Aaron Cresswell

Premier League Preview: Sheffield United v. West Ham United

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The Premier League gets back in business on Friday at Bramall Lane when Sheffield United hosts West Ham United (Watch Live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Their table fortunes are indicative of the Premier League’s lack of clear tiers so far this season.

Blades are two points off fifth and seven back of the Top Four, while West Ham is two points off the drop zone and a win off 11th.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

West Ham cruised past Bournemouth in opening David Moyes‘ second tenure with the Irons, while the Blades are coming off back-to-back losses and are winless in three.

The sides met Oct. 26 in London, with Lys Mousset‘s goal leveling the line after Robert Snodgrass put West Ham up at home.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE


Injuries/suspensions

Sheffield United: OUT —  None. QUESTIONABLE — Michael Verrips, Simon Moore.

West Ham United: OUT — Michail Antonio, Andriy Yarmolenko, Ryan Fredericks, Mark Noble, Jack Wilshere. QUESTIONABLE — Aaron Cresswell, Mark Noble.


Probable lineups

Sheffield United: Henderson; Egan, Basham, O’Connell, Stevens, Norwood, Fleck, Besic, Baldock, Mousset, McGoldrick.

West Ham United: Fabianski, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Fredericks, Rice, Noble, Fornals, Anderson, Snodgrass, Haller.


What they’re saying

Blades defender John Egan on rebounding from tough losses: “They were really tough trips to (Man) City and Liverpool. They’re probably the two best teams in the country, so going away to them was always going to be tough. The Man City game, we were quite unlucky not to get a result. … The Liverpool game was a bit of an eye-opener for us. We weren’t at our best, which we have to be to try and get a result. We came away from those two games, saw where we went wrong and we have to learn from it. All we can do is try and get better so next time we play these teams we have a better chance of getting a result.”

West Ham boss Moyes on transfer links: “I think West Ham have been linked with just about every player in the country and I’m here a week and a half, so it’s interesting, but I think that’s the norm for here. Quite often we are linked with a lot of players. We won’t be bringing in a bundle of players in, but obviously we’d like to add to the squad if we can. Gedson Fernandes is one name we’re talking about. He’s a young player with potential, probably more for the future. From that point of view, I’d like to bring young players in for the future, players we can look to build to get a strong, young team, but I also have to be wary that I need players who are ready for now and can feature in the first team as well.”


Prediction

The Blades are a handful, but West Ham’s new lease on life also feels pretty real. How about another split of the spoils and 1-1 at Bramall Lane?

West Ham smashes Bournemouth as Moyes begins 2nd term

Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images
Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images
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The David Moyes era is off to a flying start thanks to West Ham United’s 4-0 demolition of woeful Bournemouth at the London Stadium on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Mark Noble scored twice, once from the spot, to join Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller on the score sheet.

Bournemouth sinks into 18th with 20 points, two points and places behind the hosts.


Three things we learned

1. Key pieces give David Moyes a dream (re)debut: Manuel Pellegrini will be shaking his fists at the sky after West Ham’s biggest names delivered on Wednesday (Actually, he seems like a classy guy and he’s probably happy for them). Anderson and Haller both scored, and their awakening is paramount to the Irons success. The opponents won’t always be visitors and Bournemouth, but this was a professional home win and cannot be discounted given the misery around the London side.

2. Cherries table spot fits their season: Bournemouth dipped into the Bottom Three thanks to Aston Villa joining West Ham as teams to collect three points on Wednesday. It could’ve been so much worse than 4-0, as Aaron Ramsdale made a few decent saves and the Irons also missed some gilt-edged chances. Don’t take too much away from West Ham’s response to a new manager and their attacking talent, but Bournemouth looked so, so bad in being out shot 14-3.

3. Cresswell sending off overturned: Aaron Cresswell drew a straight red card in the 75th minute with a studs-up tackle. Ugly stuff on a beautiful day for the Irons, but their fortunate day continued when VAR took it from a red to a yellow.

Man of the Match: Noble. Moyes said he was gonna lean on his captain, and “Mr. West Ham” was didn’t mind the extra weight.


Bournemouth’s been as bad as West Ham, and the hosts punished their poor defending twice in the first 26 minutes.

First, Felipe Anderson and Robert Snodgrass conducted some in-box interplay before the latter set up Noble for his opener.

Then Haller used a scissor kick after Snodgrass cued up a Ryan Fredericks cross to the Frenchman.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson then put Noble to the turf for a 34th minute penalty. The captain rolled it in.

Anderson missed a chance to make it 4-0 in the 66th minute and was due to be subbed off when he cashed in a second chance.

The ex-Lazio attacker took a terrific first touch of a fantastic Declan Rice diagonal ball and dribbled into the 18 to roll past Aaron Ramsdale.

That’s when Aaron Cresswell lost his mind, tackling Ryan Fraser to see straight red in the 75th. Fortunately for him, VAR saw a clear and obvious error. Very fortunate.

Ljungberg on Pepe: He ‘showed his quality’

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Arsene Wenger used to say that players needed around six months once they came to the Premier League to get adjusted to both living in England and getting acclimated to the pace and physicality of the league.

For Nicolas Pepe, it was advice well heeded.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Offensively, Pepe was outstanding as he scored a goal and an assist in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over West Ham. At the same time, Pepe worked hard on the defensive end, making life difficult for West Ham left back Aaron Cresswell and anyone down West Ham’s right flank.

On Monday, Pepe showed that he was worth his $87 million transfer fee, and he only needs a yard of space to create something magical.

“People always ask me about Nico and I try to explain,” Ljungberg after the game. “He comes from the French league, he comes to the Premier League – in my opinion the best league in the world – and it’s a lot faster and a lot harder. He needs to adapt. People put pressure on him but that’s not so easy, and I thought what he did today was he worked really hard offensively and defensively and showed his quality.

“I’m so pleased for him because at the same time he was a big, big buy for the club and then comes pressure with that as well. He will fall asleep with a smile tonight.”

In the 66th minute, Pepe found himself isolated on the wing with just Cresswell to beat. After cutting inside, Pepe curled home a beauty which ended up being the game-winning-goal. It was just his second Premier League goal of the season and his first from open play. Perhaps now after five months of bedding in at Arsenal, Pepe is ready to shine.

There’s no doubt that with Arsenal’s defensive issues, they need their attacking stars to score in bunches from here on out. If Pepe can finish the season with ten goals and ten assists, it will be a wild success, and set him up well for the next season.

Arsenal overruns West Ham with 3 second half goals

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Who saw that coming?

With three goals in a nine-minute span in the second half, Arsenal overcame a one-goal halftime deficit to comfortably beat West Ham, 3-1, on Monday night at the Olympic Stadium. It was a complete reversal after a second half where Arsenal didn’t attempt a single shot on target in the first half and were second-best in winning duals and second balls.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

But it was the Arsenal stars who helped the club when it was effectively on its knee, facing a tenth-straight match without a win. Goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe and youngster Gabriel Martinelli secured all three points for Arsenal.

On the other side, West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini is in a whole host of trouble. West Ham sits just one point above the relegation zone after 16 league matches, and Pellegrini was expected to take the Hammers to the next level.


Three things we learned

1. Arsenal stars finally step up: With Arsenal on the verge of another demoralizing defeat, the club’s expensive strike force helped turn the tide in the second half. Martinelli, Aubameyang, and Pepe all played a huge role, and their goals, arguably against the run of play, were more than enough to inject some excitement into the club.

2. No Luiz, No Problem: Arsenal may have found its new starting centerback combination. After multiple error-prone performances with Sokratis playing alongside David Luiz, Arsenal boss Freddy Ljunberg went with Calum Chambers to partner Sokratis. The end result was a much more organized backline, and fewer mistakes, leading to fewer allowed goals.

3. Pellegrini on the hot seat: Pellegrini will have a nervous few days ahead of him. Despite a rare win over Chelsea last week, West Ham has now dropped successive defeats, first to Wolves and now Arsenal, leaving West Ham on the edge of relegation. Could Pellegrini last until January?

Man of the Match: Arsenal’s defense deserves credit, but goals win games, so Man of the Match has to go to Nicolas Pepe. The Ivory Coast international absolutely earned his massive transfer fee on Monday, scoring a beautiful curler and then setting up Aubameyang with a chip into the box.


In the run up to kickoff, and even halftime, Arsenal had plenty of obstacles to overcome.

Right back Hector Bellerin was forced out of the starting lineup during pregame warmups, and left back Kieran Tierney couldn’t finish the match, having to be substituted midway through the first half.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Arsenal interim coach Freddie Ljungberg also made some big lineup decisions. Alexandre Lacazette and David Luiz were dropped, with Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli starting up top and Calum Chambers moving inside to centerback. It took 60 minutes, but those moves paid dividends in the end.

However, before then, West Ham controlled the first half, even with less of the ball. The Hammers showed more desire and determination than Arsenal, winning many second balls, and it led to the opening goal. A corner kick in the 38th minute pinballed in and out of the box, with Arsenal twice failing to clear it. Eventually, the ball fell to Pablo Fornals, who chipped a ball into the middle of the box. West Ham centerback Angelo Ogbonna, still up in the box after the corner kick, dashed onto it and though it went off his shoulder, deflected off an Arsenal defender and in for a goal. VAR checked it, as it does with every goal, but the decision stood, and it was well deserved.

West Ham even looked more likely to score a second late in the first half and then early in the second half, as Arsenal couldn’t string many passes together in their own third or the final third.

In the 60th minute, it was like a flip was switched. Suddenly, West Ham provided no pressure on Arsenal’s backline when it had the ball, allowing Arsenal to easily break the lines. After two passes getting through a half-dozen defenders, the ball ended up on the left wing with Aubameyang. Aubameyang crosses into the center and with a first-time finish, suddenly Martinelli put Arsenal level at 1-1.

In the 66th minute, again Arsenal broke through West Ham’s midfield quite easily. Dribbling forward, Mesut Ozil passed into the middle to Aubameyang, who fed Pepe wide. Pepe, who was one-on-one with Aaron Cresswell, cut inside and curled home a beauty to make it 2-1, Arsenal.

Three minutes later, Aubameyang and Pepe teamed up again. Pepe cut inside, but instead of shooting, he slyly chipped a ball into the box. Aubameyang waited for it and as he was inside, scissor kicked the ball in to make it 3-1.

With West Ham shellshocked, Arsenal held on late for a huge win, moving the club back into the top half of the Premier League table.

This story will be updated.

Burnley batter sorry West Ham

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Burnley beat West Ham United 3-0 at Turf Moor on Saturday, as the Clarets battered the Hammers to move above them in the table.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood set them on their way in the first half, while an own goal from West Ham goalkeeper Roberto summed up an awful defensive display from the Hammers.

With the win Burnley now have 15 points, while West Ham remain on 13.


3 things we learned

1. Roberto continues to struggle: Lukasz Fabianski was the best goalkeeper in the PL early in the season. His injury have hit the Hammers hard. Roberto, in his debut PL season, is struggling and he was at fault for two of Burnley’s three goals.

2. Burnley show best version of themselves: This display was peak Burnley, as they whipped in dangerous crosses and Barnes and Wood bullied the West Ham defense. Burnley have quietly gone about their business this season and this was another example of them keeping the game simple. They sit in ninth place and when Barnes and Wood.

3. Pellegrini under pressure: West Ham have now lost five of their last seven games in all competitions and they are without a win since they beat Man United 2-0 on Sept. 22. It’s not just the defeats for the Hammers, but the nature of them as they’ve conceded six goals in their last two games. After another summer of big spending, the pressure is on Pellegrini.

Man of the Match: Dwight McNeil – His deliveries caused West Ham problems all game long, and he should have had three assists if Wood didn’t have a goal ruled out via VAR. The England U21 winger has matured superbly and is much more consistent in the final third.


Robert Snodgrass headed just wide as West Ham started well on the road.

But Roberto then punched a harmless effort out, via a deflection from Barnes which should have been a goal kick, but it was given as a corner and that’s how West Ham fell behind.

From the resulting corner Burnley went 1-0 up, Dwight McNeil’s cross found James Tarkowski who nodded it to Barnes who celebrated his new contract with a goal.

Andriy Yarmolenko had to replace the injured Mark Noble as West Ham tried to get back in the game.

Burnley thought they had gone 2-0 up as McNeil’s fine cross found Wood who headed home, but VAR ruled out the goal due the Burnley striker being just offside.

Wood did make it 2-0 just before half time, as Valbuena gave the ball away and McNeil crossed for Wood to smash home. The New Zealand striker then celebrated by putting his finger to his ear and mimicking a VAR check…

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Yarmolenko curled a shot on target at the start of the second half as the Hammers improved, but then they shot themselves in the foot. Again.

A corner from McNeil was punched into his own net by Roberto as Burnley sealed the win.

Aaron Cresswell should have scored but Nick Pope denied him, while at the other end Roberto did save well to keep out Phil Bardsley‘s long-range effort, then to deny Wood and Jeff Hendrick.

Overall, the Hammers put in a poor display and Burnley ran out deserved winners and it got even worse for the away side late on as substitute Manuel Lanzini suffered a serious looking shoulder injury.