Eden Hazard stroke of genius has Chelsea in front of West Ham

Leave a comment

Television commentator Martin Tyler called it “astonishing,” “absolutely amazing,” and “a stroke of magic from a genius.”

By halftime, he had seen it enough times to label the goal “one of the great Premier League goals of all-time.”

[ RECAP: Hazard brace tops West Ham ]

“And I’m not exaggerating.” No, no he is not.

Eden Hazard dodged, weaved, slithered, and glided through no fewer than four West Ham defenders and ended between the final two, finishing cooly under pressure from a desperately sliding Ryan Fredericks. As he soared away in celebration, Chelsea found itself with the opening goal, a spot – for the moment – in third place in the Premier League table, and a sparkling memory to savor for a long time.

The Belgian, who is rumored to be off to Real Madrid this offseason, blew by the likes of Fabian Balbuena, Declan Rice, Mark Noble, and Angelo Ogbonna before firing into the back of the net with Fredericks arriving just too late and Aaron Cresswell helpless to watch the brilliance.

Is it one of the best goals in Premier League history?

Chicharito leads West Ham’s incredible comeback (video)

Leave a comment
  • Javier Hernandez scores twice late on
  • Huddersfield led West Ham 3-1 after 75 minutes
  • Hammers two points off seventh place

West Ham United fought back from 3-1 down to beat Huddersfield Towmn 4-3 at the London Stadium on Saturday.

Substitute Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez was the hero as he scored twice late on to grab a huge win for the Hammers. Huddersfield’s Karlan Grant scored a double and Juninho Bacuna also scored after Mark Noble had given West Ham the lead.

Angelo Ogbonna started West Ham’s comeback, and Hernandez then delivered the Hammer blows as Huddersfield missed some big chances of their own late on. With the win West Ham are in ninth on 41 points, while Huddersfield remain bottom of the table.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Huddersfield started brightly but the first big chance of the game went West Ham’s way. A corner from the right was kept alive by Delan Rice and his deflected cross found Michail Antonio who hit the crossbar with a header.

The Hammers took the lead after teenager Aaron Rowe, making his full Huddersfield debut, clumsily took down Manuel Lanzini in the box to give away a penalty kick.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Noble dinked the spot kick down the middle to put West Ham 1-0 up. But soon after Huddersfield were level, as Bacuna sent home a wonderful header from a corner to net his first goal for the Terriers. Game on.

Huddersfield deservedly took the lead before the break as Alex Prtichard started a clever routine from a free kick which set up Chris Lowe to cross and ended in Grant slotting home his second goal for Huddersfield since his January move from Charlton.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

At the start of the second half Lukasz Fabianski made a wonderful stop as Bacuna smashed a shot from distance towards the top corner, as West Ham had brought on Hernandez to try and turn the game in their favor.

West Ham dominated play in the final stages as Huddersfield sat back deeper and deeper. After good work from Anderson, Arnautovic scuffed a shot on goal which Jonas Lossl saved.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Grant then scored a magnificent individual goal, as the Huddersfield striker turned, weaved past two challenges and curled a beauty into the top corner to make it 3-1.

West Ham kept battling away, and Ogbonna nodded home from a corner to set up a grandstand finish with 15 minutes to go.

Hernandez then made it 3-3 as he nodded home at the back post, with the Mexican striker left unmarked to finish Nasri’s cross after a corner was only half-cleared. Huddersfield almost won it late on, as Jason Puncheon and Terrence Kongolo went close with Philip Billing also involved but then came the moment they were dreading.

Hernandez was the hero in stoppage time as he flicked home another header, this time from Anderson’s cross, to make it 4-3 and spark wild celebrations at the London Stadium.

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

Leave a comment
  • 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 fight back to deny Brighton

Leave a comment
  • Brighton went 2-0 up
  • Arnautovic scored twice in two minutes
  • Seagulls unbeaten in three games

West Ham United fought back to draw 2-2 against Brighton and Hove Albion after a wild second half at the London Stadium.

Brighton scored twice in two minutes through Dale Stephens and Shane Duffy, but 10 minutes later Marko Arnautovic scored twice in two minutes to make it 2-2 as both teams had chances to secure all three points.

With the point West Ham move up to 10th on 28 points, while Brighton stay in 13th on 26 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

An even first half saw the Hammers gradually turn the screw as Robert Snodgrass‘ cross was flicked on by Marko Arnautovic but Anderson‘s shot was easily saved by David Button.

Arnautovic then curled one on target from distance but Button saved again as the home side were huffing and puffing.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Before half time Arnautovic went down in the box claiming a penalty kick as Lewis Dunk closed him down, but it would have been a really cheap penalty for Brighton to concede.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

At the start of the second half Anderson almost put West Ham ahead as he dribbled at Brighton’s defense and then drilled a low left-footed effort just wide of the post.

Against the run of play Brighton took the lead as a corner was half cleared and Stephens drilled home a wonderfully controlled volley.

Moments later it was 2-0 to the Seagulls as Duffy finished brilliantly at the back post from another corner, as the Hammers were caught cold. Bernardo then had a chance to put the game to bed but Lukasz Fabianski made it

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

But West Ham battled back well as substitute Mark Noble clipped a ball over the top and Arnautovic used his strength and slotted home to make it 2-1.

Just two minutes later it was 2-2 as Arnautovic prodded home off the bar and in to score his and West Ham’s second in as many minutes. Michail Antonio looked like he ran the ball out out of play but found the Austrian striker to level things up.

Late on Dunk had a good shout for a penalty kick as he was being held in the box by Angelo Ogbonna as a corner came in, but no spot kick was awarded.

PL Preview: West Ham vs. Manchester United

Leave a comment
  • West Ham striker Marko Arnautovic is fit for Saturday’s early kick-off after recovering from a knee injury. Grady Diangana could be part of the squad after his two goals against Macclesfield in midweek.
  • West Ham has beaten Manchester United in only one of their last 19 Premier League matches, winning 3-2 in their final match at the Boleyn Ground in May 2016.
  • Romelu Lukaku can become only the fourth player to score in their side’s first four away matches in a Premier League campaign, after Thierry Henry, Daniel Sturridge, and Sergio Aguero.
  • Man Utd have to concede at the London Stadium in the Premier League, keeping a clean sheet in both their visits.

Jose Mourinho and Manchester United visit struggling West Ham (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with both manager’s seats growing hotter by the day.

West Ham currently sit just one point above the relegation zone, with four points from six games and no home Premier League wins so far, and while Man United’s place in the table is better, it’s far below expectations. Marko Arnautovic is fit and expected to return to the lineup, a huge boost for West Ham, but Mourinho will have to delicately handle the fiasco surrounding he and star midfielder Paul Pogba, who could have his head turned by other mega clubs in the days ahead.

Either way, should there be a winner on Saturday, the loser will have a lot of questions to answer, and a burning hot seat to sit down on.


What they’re saying

Luke Shaw on the team’s disappointing recent run of results: “I feel like the team has been playing some good football. I think it was disappointing against Wolves. I don’t think we were ourselves. We should be winning games like that, especially at home in front of our home fans. We were all really disappointed and we just need to pick ourselves back up again and keep going.”

Manuel Pellegrini on West Ham’s defense starting to show improvement: “I’m very happy, not only for Fabian and Diop, but also Angelo Ogbonna‘s performance on Wednesday. “I think we are defensively improving. I knew Diop well. He was the captain of Toulouse. I told him he needed to know a bit more about the Premier League, but I was absolutely sure he would be a success here. It’s the same with Balbuena.”

Prediction

Even with Arnautovic available, it will still be a tough test for West Ham at home against a strong (on paper) Man United side. However, perhaps this is the weekend they can pull off the stunner. West Ham 2-1 Manchester United