position was waved away.
That West Brom goal woke West Ham up as Lanzini had a shot cleared off the line, Rice curled wide and the West Ham skipper clipped across goal soon after but nobody could finish.
Antonio then won it for West Ham after that flurry of chances, as substitute Andriy Yarmolenko nodded Cresswell’s superb cross into a dangerous area and the main man for the Hammers finished cheekily.
Late on both teams had chances as Gallagher shanked a great chance for West Brom and Darnell Furlong also went close, but the Hammers had a few speculative efforts and held on for the win.