Sebastien Haller

Crystal Palace comes back to stun West Ham United

Leave a comment

A VAR goal with minutes to spare gave visiting Crystal Palace a 2-1 win over West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Jordan Ayew pushed a Gary Cahill knockdown over the line after Patrick Van Aanholt equalized from the spot, as Palace moved fourth with 14 points.

Sebastien Haller gave West Ham a lead, but the loss keeps Manuel Pellegrini‘s side from entering the Top Four. The Irons have 12 points and sit 7th.


Three things we learned

1. Guaita keeps it even early: That blonde-shock of hair in the golden shirt made two incredible saves on Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson in the first half-hour, and the Spaniard has performed as a top half goalkeeper according to most metrics. Saturday was no different.

2. Team goal gives West Ham its lead: West Ham’s opener had the fingerprints of Manuel Pellegrini all over it. Anderson blazed down the left side, and both Yarmolenko and Manuel Lanzini passed up chances to force a shot or cross until the ball got wide for square pass for a lunging Haller to poke home. Beautiful stuff.

3. VAR gives Ayew the winner: A lengthier than usual review added drama to Ayew’s winner, which was initially reviewed offside. Man was it close again, but Ayew was in the right spot when Gary Cahill nodded a free kick to the edge of the six.

Man of the Match: Fredericks — Sent the ball to Haller for the goal in addition to a point-blank goal line clearance.


[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Chances came for the hosts early, with Andriy Yarmolenko cueing up Sebastien Haller for a point-blank chance saved by Guaita and Anderson nodding to the keeper from in-tight.

At the other end, Ryan Fredericks made a goal line clearance when Zaha drove the line to set-up Jeff Schlupp.

Angelo Ogbonna chopped a shot over the goal in the 52nd, a prelude to Haller’s low finish two minutes later.

Palace was awarded a penalty when Declan Rice blocked a shot with his raised arm, and Van Aanholt finished his chance in the space normally occupied by Luka Milivojevic.

Van Aanholt also had a crucial intervention at the other end.

Premier League Preview: Aston Villa v. West Ham

Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • West Ham 9th in PL heading into Matchweek 5
  • Aston Villa, 18th in the standings, look to climb out of relegation zone

There was an international break in between to blow off some steam, but Aston Villa, sitting in the relegation zone, remain set on better days following a controversial ending to their last league game against Crystal Palace. For a team whose only win of the season has come at home, it couldn’t get much better than hosting West Ham at Villa Park on a Monday night (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Dean Smith and Co. aren’t necessarily playing bad, if anything their attack-oriented brand of play is as captivating as they get. The lack of finishing, in-game concentration and poor officiating (like against Palace), however, have not done Villa well. That said, their 2-0 victory against Everton weeks back is a testament to what they can really do on a positive night. With revenge on their mind, that can be the case against the Irons.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ] 

On the other side, after a detrimental 5-0 loss to Manchester City to start the season, West Ham have found their groove under a revamped attack. Bundesliga import, Sebastien Haller, has scored three goals in the last two games, which resulted in victories for West Ham. Currently ninth in the table with seven points, with a win at Villa Park, Manuel Pellegrini‘s side can creep right behind the defending champions. It’s a complete 180-degree turn for West Ham, and they know they need to take advantage of the situation.

Injuries/suspensions

Man United: OUT – Winston Reid (knee), Michail Antonio (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE – None

Leicester: OUT – Jonathan Kodjia (head); QUESTIONABLE – James Chester (thigh), Matt Targett (thigh); SUSPENDED – Trézéguet (one match)


Projected lineups

Aston Villa: Heaton – Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Taylor – McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Grealish – Jota, Wesley, El-Ghazi

West Ham: Fabianski – Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku – Rice, Noble, Felipe Anderson, Lanzini, Yarmolenko – Haller


What they’re saying

Manuel Pelegrini, on playing Aston Villa: “We need to beat teams like Aston Villa, because last season there were a lot of teams around us that we lost to. Now we will see what happens this season. Villa is a difficult team. Their stadium is very important for them, but we go there as we do in all the other games – to try to win. Villa have had some different results, bought a lot of good players and play an attacking style. I think that they are doing well, they must adapt to the Premier League still, but they have a very good team and a manager in Dean Smith who wants to play in an attacking way.”

Dean Smith, on his player’s urgency to play and perform well: “They’re itching for that next game. There’s a burning desire from them to right the wrongs. I can sense that.The international break has given us an opportunity. For instance, we’ve been able to work a lot on our breakthrough opportunities as all of our forward players have been here.”


Prediction

Both teams don’t need extra motivation heading into Monday. It’s simply a matter of who wants the three points more. Obviously, given their position on the table, Villa could benefit more from a win than West Ham. Couple that with Villa playing in front of their vociferous and passionate crowd, and that might be the secret ingredient for the home side to squeeze out a win against what will be a challenging bout against Pellegrini’s side. Aston Villa, 2-1.

Farke says VAR failed Norwich City, Zimmermann

BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke‘s team already had a defender fitness problem when Christoph Zimmermann was forced out of an eventual 2-0 to West Ham United on Saturday.

And the boss is wondering what exactly VAR was doing when Zimmermann was hurt by a sliding Sebastien Haller challenge and, in Farke’s mind, hampered in trying to stop Haller’s goal minutes later.

[ RECAP: West Ham 2-0 Norwich ]

“I’m a friend of VAR, but on this day it didn’t work”

While his below comments are entirely accurate — Haller was the scorer of the goal in question, not celebrating atop the scorer — it’s easy to see why Farke is angry as another center back goes for scans.

“This is a game where VAR didn’t work,” Farke said. “There was a nasty tackle against my center back and it wasn’t even given as a free kick. Then a few mins later my center back wasn’t able to spring back and block the cross (on Haller’s goal). My center back is now in hospital. My feeling was this made the difference.

“The only thing I say is that my center back is in hospital and the other player is on the shoulders of the West Ham goalscorer.”

Criticizing every instance of VAR is going to get tiring, and no one wants VAR to be able to call fouls and award yellows — let’s not take that away from the field — but is there a larger point here?

It may not take so long for VAR to get used to the Premier League, remember that the on-field refs are going to have growing pains: Worried about the flow of the game, let alone their own ego after review, it seems we’re in for more fits and starts.

Also don’t forget that this was a comfortable win for West Ham United, who put 8 of its 18 shots on target, and Farke’s required to talk about something after the game. “We were outclassed today” isn’t less fun as a line of reasoning.

West Ham too much for defender-troubled Norwich City

Leave a comment

Dominant West Ham United danced past defender-starved Norwich City, keeping Teemu Pukki off the board in a 2-0 win at the London Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Sebastien Haller scored his third goal in two matches, and Andriy Yarmolenko also scored as West Ham out-attempted the visitors 18-8 and put eight of their shots on target.

Look out for the Irons if Manuel Pellegrini has finally instilled some consistency. Now in fifth, they have a very light schedule over the next 3 months with no back-to-back challenges until late November.

We’ve said it before and been proven silly, but this is another stretch of season which could see West Ham claim the power they so desperately crave in the Premier League.


Three things

  1. Haller gets dirty to score again — The Irons’ French striker seems the real deal, and his contested finish of Arthur Masuaku‘s cross showed why West Ham believes he can be the force to propel it into the Top Six.
  2. Norwich’s depth woes — The Canaries have been beset by injuries at the back, and lost Christoph Zimmermann early in this one. Already a perceived weakness and with PL star Timm Klose out for a while with injury, Daniel Farke‘s Canaries have to hope to outscore teams. That simply won’t happen every week.
  3. The forgotten man delivers — Yarmolenko is a wonderful talent, but the 29-year-old missed plenty of time at Borussia Dortmund in 2017-18 and for West Ham last season. Now healthy (**knocks on wood**) the Ukrainian star can be a big part of West Ham’s hopes.

Man of the Match: Felipe Anderson — Holding onto the ex-Lazio playmaker may be an even better move than signing Haller.


Norwich’s back line has been troubled by injuries, so all big stops feel a victory. Christoph Zimmermann slid to block a dangerous looking effort from Felipe Anderson early in the match.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

He couldn’t stop Haller, although to be fair few have looked capable of that this season. The Frenchman stretched to put Arthur Masuaku’s cross into the goal, another fine finish.

Zimmermann left the game after 36 minutes, and the Canaries were in a bad spot.

Yarmolenko made it a two-goal lead in the 56th minute when he volleyed a deflection into the goal.

West Ham hands Watford another home loss as record-signing Haller shines

Leave a comment

West Ham United’s record signing has manager Manuel Pellegrini feeling great and Watford boss Javi Gracia looking over his shoulder.

The Irons took care of Watford 3-1 at Vicarage Road on Saturday, with Sebastien Haller having a role in all three goals during a brace-bagging performance.

[ MORE: How did Pulisic perform v. Norwich?

Watford falls to 0-3, high hopes sincerely grounded having lost to Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion, and now West Ham. Two of those losses came at home, a year after the Hornets remarkable 2018-19 season ended with eight losses at Vicarage Road.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 


Three things we learned

1. Seb’s star show: West Ham United fans will be watching their big center forward closely this season as the club hopes it has its long-sought answer to the center forward position. Haller’s sensational pass helped the Irons earn a third-minute penalty, and he raced to the doorstep to deposit Felipe Anderson‘s second-half cross. After 15 goals and nine assists for Eintracht Frankfurt last season, Haller is every bit the multi-faceted playmaker required for the position. Will he be able to keep it up.

2. Don’t forget Felipe: West Ham’s transfer record holder prior to Haller’s arrival was as electric as ever. The Irons holding onto him this summer may’ve had a little bit of luck involved, but it was also a stroke of genius.

3. Will Hughes the silver blonde lining: The 24-year-old midfielder was very decent in defeat, getting an assist on Andre Gray‘s clinical equalizer before it all went back to poor form for the Hornets.

Man of the match: Haller


Noble’s penalty came after a clearly-fouled Manuel Lanzini launched himself into the air for what was a stonewall foul.

Gerard Deulofeu smashed a shot off the cross bar in the 7th minute after a terrific cross-18 through ball.

West Ham looked wide open in the midfield and allowed Hughes to show a bit of wizardry in cueing up Gray for his well-taken goal.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The teams continued to battle well for the points in entertaining fashion, and it was West Ham’s all-time transfer buys who delivered the winner.

Anderson‘s cross through traffic met Haller at the back post for a hopeful winner, and Haller later made it two.