Three things we learned: West Ham v. Liverpool

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LONDON — Liverpool dropped two more points in the Premier League title race, as they drew 1-1 at West Ham United.

Pressure does strange things to teams at this part of the season.

Monday’s trip to the London Stadium offered Jurgen Klopp‘s men the chance to open up a five-point gap atop the table, but a spirited Hammers side cancelled out Sadio Mane‘s controversial opener as Michail Antonio grabbed them a well-earned point. And West Ham could’ve easily won the game had they taken their chances.

With Liverpool now drawing to both Leicester and West Ham in their last two games, Manchester City can jump top of the table with a win at Everton on Wednesday and put the pressure back on the Reds.

Here’s a look at what we learned from the London Stadium, as the title race is well and truly on.


LIVERPOOL SHOULD BE HAPPY WITH A DRAW

In the first half West Ham should have been at least 3-0 up. Liverpool were all over the place from defensive set piece situations, holding a high line for no apparent reason. Antonio scored from one situation. Declan Rice somehow nodded wide from another and both Aaron Cresswell and Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez drilled just wide from counters which stretched Liverpool’s defense easily. It was as if Liverpool’s defenders were keen to keep their high-line no matter what, and in the second half they were lucky both Felipe Anderson and Mark Noble lost their cool in the penalty box when big chances arrived. Liverpool had chances themselves, as they always do, but this was far from a game where they played well and had to settle for a draw against a stubborn West Ham side. Klopp’s men got away with one by not losing at West Ham and now they are just three points ahead of Man City atop the Premier League table, and must expect City to beat Everton on Wednesday and slip to second place, albeit with a game in hand. Injuries are impacting Liverpool, but Klopp’s men are showing signs that they are cracking under the pressure. The nervous tension emanating from Liverpool’s fanbase is seeping into the previously carefree players. The 29-year wait for a league title is weighing heavy on everyone connected with Liverpool right now.


WEST HAM COUNTER TO PERFECTION

Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and now Liverpool have all failed to win at the London Stadium and for Pellegrini this was a perfect response after three-straight defeats for the Hammers in embarrassing fashion. Like Leicester City, the Hammers are one of those teams outside of the top six who frighten the life out of the big boys. When they aren’t forced to possess the ball, create chances and take the games to opponents, that is when they are at their best. Sure, Manuel Pellegrini has brought a certain panache and control to their game since arriving in the summer, but the fact that both Marko Arnautovic and Samir Nasri were missing through injury did them a favor. Anderson, Antonio and Chicharito pounced when they could on the counter and the pace of full backs Cresswell and Ryan Fredericks was helpful in supporting attacks and stopping Mane and Salah from running riot. In truth, West Ham’s wasteful finishing let Liverpool off the hook. Yes, West Ham’s fans want them to be more attractive to watch but when they counter this well, it’s hard to see them not deploying these kind of tactics on a regular basis against the big boys. They lost their impetus when Andy Carroll came on late in the game and that proved what direction the Hammers must move in going forward. They have the squad to hurt teams on the counter and must realize, and play to, their strengths.


INJURIES MOUNT UP FOR KLOPP

The news that Joe Gomez now requires surgery on a fractured leg was bad enough for Liverpool fans to wake up to Monday, but when Jordan Henderson, Dejan Lovren and particularly Georginio Wijnaldum missed the game at West Ham due to injury, the alarm bells were ringing. A midfield trio of Naby Keita, Fabinho and Adam Lallana should have had enough quality to wrestle control of this game but Mark Noble, Robert Snodgrass and Declan Rice won that battle rather easily. Joel Matip appears to frighten the life out of his fellow defenders when he plays and even the usually placid Virgil Van Dijk was caught out as Liverpool’s undoubted defensive leader failed to settle things down. James Milner, playing at right back, was targeted throughout and both Snodgrass and Anderson had a field day drifting out to his flank. Liverpool’s squad is not quite large enough to deal with injuries to five key players, as Milner and Henderson at right back in recent games has shown. Letting Nathaniel Clyne leave on loan in the January window and not adding another defender as back up could be the difference for them in this title race.

Liverpool suffer title slip-up in draw at West Ham (video)

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  • Liverpool’s title lead shrinks to 3 points
  • Reds score from blown offside call (22′)
  • West Ham fight back to 1-1 (28′)

When Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds visited West Ham United on Monday, Liverpool had — and missed — their second golden opportunity in a month’s time to build an insurmountable lead in the Premie League title race.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Liverpool’s draw with West Ham ]

1-1 was the final score at the London Stadium, and the current PL leaders, who saw their lead shrink from five points to three this weekend, were quite fortunate to come away with their point.

The game’s first scoring chance came with barely two minutes on the clock. West Ham quickly and fluidly worked the ball through Liverpool’s midfield and backline, but Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez curled his shot inches wide of the far post. The tone had been set, though: Liverpool were in for a tough fight.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The ensuing 15 minutes featured plenty more of the home side taking the game to the title leaders, as the Hammers caught the Reds out of shape on the counter. Ultimately, though, Aaron Cresswell smashed his 20-yard effort through a sea of bodies, only to see it goes inches — fewer the Hernandez’s effort eight minutes earlier — wide of Alisson‘s left-hand post.

West Ham’s control and threatening period came and went without the payoff they so desperately need, and they were unjustly punished for it. Sadio Mane opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, but the passage of play should have been halted well before the Senegalese dynamo put the ball in the back of the net.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Adam Lallana played a backheel into space for James Milner, whose cross into the box found Mane for the goal, but Milner stood a full two yards offside when the pass came from Lallana (WATCH HERE). West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna seemed to switch off in anticipation of the offside flag going up, but it never did.

Justice was served in short order, however, as Michail Antonio pulled West Ham back to level terms six minutes later. Felipe Anderson started the training-ground masterpiece with a deftly played ball from his free kick, sending Antonio to a tight angle wide of the six-yard box, but the finish was impeccable.

Once back on level footing, West Ham returned to the front foot and should have gone a goal ahead once again in the 41st minute. Declan Rice beat Liverpool’s high line and had five yards of space between himself and the nearest defender, but the ____-year-old lifted his header of Anderson‘s free kick just inches — yet again — over the crossbar and let Alisson off no man’s island.

There was little hope for the second half to live up to the lofty standards of its predecessor, but Liverpool were determined in their desperation to match Manchester City’s result against Arsenal on Sunday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Mohamed Salah was effectively neutralized for much of Monday’s matchup, but the Egyptian nearly broke the deadlock with a brilliant slalom through the Hammers’ penalty area and curled shot in the 61st minute, but Lukasz Fabianski was all over it to make the diving save. Beyond that move just after the hour mark, Liverpool were threatened very little and West Ham were able to usher the game toward full-time with an unexpected measure of comfort.

Despite frustrating the league leaders, West Ham remain 12th in the league table.

West Ham upset Arsenal (video)

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  • Rice scores first West Ham goal
  • Arsenal’s 2nd defeat in last 3 PL games
  • 16 of the last 18 PL goals scored in this fixture have come in the second half 

West Ham United beat Arsenal 1-0 at the London Stadium on Saturday as teenager Declan Rice was the hero for the Hammers.

Fresh from signing a new long-term contract and just a few days before his 20th birthday, the West Ham academy graduate smashed home the winner early in the second half to secure a huge win for Manuel Pellegrini‘s Hammers.

The win was just their second in their last 22 PL games against Arsenal, as Unai Emery‘s side struggled to get going and have now lost two of their last three league clashes.

West Ham move up to eighth on 31 points, while Arsenal sit in fifth on 41 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

West Ham started well and Felipe Anderson danced his way towards goal but the Brazilian curled his effort off target.

At the other end Arsenal ripped West Ham apart as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette combined as the latter first had a shot blocked and then fired the rebound over.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Before half time the Hammers fought their way back into the game as Samir Nasri dragged an effort wide of the near post. A long ball over the top nearly led to the opening goal of the game as Marko Arnautovic controlled and played the ball to Nasri who teed up the onrushing Anderson who drilled inches wide of the post.

Matteo Guendouzi then fired an effort just off target and Declan Rice then headed wide as the game continued to open up.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

West Ham had the perfect start to the second half as Arsenal failed to clear a corner and the ball fell to Nasri who found Rice in the box and the teenager slammed home to make it 1-0.

At the other end Arsenal were almost level right away, but Lukasz Fabianski saved well as the ball ricocheted off a West Ham defender and towards their own goal. Guendouzi then fired wide as Arsenal pushed hard for an equalizer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Emery sent on Lucas Torreira and Aaron Ramsey in the hope of rescuing a point, and it had an impact. Aubameyang fired over under pressure from Aaron Cresswell as the Gunners threw men forward but they failed to open up the solid West Ham defense.

Late on Arnautovic seemed to wave goodbye to the West Ham fans as he was subbed off, as an unnamed Chinese Super League club continues to try and sign him.

But at the final whistle there was nothing but jubilation from everyone connected with West Ham as they secured their first home Premier League win against Arsenal since 2006.

Anderson leads West Ham to comeback win at Saints

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  • Southampton led through Redmond
  • Anderson scored twice to win it for Hammers
  • 10 first team players out injured for West Ham
  • Felipe Anderson has scored 7 goals in his last 9 PL games

SOUTHAMPTON — West Ham United fought back to beat Southampton 2-1 at St Mary’s on Thursday, as all three goals arrived in nine wild second half minutes.

Saints took the lead through Nathan Redmond, but Felipe Anderson scored twice in six minutes to turn the game on its head as Manuel Pellegrini‘s men had to deal with 10 first team players out through injury.

With the victory — their fifth in their last six PL games — West Ham move up to ninth place on 27 points, while Saints remain in 16th on 15 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Saints came flying out of the traps with Redmond getting a shot on goal from distance and Ings then wriggling free before firing a shot into the side-netting.

At the other end Felipe Anderson was the main threat as he dribbled past several Saints defenders but then slipped just as he was about to get a shot on goal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

As the first half wore on West Ham were dominant and they should have been ahead through Lucas Perez. Aaron Cresswell crossed from the left and picked out the Spaniard who was totally unmarked but scuffed his shot into the ground and harmlessly wide. A huge letoff for Southampton.

The Hammers went close again just before the break as Robert Snodgrass whipped a shot just wide, but West Ham couldn’t get the goal their first half dominance deserved.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

In the second half the game sprung into life in dramatic fashion.

First Southampton took the lead after an almighty goalmouth scramble saw both Oriol Romeu and Redmond denied, then Redmond seemed to bundle the ball over the line with his hand but the goal stood as Saints led 1-0.

West Ham then came flying back, with an equalizer just 168 seconds after they went behind. Anderson cut in from the left and smashed home a low shot which beat Alex McCarthy at his near post. 1-1.

Lukasz Fabianski then made a superb stop to deny Stuart Armstrong as Saints pushed to retake the lead, but moments later the Hammers were ahead.

A Southampton corner was blocked by the Hammers and they raced into a counter led by Michail Antonio. He fed Anderson who clipped the ball over McCarthy for his and West Ham’s second goal in six minutes.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Saints continued to have chances to equalize as the game turned into an end-to-end encounter with substitute Shane Long almost getting on the end of a cross at the back post. Anderson was causing Saints all kinds of problems as he ran down the left and crossed for Perez but Jannik Vestergaard blocked his shot.

Late on Southampton threw everything at West Ham in search of an equalizer, however it was the Hammers who came closest as Anderson almost wrapped up his hat trick but McCarthy saved twice at his near post.

Lloris the star as Tottenham beat rivals West Ham

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  • Tottenham grab fourth-straight win
  • Erik Lamela‘s header seals the win
  • Two-straight defeats for West Ham

Tottenham Hotspur beat West Ham United 1-0 at the London Stadium on Saturday, as Mauricio Pochettino‘s men battled hard to victory against their bitter rivals.

Erik Lamela’s first half header grabbed the three points for Spurs, as West Ham fought hard but found Hugo Lloris in superb form as he kept Marko Arnautovic out on more than one occasion.

With the win Spurs move on to 21 points for the season, while West Ham remain on seven points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

In the early stages it was a tale of two tight defenses, as Toby Alderweireld blocked an effort from Robert Snodgrass.

Andriy Yarmolenko then suffered a nasty looking injury as the Ukrainian forward was forced off clutching his Achilles.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Just before half time Spurs broke the deadlock as Mousa Sissoko crossed for Lamela who glanced a header home. 1-0.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

In the second half West Ham came flying out of the traps as Aaron Cresswell‘s cross found  Arnautovic but his effort was brilliantly pushed award by Hugo Lloris.

Lloris pushed Arnautovic’s shot wide from the edge of the box and then Fabian Balbuena’s header from the resulting corner went wide.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Spurs shut up shop late on and held on for the win as Lloris rushed off his line to deny Arnautovic once again.