West Ham United

Chicharito scores as Hammers, Seagulls split spoils

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West Ham United and Brighton traded blows in a 1-1 draw at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, with VAR again peeking its head into the fray.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Leandro Trossard scored two pretty goals, but only one remained on the board for Brighton thanks to an offside runner. The Seagulls out-attempted West Ham by 16-8.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored for West Ham United.

Brighton moves onto four points on the year, while West Ham grabs its first point of the season.


Three things we learned

  1. Trossard pushes promise through VAR: The big buy from Belgium had an early goal chalked off by VAR, but scored an equally pretty equalizer during his home debut.

“The goal which was ruled out, it was a nice strike. It’s an odd situation – you cheer, the adrenaline comes up and it’s bad luck that I couldn’t have the first but it was good that I could come back and score on my debut in the second half instead. It is my first goal, it has helped us to get equal.”

2. Chicharito looks weird in No. 9: We get it, he’s a striker and he crafts a bunch of goals, but even his match-opening beauty didn’t change the oddness of seeing West Ham’s longtime Mexican striker in a No. 9.

3. Manuel Lanzini is back: It’s easy to forget that the Argentine is capable of the sublime, but his health is a welcome reunion for our weekends.

4. Graham Potter is making a name for himself in the top flight: “There is a long way to go but the signs are good. The points return looks good. The performances are the things we want to focus on and we will look to do that next week and going forwards.”


He’s here to score goals inside the box. It’s what he does.

Mexican veteran Javier Hernandez, you know him better as Chicharito, used a perfect run to get himself past the Brighton back line.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Manuel Lanzini set-up the goal, and Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan got a piece of Hernandez’s effort en route to 1-0.

The Seagulls quickly answered through Trossard, who had a goal ripped off the board by VAR in the first half.

The Belgian lashed his effort home within minutes of Chicharito.

Guardiola, Pellegrini react to VAR fest on Opening Day

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Manchester City’s 5-0 blowout of West Ham United saw a masterclass from Raheem Sterling, but much of the post-game focus revolved around VAR.

Goals were overturned, a red card was not given, and a penalty withstood video review as referee Mike Dean was largely relegated to his ear piece.

[ RECAP: West Ham 0-5 Man City ]

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini, at least on the day, chose to stay positive about the new world of Premier League football with VAR.

From the BBC:

“It is not easy to get used to it, but I think the result will be fairer if we use it in the right moments. Football is so fast today it is impossible for referees to see all. It will improve football.”

The London Stadium came alive when Man City’s third goal was overturned by VAR, the supporters finding new belief in a 2-0 score line, and Guardiola said there are sure to be plenty of new experiences on account of the technology.

“You have to be mentally strong when VAR is not on our side,” Guardiola said. “You think at 0-3 the game is almost over but at 0-2, the game is completely different. You have to be calm and be strong, it is going to change the dynamic not just for the team but for the spectators. It will be a good lesson for our future.”

Sterling hat trick leads Man City blowout

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Manchester City began its Premier League challenge with a high quality away win, breaking down a disciplined West Ham United at the London Stadium to the tune of a 5-0 victory.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Raheem Sterling scored twice. Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero also scored, while Jesus and Sterling each had a goal disallowed by VAR in the win. Sterling’s second goal withstood VAR review thanks to the angle of the last defender’s hip.

City goes first with a plus-5 goal differential, and hosts Tottenham Hotspur next week. West Ham is off to Brighton and Hove Albion.


Three things we learned

1. VAR is imperfect, but it isn’t going anywhere so  we’ll have to accept the overturning of imperceptible real-time results like Sterling’s centimeter-offside shoulder in assisting Jesus’ would-be second for the hopes of what it will fix in big spots and big gaffes.

VAR also overturned Lukasz Fabianski‘s save of Sergio Aguero’s late penalty for encroachment. The Argentine scored on his second attempt.

One things for sure: “I’m the show” Mike Dean was not able to make himself as much of a story line because the cameras did some work for him.

[ MORE: Pep, Pellegrini react to VAR ]

2. If you’re one of the people (cough, like this writer) who predicted this is the season that Raheem Sterling will win Premier League Player of the Year, you’re feeling pretty good about the 24-year-old’s showing at the London Stadium.

Sterling scored thrice, had a fourth ruled out, and also had an assist (with a second overturned). He was everywhere, electric and smart, and looks every bit the player he promised upon debut for Liverpool.

3. West Ham is going to be a problem for a lot of teams this year, and Manuel Pellegrini has to be counting his blessings that his scouts spotted Issa Diop before last season and decided not to sell him this summer.

The towering 22-year-old from Toulouse didn’t look great on Jesus’ clever opener and conceded a late penalty when Riyad Mahrez made the most of a wayward foot, but was tested time and again by the probing runs and cutting through balls of City.

The man may be chiseled out of granite.

Man of the Match: Sterling.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Irons predictably struggled to have much of the ball, but Manuel Pellegrini was had his men ready to play with their champion visitors.

Ederson made a pair of quickfire saves from close range in the 73rd minute, the second a flying slap of a header which kept the two-goal lead in tact.

Jesus was also quite good, starting over Sergio Aguero, and scoring when Diop’s sliding bid to divert a Kyle Walker cross only allowed a flick past Lukasz Fabianski.

Sterling scored all three of his goals after halftime, the first off a Kevin De Bruyne assist, the second coming via a delightful run to dink a shot inside the far post, and the third a run into the right of the box.

[ MORE: Premier League TV, streaming schedule | Predicting the PL table ]

Watch Live: West Ham v. Man City

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West Ham United host Manchester City at the London Stadium on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with the Hammers hoping to cause a huge shock to kick off their season.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

Reigning Premier League champs Man City are the favorites to win it all once again and Pep Guardiola‘s side have been clicking through the gears in preseason without many of their established stars.

City have outscored West Ham 17-1 in their last four visits to the London Stadium, and have secured seven wins on the trot in all competitions against the Hammers.

In team news West Ham’s Lukasz Fabianski is fit to start in goal, while Sebastian Haller starts up top with Lanzini, Antonio and Anderson underneath him. Declan Rice and Jack Wilshere are in midfield.

Man City keep Sergio Aguero on the bench, while Aymeric Laporte comes into the team and Riyad Mahrez starts in place of Bernardo Silva.


LINEUPS

Premier League Preview: West Ham v. Man City

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  • Man City aiming for three-peat
  • West Ham debuts for Fornals, Haller
  • City have 7-straight wins v. West Ham

West Ham United host Manchester City on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at the London Stadium, as the Hammers aim to spring an upset on the opening weekend of the season.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

Pep Guardiola and Man City are coming off the back of winning the FA Community Shield, as they look to get started on the right path this season. These two teams have already met in preseason, with City beating West Ham 4-1 in the PL Asia Trophy in China.

As for former Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini, he has loaded up his West Ham attack with Sebastian Haller and Pablo Fornals in line to make their debuts this weekend.

City have outscored West Ham 17-1 on their four previous visits to the London Stadium and it has been a happy hunting ground for Guardiola.

In team news City will be without Leroy Sane who has undergone ACL surgery on his right knee, while West Ham will be without skipper Mark Noble who has a dead leg.


Projected lineups

West Ham: Fabianski; Zabaleta, Diop, Balbuena, Masuaku; Rice, Wilshere; Anderson, Fornals, Antonio; Haller

Man City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Fernandinho, David Silva, De Bruyne; Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling


What they’re saying

Pellegrini happy with West Ham’s summer: “I’m happy because we’ve completed the squad in the way I wanted: we have two players in each position – good players. I always think that the best way to deliver good performances from players is to have competition for their positions in the starting eleven, so we’ve done all that we needed to do.”

Guardiola on the goals for this season: “Tomorrow is trying to win, playing well, making mistakes to improve for the next time and trying to do that and play better in the next game. That is the only way to arrive in April or May, to try and have success. Sometimes you have a good result, but you don’t play well. You don’t have success. The key point from our point of view is always to play better, individually and collectively. That is the only secret we have. Understand the game, make the players feel they need each other.”


Prediction

Man City may be a little sluggish due to a lot of their players linking up with the team later in preseason, but they should take care of business quite comfortably. West Ham have upgraded their attack this offseason and there is a renewed sense of belief in east London that they can break into the top six. City will win this, 3-1.