Pablo Fornals

Desperate West Ham punishes Southampton

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

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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.

Liverpool find another way to win in West Ham comeback

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Sadio Mane punched in a back-post winner as poor Liverpool found a way to keep its unbeaten Premier League season alive with a 3-2 defeat of West Ham United at Anfield.

The Reds improve their record to 26-1, leading second-place Manchester City by 22 points.

[ MORE: Klopp reacts to comeback ]

West Ham threw away a 2-1 lead when star goalkeeper Lukasz Fabinaksi fumbled an easy save, and Mane made the most of the disorganized Irons defense late in the match.

The Irons remain a point off safety with 24 points.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]


Three things we learned

1. Team of destiny Liverpool again wins while miles off its best: Liverpool center back Joe Gomez and to a lesser extent his partner Virgil Van Dijk had poor days, and Jurgen Klopp‘s attackers’ finishing touches were largely absent. Still, the defiant league leaders found their way to three points are now 11 matches from history.

When you can play way off your standard and still out-attempt a Premier League side 25-7, well, you’re pretty good.

2. Fabianski gifts Reds equalizer: Lukasz Fabianski has saved West Ham so, so many times, and he made some nice saves on the day including a wonderful stop on Trent Alexander-Arnold. But his howler of the highest variety on Salah’s tepid low shot is about as bad as it gets for a keeper short of turning and firing into your own goal.

3. Amazing Alexander-Arnold: The right back was again phenomenal an easy Man of the Match in assisting two goals. He would’ve had three if Mane stayed onside in a late lapse of judgment.


If a game had the makings of a 4-4, it was this one; Liverpool has quality players, obviously, but has been prone to lapses. There are fewer of the former and more of the latter for West Ham, but the attackers have high potential.

Liverpool took the leader when Wijnaldum turned a header inside the near post, but Issa Diop answered with a header of his own off a corner kick. The West Ham center back started in the six and darted back in front of Joe Gomez to nod home.

Chances for Sadio Mane after fooling Robert Snodgrass with a dribble and Trent Alexander-Arnold from the right led to near misses.

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Roberto Firmino was sent through by Trent Alexander-Arnold and missed a chance badly to start the second half, and Mohamed Salah soon saw a shot blocked by West Ham.

West Ham was stout at the back and looked prepared on the counter, but Liverpool can only blame itself for the second goal. Fornals hung out between Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk, with Fabinho also in the vicinity of Declan Rice‘s cross.

Lukasz Fabianski made a wonderful flying save on an Alexander-Arnold knuckler outside the box, and Liverpool move into the final half-hour up one.

The keeper made a huge error to allow to Liverpool 2-2, a Salah shot squirting through the player’s hands and legs.

Michail Antonio flubbed a 72nd-minute point blank chance.

Liverpool blew chances to make it 3-2 through Van Dijk and Salah as the match reached the final quarter-hour.

Alisson collected a low drive from Sebastian Haller.

Alexander-Arnold set Mane up for a back post finish to put Liverpool ahead, and the same pair saw a fourth goal chalked offside as the Senegalese lazily lost his focus.

Substitute attacker Jarrod Bowen was saved by Alisson when Antonio played him through in the 88th minute.

West Ham had a few more big chances, Noble seeing a rip deflect wide for a final corner. It was cleared by Andy Robertson.

Much-changed Leicester City wins at West Ham

Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images
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Ayoze Perez set up a pair of goals as Leicester City rebounded for a 2-1 defeat of West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Demarai Gray supplied the goals for the Foxes, who move four points clear of third place Man City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pablo Fornals scored for West Ham and under fire manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose side sits just one point ahead of 18th place Aston Villa.


Three things we learned

1. Rodgers rewarded for risky rotation: Brendan Rodgers changed nine men from the group embarrassed by Liverpool on Boxing Day, and the makeshift XI very much deserved the three points. Demarai Gray missed a penalty kick and a few other chances were left for dead, but overall the Foxes had every claim to the win.

2. Hammers a real relegation threat: Manuel Pellegrini’s defense has been woeful, and his star attackers couldn’t bail them out Felipe Anderson did assist on Fornals’ goal, and was lively on the left wing, but Sebastien Haller has not been able to sharpen his attacking acumen since an early season hot streak and neither Manuel Lanzini nor a trio of substitutes combined to deliver much threat.

3. Ayoze the assister takes the reins: Longtime Newcastle star Ayoze Perez is a mere component of the King Power Stadium attack. He drove the attacking bus on Saturday in the absence of Jamie Vardy and James Maddison, the latter replacing him in the 64th minute after assists on both goals. He was two for two on dribbles and drew three fouls in a very strong performance.

Man of the Match: Perez.


Lukasz Fabianski gave away a terrible penalty to Kelechi Iheanacho, but then made a save on Demarai Gray’s poor penalty to keep it 0-0.

Iheanacho put Leicester in front when Ayoze Perez made an athletic play to keep a ball in bounds for a near-post headed goal.

Gray then tore into a shot from 12 yards that was nowhere near the mark.

West Ham had a nice chance bound wide when Sebastien Haller’s header was off frame, and the equalizer came moments later through Fornals.

The Spaniard arrived on the scene for a Felipe Anderson cutback to cue the bubbles.

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Gray made it 2-1 in the 56th minute, running onto a Perez through ball and curling around Fabianski.

Wes Morgan came close to making it 3-1 with a quick turn off a post-corner kick scrum, and Hamza Choudhury missed an 86th minute bid.

West Ham sign Spanish midfielder on reported $30M fee

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West Ham United have given Manuel Pellegrini another weapon in attack, snaring Pablo Fornals from Villarreal for a reported $30 million.

That fee is only trumped in West Ham history by last season’s purchase of Felipe Anderson from Lazio. That moved turned out pretty well, to the tune of 10 goals and five assists.

[ MORE: U.S. falls in FIFA rankings ]

Fornals is twice-capped by Spain and 23 years old. He posted five goals and six assists from attacking midfield last season, two years after he moved from Malaga. His first season saw him tie for La Liga’s lead in assists with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi with 12.

West Ham had serious problems in the midfield last year, though most were injury-related with Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshere among the men missing plenty of minutes.

And Sky Sports has quotes from director of football Mario Husillos, who knows Fornals well:

“I personally have followed his career since he was a youth player with me at Malaga, and I know we have signed an incredible professional and an incredible character.

“To represent Spain as a full international at the age of 20, and then to have made over 150 appearances in La Liga by the age of 23, is a sign of great quality and character. He joins us a young player still with many years ahead of him, yet with strong experience and already proven at the very highest level.”

If he recaptures his magic from a season ago, the move could well take the Irons attack into the next level.