Michail Antonio

Getty Images

Antonio forced to don Spurs jersey after losing to Sessegnon at FIFA

Leave a comment

The Premier League derby between Tottenham and West Ham was meant to be on Friday. With the coronavirus postponing all Premier League activity through at least April 30, the real game has yet to take place.

Still, West Ham winger Michail Antonio and Spurs wide man Ryan Sessegnon decided to hold the game anyways despite their isolation during the shutdown. Virtually.

The two agreed to a match of FIFA between the two clubs, and spent two days promoting the event before grabbing the Playstation controllers and streaming the game live on Twitch.

Even their clubs got involved to promote the event, with the two sides streaming the event as well as putting it up on Twitch.

Ryan Sessegnon came out victorious via a 2-0 scoreline, with both Giovani Lo Celso and Lucas Moura on the virtual scoresheet. The second goal was a lovely bit of play between Moura and Dele Alli in the box, which had Antonio reminding himself the stream had to be kept PG despite his frustration.

Antonio was frustrated with his performance, calling it “embarrassing” at halftime and posting that “The passing was off, shooting was bad and couldn’t tackle,” on social media, although he jokingly caveated that by saying “my controller must have been broken.” After the loss, per the rules of the bet, Antonio was forced to don a Tottenham kit, which he did so extremely begrudgingly.

Which Premier League players would you like to see play each other in FIFA to decide the outcome of an otherwise postponed match?

Desperate West Ham punishes Southampton

Leave a comment

Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals shined for West Ham United in a 3-1 defeat of Southampton at the London Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Fornals set up two goals, and Antonio registered a goal and an assist. Jarrod Bowen and Sebastien Haller also scored for West Ham.

The Irons move out of the drop zone with 27 points, while Saints’ 34 points are nine clear of the bottom three.

Michael Obafemi scored Southampton’s goal.


Three things we learned

1. Fornals keeps rising: The ex-Villarreal man went his first 12 Premier League outings without a goal or assist, but now has two goals and five assists after Saturday’s pair of helpers.

2. Inspired Haller returns: The French center forward was absolutely monstrous on Saturday, and it’s not about his goal. Haller won 21 of 33 duels and 14 of those wins came in the air as David Moyes asked a lot of his big man. Haller had two key passes, two shots on target, and completed four of five dribbles. Key man.

3. Saints waste chance to improve UEL stock: Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s men rarely looked ready to prevail in London, with key mistakes from center back Jack Stephens and Alex McCarthy thwarting a chance to go 10th.

Man of the Match: Fornals.


Bowen gave West Ham the lead off a Saints giveaway, as a lively Pablo Fornals sent the ex-Hull man through for a clever chipped finish.

Michail Antonio was a threatening presence and nearly had the Irons up two.

Saints made it 1-1 when Obafemi worked Ward-Prowse’s cutback beyond the reach of Fabianski.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

West Ham reclaimed the advantage before halftime.

Haller got his seventh goal of the season and first since New Year’s Day when he beat Alex McCarthy to Antonio’s cross and deposited the resulting loose ball.

Antonio was rewarded with a goal of his own in the 54th minute, Fornals again assisting a vital marker.

Ayew wondergoal completes Palace comeback v. West Ham

Leave a comment

Jordan Ayew‘s solo wondergoal won all three points for Crystal Palace in a 2-1 defeat of West Ham United at Selhurst Park on Thursday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Robert Snodgrass had put the Irons in front, but former West Ham man Cheikhou Kouyate equalized as all the goals came after halftime.

Palace moves 11th with 24 points, while West Ham slips 17th with 19 points.


Three things we learned

1. Ayew delivers a beautiful winner: The Palace forward joined Wilfried Zaha in being a proper threat, but his winner was all about him. The 28-year-old Ghanian cut toward the 18 and moved free with a spinning turn before using a delightful chip to leave Roberto pawing at air.

https://twitter.com/NBCSportsSoccer/status/1210241099492671491

2. Pellegrini’s inconsistent Irons put him at risk: Michail Antonio was strong and Sebastien Haller had moments atop the attack, but the Irons attack only managed a pair of shots on target. Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini came off the bench to decent effect, but certainly are nowhere near their top form. Irons boss Manuel Pellegrini must be at wits’ end.

3. Quality, not industry, denies West Ham: The Irons won more challenges — 28-14 in the air — and had more tackles, interceptions, and clearances. Some of those are down to Palace’s time with the ball, but it’s worth noting that for as poor as the Irons have been, they have not quit on Pellegrini.

Man of the Match: Ayew was phenomenal. He was everywhere, involved in 22 duels while completing 8 of 9 dribbles and making three key passes. The goal was the moment, of course, but it was the richly-deserved reward for a day worth of work.


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Wilfried Zaha’s marvelous dribble down the left was deserving of an opening assist, but Palace’s right side didn’t run through the six to meet his pass.

Max Meyer found the loose ball and slid an invitation back through the box, but Jordan Ayew’s sliding effort went wide of the goal.

Ayew bossed Cresswell into a turnover but couldn’t rip a shot past Roberto.

The Irons went in front when Antonio created space and slipped through Snodgrass, who had the better of Patrick Van Aanholt and swerved home.

Van Aanholt nearly made amends but dragged his effort wide of the far post.

Kouyate equalized against his former club and declined celebration as the Selhurst Park faithful did plenty in his stead. Ayew popped a James McArthur cross onto the path of Kouyate for an unmarked finish.

Roberto denied Connor Wickham on a long solo run toward goal, a heavy touch defying the sub a wonderful moment.

Jaro Riedewald slid to deny Snodgrass’ 87th minute bid for a winner.

Ayew won it late with a classy maneuver into the 18 to dink over a fooled Roberto.

West Ham outlasts wasteful Southampton

Haller West Ham
Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images
Leave a comment

West Ham United allayed some of the pressure on manager Manuel Pellegrini by holding on for a 1-0 defeat of Southampton at St. Mary’s on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Sebastien Haller scored the lone goal and Michail Antonio had one pulled back by VAR, but Saints missed myriad promising chances to draw level.

West Ham moves 15th with 19 points, while Saints remain behind 17th place Aston Villa on goal difference.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]


Three things we learned

1. Haller ends drought: Sebastien Haller’s early season honeymoon at West Ham was the thing of dreams. The big money Eintracht Frankfurt signing scored five times in seven matches. His chemistry with Felipe Anderson and company was wonderful. Then came eight matches without a goal and just one start in three matches. Manuel Pellegrini played him in attack with and not instead of Michail Antonio, and the pair delivered a goal.

2. Saints fail reward their own production: Southampton, quite frankly, should’ve claimed at least one point. Yes, West Ham also misused chances to score when it was 1-0 in its favor, but Saints had extreme problems in finishing what should’ve been great team goals. Ings hit the bar, which, yeah it happens, but Stephens and Hojbjerg’s second half chances have this 2-1 on another day.

There were similarities to their last outing, a 2-1 loss at Newcastle.

3. Antonio and Haller an answer for Pellegrini? Manuel Pellegrini likely bought himself more time with the win, but it wasn’t as convincing as it could’ve been had Antonio not been denied by VAR or Haller’s header not been saved by McCarthy. The big men were a problematic duo for the Southampton defense, and Pellegrini may opt to combine them again in future days.

Man of the Match: Antonio was a handful as usual, winning a half-dozen aerials and completed just as many dribbles.


Declan Rice had a first minute goal ruled offside (and properly so).

Sebastien Haller hit a glorious bass to Michail Antonio in the 17th minute, but the striker’s poor touch caused a handball.

Two West Ham players appeared to be fouled in the box on the same play, but Martin Atkinson saw nothing and VAR stayed with him.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The Irons took the lead on a well-worked team goal, Antonio crossing to the back post for Pablo Fornals. He headed back for Haller, who kissed the ball off the far post.

Fornals looked to have his first Premier League goal in the bag one minute after the break, but was defied by Alex McCarthy.

Antonio had it 2-0 for a moment, but VAR spotted his handling of the ball early in the dribble that led to his would-be marker.

Danny Ings struck a ball off the cross bar and Long butchered the rebound as Saints bid for an equalizer.

McCarthy made an outstanding save on an off-balance Haller header in the 78th, while substitute Andriy Yarmolenko couldn’t keep his 79th minute effort under the bar.

Jack Stephens made the least of a terrific set-up in the 81st minute, though he would’ve had to do well to level the score.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was the next to miss a back post effort, wide of the frame.

Premier League Preview: West Ham United v. Arsenal

Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Two struggling London sides meet Monday when West Ham United hosts Arsenal (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The sides might’ve expected they’d be within close proximity at this point on the fixture list, but two wildly disappointing seasons means the three points between the Gunners and Irons comes with the former in 11th and the latter 16th.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

It’s been nine matches since Arsenal beat someone, 11 since it happened in the Premier League. West Ham hasn’t been much better, winning once in its last 10.

Freddie Ljungberg has yet to win as Arsenal interim boss, while West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini could see his current stint in London end without more results like the Nov. 30 win at Chelsea.

Monday versus Arsenal would qualify.


Injuries/suspensions

West Ham United: OUT —  Jack Wilshere, Lukasz Fabianski, Manuel Lanzini, Winston Reid. QUESTIONABLE — Michail Antonio.

Arsenal: OUT — Dani Ceballos. QUESTIONABLE — Rob Holding.


Probable lineups

West Ham United: Martin; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Fredericks; Rice, Noble, Yarmolenko, Anderson, Snodgrass, Haller.

Arsenal: Leno; Kolasinac, Sokratis, Luiz, Bellerin, Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil, Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette.


What they’re saying

West Ham’s Antonio sees an opportunity: “The only three teams that are really performing are Liverpool, Leicester and Man City. Everyone else is getting beaten, and it means we’ve had a missed opportunity so far this season. We started the season off brightly, the best start we’ve had for four years, but then we’ve had a slump. Everyone’s having a slump and this is our slump. Now it’s time for us to start turning up. We’ve been in this situation before and we know how to dig in and pull ourselves up again.”

Arsenal’s Ljungberg on setting targets: “I don’t think we should stop talking about the top four, but for us it’s about concentrating on what we’re doing here now and not look up, down, sideways. We just need to work on our own game and our own confidence.”


Prediction

Really, you wouldn’t want to predict anything from these sides right now besides goals. We’ll give an edge in desperation to the hosts and a 2-2 draw.