West Ham cruise through but Bilic wants more from club record signing
PUBLISHED: 13:00 20 September 2017
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Hammers manager delighted with dominat first-half display against Bolton Wanderers
How times change. Bolton Wanderers used to be West Ham’s nemesis in times gone by, now the Hammers were able to sweep them aside with basically their shadow team.
It could and really should have been four or five nil by half time and the Hammers were able to blood some of their youngsters and coast through the second half with few alarms from the Championship basement-boys.
“It is a good night for us,” said manager Slaven Bilic after the 3-0 win. “We are through in the cup and another clean sheet is very important.
“We told the guys that we must build on this. Three clean sheets, four points in the League and into the next round of the cup.”
The performance of club record signing Marko Arnautovic came under scrutiny after this game.
The Austria international made the first two goals and tormented the Bolton defence, but he also missed a sitter by trying to be too flash when put clean through.
Bilic was in two minds when it was suggested that he could not have asked for more from him.
“Yes, but I could have,” he said slightly unexpectedly. “I want him to do more.
“He has got that quality and he knows that I like him, but sometimes in himself he gets happy with a few things that he does and I want him to continue like that and push the borders.
“He must have got the ball around 15 times and five or six times he did a great job with assists or whatever, but sometimes he is happy just to pass it back or to do a little trick.”
Strong words for a player who is clearly not yet in the manager’s good books after his sending-off at Southampton.
In truth, this was a walk in the park for West Ham against a side who offered almost nothing.
Angelo Ogbonna powered in a header from Arnautovic’s superb free kick after just four minutes and that gave West Ham the freedom to play some football.
Diafra Sakho added a second, but the likes of Arnautovic and Andre Ayew should also have scored with easy chances in that opening 45 minutes.
After the break, it was more like a testimonial which did not please the manager.
“The second half was not that good,” he said. “We slowed things down which I don’t like.
“If we had scored a third to kill the game it would be different, but at 2-0 it is always a dodgy lead.”
Maybe, but Bolton never really challenged, even when they were allowed the ball and the game was finished with a flourish as Arthur Masuaku smashed home from long-range in injury time.
It was the icing on the cake for the excellent crowd of nearly 36,000. Compare that to the 23,000 watching Spurs at Wembley!
West Ham march on and in all honesty it was a foregone conclusion after the first few minutes.
Saturday may well be a very different story.