West Ham firing blanks again but they deserved at least a draw from Tottenham clash
PUBLISHED: 13:31 22 October 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Hugo Lloris denies ‘Arnie’ and the Hammers in one-sided second half
For the second week running, West Ham slumped to a solitary goal defeat and though there were lots to applaud about their display again, goalscoring was not one of them.
They created the chances against Tottenham on Saturday, but as against Brighton, they could not convert them and it is becoming a worry.
The excellent Marko Arnautovic huffed and puffed but was denied three times by the superb Hugo Lloris, but in all honesty at the moment, nobody else in this team looks like scoring.
Not Andriy Yarmolenko, who could be out for six months after being stretchered off; not Declan Rice, Mark Noble and Felipe Anderson and of the rest only Fabian Balbuena poses any threat at set-pieces.
Saying all that, West Ham should still have grabbed something from this game and only the brilliance of World Cup winner Lloris prevented them from doing so.
“I think we played a very good game in the 90 minutes,” said manager Manuel Pellegrini. “In the first half we were more equal, but we were playing against one of the best teams in the Premier League.
“In the second half I thyink only one team was in the game. We dominated possession to create chances and played most of the game in the last third, but in this game you must score.”
That hits the nail on the head but it was not for the want of trying. Twice Arnautovic forced full-stretch saves from Lloris, while substitute Javier Hernandez had the ball in the net, but the Austrian had already been ruled out for offside.
With a couple of minutes to go, Arnautovic was put in once again only for Lloris to bravely come out and block and with that went their last chance of a deserved share of the spoils.
“I think we defended very well and part of that depends on Balbuena and Issa Diop as we;; as all the defenders,” said the manager.
“They had Lucas Moura, Harry Kane and Erik Lamela, but they couldn’t create one chance in the second half, so I think we are improving.”
The top teams do tend to find a way to score that vital goal and as at Brighton last week there were players culpable for conceding it.
Aaron Cresswell failed to track back at all, but most liable was Anderson, who had a nightmare of a game.
Tackling is clearly not his strong point, but neither is tracking back. He looked disinterested and lacklustre all afternoon and was no attacking threat as well as his corners being awful.
For a £42million player that is simply not good enough.
“I prefer not to talk about individual players,” said the manager when asked about the club record signing. “I prefer to talk about the team and in that you always have players who play better and some who play bad.”
He was certainly right there. You can’t help thinking that Anderson would be more effective in the middle of the park where he played so well at Arsenal.
“If we want to talk about the result I am not happy with the results, but I am happy in the way we are improving,” said Pellegrini.
“I think the last two defeats, not exactly against the same teams in Brighton away and Tottenham, but maybe both of them we didn’t deserve to lose.”
They didn’t, but unless you take your chances then that is likely to be the fate you suffer.
That needs to bve addressed against Leicester on Saturday.