David Hautzig's Match Report

West Ham 3, Crystal Palace 2. Driving To Another Win.

Yesterday was the annual holiday party for my company in New York. In previous years, the shindig has always been on a Friday. I hadn’t been in a few years because it always seemed to fall on the same day as a winter concert at school for one or both of my kids. Suffice it to say, I always chose kids. The switch to Saturday was more family friendly, as many of my colleagues brought spouses, partners, and youngens. It was, however, not at all football friendly. So while I would not have entirely minded a snowstorm or non-lethal illness that would have forced me to stay home and watch the match on my 65 inch TV, I did in fact enjoy myself at the party. The drive down, with the game streaming on my IPhone, was equally enjoyable once the usual panic went away. No, I didn’t watch TV while I drove. Not really. OK, I glanced over sometimes when the presenters sounded excited. But I watched the road. I did. Really.

Since this report as such was written well after the match ended, as opposed to being created while living through it, it will be shorter. Those of you applauding due to my occasional wordy writing, I’m sorry to say the longer version be back for Fulham.

The last thing West Ham wanted was to lose the momentum their first back to back wins in almost two years gave them going into yesterday’s match. But in the 5th minute, moments after Chicharito had a chance he should have done better with after a pass from Noble, Snodgrass hauled down McArthur to give Palace a free kick just over the midfield line. Van Aanholt lofted a pretty lazy ball into the box. West Ham tried to play Palace offside, but when Tomkins headed it towards goal McArthur timed his move and got to the ball and nudged it past a shocked Fabianski. Replays showed it was Rice who missed a beat and played the Scotland international onside.

West Ham 0
Crystal Palace 1

The rest of the first half labored on, as did my drive. West Ham didn’t create any chances that made me glance, and by the sound of it the London Stadium crowd was getting a bit salty. It could have turned into a sodium overload in first half injury time had it not been for the crossbar, which stopped a Milivojevic free kick from dipping into the top corner and doubling the visitors lead prior to the break.

Halftime
West Ham 0
Crystal Palace 1

I for one expected Perez to start, and was quite happy that he did. In fact, I think he should start next week at Craven Cottage. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t pleased that Carroll….you know, the tall guy with the man bun….started the second half in his stead. West Ham were getting the ball out wide, but the Palace defenders towered over Hernandez and Perez so the crosses were pretty easy for the Tomkins and Sakho to deal with. AC’s presence alone changed the flow and where their back line had to focus. Had the balls into the box been low and whipped across the area, it might have been a different kettle of fish.

I’m going to get a bit maudlin here. Remember, I’m in the wine biz. I’ve had a few. And it’s late.

If I had to choose one player on West Ham that I want my kids to emulate, it would be none other than Robert Snodgrass. After all of the abuse he took from his employer, his employers kids, as well as supporters, for him to come back from his loan at Villa and not only contribute but become pretty much undroppable is astonishing. His perseverance and professionalism are a lesson for us all.

West Ham had tried to get the ball into Big Andy, first off the foot of Masuaku and then Zabaleta. Both of those crosses were poor. The second was headed out by Sakho, but right to Snodgrass. I’m guessing Palace were expecting another ball out wide or possibly a pass from Snoddy into AC. Instead, he sent an absolutely gorgeous left footed curler past Hennessy for his first ever EPL goal in Claret & Blue.

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West Ham 1
Crystal Palace 1

Here’s the thing about Chicharito. No, he has not been the same player we remember seeing at Manchester United. Or Real Madrid. Much of that has been down to how he has been used at West Ham. He cannot play up front alone. And even when paired with a second striker in a classic 4-4-2, he can be invisible for long stretches of time. But that doesn’t negate what the man still knows how to do, and that’s score goals. He was superb against Newcastle. He was almost non existent against Cardiff. And until the 62nd minute, he wasn’t much better yesterday. But when Carroll drew a silly foul by Tomkins to give the Hammers a free kick from 25 yards out, we were reminded of what he brings to the table. Anderson continued his excellent run of form with a terrific free kick over the wall. But Hennessy couldn’t handle it, and there was Lil Pea to knock it into the top of the net.

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West Ham 2
Crystal Palace 1

Let’s see. What were the arguments against signing Anderson from Lazio for a record amount. There were many. One biggie was that no other team was in for him. How could he be any good if nobody else wants him? He only played for Brazil once. A 35 million pound Brazilian has to have played for the national team multiple times to be worth anything, right? Yet Pellegrini didn’t relent. “You said you would back me and get who I want. I want him. Get him”. I bet Sullivan was near apoplectic. But in the past few games, he has been outstanding. “A real player” is what my friend Neal Barnett, formerly of Chelsea TV and now SiriusXM radio called him on Friday. Minutes after Chicharito put West Ham in front, he rolled a pass to Anderson on the left side of the Palace eighteen yard box. He looked up, surveyed the scene, and unleashed a strike the likes of which we haven’t seen in these parts since Pa………

Yeah.

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West Ham 3
Crystal Palace 1

When Schlupp came on late in the match, for some reason that made me anxious. OK, everything makes me anxious but his entry exacerbated the stress. He was just the kind of pain in the butt substitute that could make us miserable. And he did, in the 76th minute, when he got his head on the end of a Meyer cross and slipped it past Fabianski. Only a minute earlier, Pellegrini put Diangana on for Hernandez in a move I’m assuming many Hammers questioned. I want to attack. But you did, Pelle. That’s why you are up by two goals. So isn’t closing a game out an appropriate strategy at that point?

West Ham 3
Crystal Palace 2

As the final 15 minutes plus added time ticked away, I fully expected a Palace heartbreaking equalizer. Such a moment is in our genetic code. We have perfected it. But it never came.

Final Score
West Ham 3
Crystal Palace 2

I’m both smart enough and experienced enough not to get carried away. We have won three matches in a row, all against opponents we believe we should beat more times than not. But those are also the matches we so often disappoint in. At the end of the day, we do seem to have much of what we have asked for since the current merry band of whatever they are took over. We wanted actual investment with a quality manager. And we wanted to be entertained, to enjoy watching West Ham play football.

This past week, we have certainly had that.


David Hautzig's Match Report

Newcastle 0, West Ham 3. Singing Our Own Toon.

I wake up most weekdays at 5:30am. When my eyes open and my brain begins the very slow process of rebooting for the day, the initial thoughts normally begin with morning tasks like making lunch for my son, unloading the dishwasher, and drinking coffee. The other day, however, I woke up and the very first thing that crossed my mind was stark and simple;

We are gonna lose to Newcastle.

There was absolutely no buildup to this. Alarm sounded, eyes opened, gloom and doom struck. Not only did the big picture hit me, I even started writing the script. Newcastle will score early, inside the opening ten minutes. Then Rafa will have them dig in, successfully frustrate us, and eventually score a second. 2-0. I usually hate being wrong. Today I will celebrate it.

The opening two minutes had at least one instance, Ritchie going over Cresswell, that deserved a yellow card. There were other questionable tackles, but not even a whistle let alone a booking. The hockey fan in me smiled. The West Ham supporter in me worried. What else is new.

The first moment of the match to cause the normal level of panic I feel on a consistent basis was in the 9th minute when Manquillo cut inside from the left and sent a curling cross in front of goal. Ritchie and Fabianski went for the ball, and thankfully for the visitors the latter won the race.

Of the two players in the starting eleven today, the two that have had arguably the toughest time getting there were Hernandez and Snodgrass. Even this morning social media was awash with stories about Chicharito saying an exit is possible due to lack of minutes. So there was a bit of karma in the 11th minute when Snodgrass sent an inviting cross into the box. Hernandez timed his run behind Arnautovic perfectly and did what he does best. Score goals.

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Newcastle 0
West Ham 1

With all of the early shenanigans it was absurd when Snodgrass was booked in the 21st minute, giving Newcastle a free kick from about 30 yards out. The delivery was very good, and Perez got on the end of it. But his header was straight at Fabianski. Moments later, West Ham should have had a second when Anderson sent a stunning through ball for Arnautovic who was in alone on goal. Dubravka came out to intercept and made contact with the West Ham striker. You had to wonder what would have happened had Arnie gone down. He didn’t. By the time he gathered the ball and his bearings, Newcastle had come back to defend and Arnie’s weak pass deflected into the keepers arms.

Minutes later Perez had another open look at goal from a Newcastle corner, but he didn’t even hit the target and the ball flew over the bar. West Ham had two chances of their own moments later but couldn’t capitalize. First, Cresswell just missed a streaking Arnautovic in the box. Then the visitors had a three on three counter attack, with Anderson at the helm. He rolled the ball to Arnautovic in the box, but when Arnie tried to get the ball to Hernandez in front of goal Dubravka was able to intercept.

I had never seen a referee book a player for not taking a free kick quickly enough. So between the earlier Snodgrass booking and that one for Noble, Tierney entered my black book as one of the more prolific morons in the game.

As first half injury time wound down, Perez had yet another half chance. With the ball at his feet, he turned Balbuena and fired a curling right footed shot that went high and wide. Then Rondon did well to chest a ball down to his feet right in front of Fabianski, but with a yellow card to consider Zabaleta made a brilliant tackle to keep West Ham in front.

Halftime
Newcastle 0
West Ham 1

The first opportunity of the second half came from what should have been a problem for Newcastle when Dubravka came outside of the eighteen yard box to dribble the ball away from danger. Instead of feeling the pressure, he sent a long ball to Rondon that started an attack. It ended with a set piece that West Ham handled. A minute later, West Ham countered and Hernandez sent a perfectly weighted ball to Arnautovic behind the Newcastle defense. One good touch and he would have been off to the races. But he completely fluffed his lines and lost the ball.

If anyone needed more evidence that Cresswell is a better defensive choice than Masuaku, minute 50 to 52 would seal the deal. First, he made a fantastic block right in front of Fabianski on Rondon. Then he made a fantastic sliding tackle. But it was the latter moment of skill that might be remembered as the moment the day went downhill because he pulled a hamstring and had to be replaced by the aforementioned non defender.

In the 58th minute, yet another pair of chances that we could have despaired about later unfolded. First, Arnautovic fed Hernandez in the box but the ball slid between the Lil Pea’s feet. A moment later Chicharito was fed by Anderson in front of goal. A second goal was there. It had to be. Side netting, followed by furious pillow punching in my basement.

The funny part about watching a match on a stream is that often the feed is delayed a few seconds. Which can be annoying because I have an app that gives instant updates. So when my phone made the chime indicating a goal, I was nervous to look. But then I saw Chicharito streaking in on goal down the right and I was hopeful. When he rolled the ball under Dubravka, I was elated.

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Newcastle 0
West Ham 2

In the 67th minute West Ham could have made it a three goal lead when Anderson launched a counter down the left. He had space in front of him as well as Hernandez in the middle of the box. He chose to go it alone, and forced Dubravka into a good save with his feet and out for a corner. The ensuing set piece came close as well when Diop just missed with a header that went wide.

By the way, if anybody could post the lyrics to what sounded like We’ve Got Diop, Issa Diop, I’d be eternally grateful.

The theoretical nightmare that accompanied Masuaku entering the game at left back looked in the cards in the 77th minute when he committed an unnecessary foul on Rondon at the top of the West Ham penalty area. Voldemort stepped up to take the free kick, but his delivery went over the bar. A few minutes later Atsu bounced a pass to Rondon in the area but his shot was handled with ease by Fabianski.

As the final ten minutes wound down, I waited for that inevitable Newcastle goal that would make the final minutes agonizing. I could literally see Masuaku do something ridiculous that caused a goal to bounce in off his left nostril. Yet with two minutes to go in added time, as my cat Midnight made it clear that she needed my lap instead of the IPad, I breathed easy and put the writing away. Then my phone rang. My best mate Jon.

“I would have been happy with two nil!” he said. Another example of the internet lag, only this time it was a solid minute. It was three for West Ham, but I had yet to see it. Wilshire’s pass to Anderson was good. Quite good, actually. But you know what made the goal memorable? If Anderson took that shoulder from Schär a month ago, you what he would have done? Fall over, roll a couple of times, and then look at Tierney with his hands in the air. But he’s getting the hang of this England thing I reckon. He took the shoulder, and powered past the thoroughly shocked defender before putting the ball through Dubravka’s legs.

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Final Score
Newcastle 0
West Ham 3

Simply put, I did not see this coming. Actually, the more accurate way to put it is that I couldn’t dream of this result. But through a combination of a confident manager, Anderson hitting stride, Hernandez finding a way into the starting eleven, and a solid defense, West Ham took three points home from a place they usually come home empty handed from.

Maybe I should predict disaster more often.


Match Report

West Ham 0, Manchester City 4. Strangely, I Feel OK.

My wife and I have virtually identical cars. 2014 Subaru Outbacks. Mine is green, hers red. About ten days ago my rear backup camera died. Now if your car has one, you know what a game changer that goodie can be. So having it die kind of sucks. Actually, it really sucks. So I made an appointment to have it replaced this coming Friday. The day after mine quit, guess what happened to hers? You couldn’t get odds on that from any bookmaker on earth. Lloyds Of London wouldn’t touch it. So the best appointment for her car was today at 11am. But my son had a friend coming over at Noon, and the wife wanted to be the chaperone for that event. So I was appointed the driver of her car to the shop.

I arrived there at 9:45am and explained why I was over an hour early. The looks on their faces were more dumbfounded than anything. Can’t blame them. I found a spot in the waiting area, set up my phone for viewing and my IPad for writing, and away we went.

The first important moment of the match, amazingly, was an opportunity for West Ham. Antonio found himself launched into the Manchester City area all alone in the sixth minute. But with Arnautovic streaking into the middle of the box, having beaten his man, Antonio showed his lack of nous by not feeding his main man and instead won a corner that led to nothing.

Despite the huge amounts of money, at least by our standards, spent in the summer there are still so many areas we lack depth and quality. The midfield is one of them. When Kyle Walker started a run in the 11th minute, he had enough space to start a farm. He fed Sterling on the right, who sent a low cross that deflected off of Diop right into the path of Silva. That ended the way we would expect it to. Granted, the deflection was vital. But the space for Walker was equally vital.

West Ham 0
Manchester City 1

Aguero was in perfect position to double the visitors lead in the 16th minute when Sterling again got the ball on the right. He saw Aguero alone near the top of the West Ham eighteen yard box, but Aguero skied his effort over the bar. The let off was temporary, however. In the 19th minute, Sane beat Zabaleta on the left, Sterling beat Masuaku on the right, and the lead was doubled.

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West Ham 0
Manchester City 2

It’s not that The Hammers were capitulating. Just the opposite. We went for it. We pressed, and worked, and created chances. Within minutes of Sterling’s goal, the home side created two chances. First, Antonio quite literally worked Laporte off the ball inside the City box and tapped the ball towards Arnautovic. The West Ham talisman got a low shot off that Ederson stopped easily. Moments later, the roles reversed and Arnie fed Antonio in the box but the maligned West Ham winger shot right at the City keeper. Regardless of the outcome, it was a good response from West Ham.

David Moyes made a few very good decisions in his brief time at the club. Arnautovic as a front man was the most obvious. But if memory serves me, wasn’t it Moysie who had Masuaku on the wing? And why did he do that? Simple.

Masuaku. Cannot. Defend.

I’m not saying the score would have been different had Cresswell been at left back. But Masuaku switching off is so predictable I don’t know why Pellegrini thought the slight creativity gained was worth the almost complete lack of defensive abilities. So after about six thousand passes, Sane beat Masuaku, got the ball in front of Fabianski, and scored.

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West Ham 0
Manchester City 3

In the dying seconds of the half, West Ham created another decent chance when Diangana rolled a well timed ball to Zabaleta in the box. He had a decent look at goal, but he’s a right back. Not a striker. So every fiber in his body yelled “PASS” when “SHOOT” might have been better. So another chance fell by the wayside.

Halftime
West Ham 0
Manchester City 3

The second half began with Cresswell in at left back for Masuaku. Let’s hope we never see the well intentioned Masuaku at that position again.

Two minutes into the second forty five, another deflected cross landed on the feet of a Manchester City player in the form of Sterling. Somehow Fabianski got down in front of him and stopped the chance. Small victories, right?

Composure. It’s so vital. And it’s something, along with the aforementioned nous, that Antonio does not have. Dare I say he’s not a footballer, per se? He’s more physical specimen. And despite what some may think, that isn’t an out and out criticism. In the 57th minute, Obiang started an attack that ended with a beautifully weighted ball for Antonio down the right. He really had to score. Instead he tried to beat Ederson to the near post…..and didn’t.

The crowd started singing. It was not the atmosphere, at least on TV, of a heavy defeat. Anderson was playing very well. Hernandez created a spark. Rice made the contract impasse even more frustrating and absurd than it already is. The movement was positive. On another day, against lesser opposition…..

I missed part of the second half discussing things like tire pressure sensors and the rear view camera. Thankfully the bill wasn’t as awful as I had feared. When I got back the score was the same. Which allowed me to ponder the same question I’m guessing many were pondering at an equal rate. Had Cresswell started, well, I just don’t know.

Back to reality.

Despite having as good an overall performance in Claret & Blue as we have seen, Anderson was replaced in the 68th minute by Perez. If ever there was a time for Man Bun, this was it. And Perez did himself no favors at all in his rather useless time on the pitch, so I’m not sure when we will see him again.

In the 74th minute, yet another decent bit of work by Antonio and Arnautovic saw the latter with an open header in the box. He probably should have at least hit the target. Maybe he should have scored. He put his effort over the bar. Two minutes later he won a corner, and Balbuena came inches from getting a goal off of the Cresswell delivery.

The most worrisome moment came in the final minute of the ninety when Arnautovic removed himself from the match after an awkward fall in the box minutes earlier. Worse than Sane scoring another in the final seconds.

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Final Score
West Ham 0
Manchester City 4

We lost. But we expected it, right? We had decent chances. And if we had capitalized on some of them, the result might have been a wee bit different. Tony Gale said on television that we had better chances than any other side he had seen them play this year. Which is frightening when you think about it. But considering the opposition, we really and truly made a good accounting of ourselves. West Ham supporters know good football, regardless of the numbers on the board. We made them work. More than any other loss in recent memory I switched this one off thinking we might be on the right track. Of course an absurdly bad performance against Newcastle next week is possible, but for the time being I’m going to allow myself to feel OK.


David Hautzig's Match Report

Huddersfield 1, West Ham 1. Not The Best Point To Make.

When you think about it, the supporter narrative around our club changes at the blink on an eye. Or one result. Going into Burnley last week, the mood felt a bit grim. We had lost midweek to Spurs in the whatever the heck it’s called now Cup, ten days after losing to them in the league. We had given up a 90th minute goal to drop two points at Leicester City. Third lowest point total after ten games since EPL started. Our record signing looked a lost cause. On and on and on.

And then we beat Burnley.

Hey! You know what? Leicester got a damned lucky bounce off Balbuena’s butt, and Ogbonna should have won it at the end. Yarmolenko should have buried that cross against Chelsea. Oh, and Arnie missed a sitter against Brighton. Those are five points right there and we’d be top half! Yeah, we are just fine!

See what I mean? So today against Huddersfield, the mood was good. Optimism that we would win consecutive EPL matches for the first time since 2017 was high. Foolish of us.

You know what I learned at the start of the match? My NBC app does not support a wired connection to a TV. As I scrambled to change setups, first with AirPlay through Apple TV (which is as inconsistent as a certain football club), and then resorting to simply using my Ipad, the first three plus minutes had come and gone.

In the 4th minute, Diangana showed again why he might just be a keeper from the Academy. After beating his man with a lovely little turn around, he sent a near perfect through ball for Arnautovic. The Austrian Talisman was in all alone on Lossl. He had a choice of finding Anderson in the middle or going it alone. He tried alone, and his attempted curl around the keeper was palmed out for a corner.

Declan Rice has made very few mistakes in his short but impressive West Ham career. But when Huddersfield pressed him after a Fabianski clearance, he made one. And the home side pounced. Pritchard’s low shot didn’t look too dangerous. I thought it was about to roll wide. But when I saw the net ripple, the ever present fears of a let down after a win took over.

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Huddersfield 1
West Ham 0

Huddersfield came absurdly close to doubling their lead in the 15th minute when Billing sent what was almost certainly a cross when he let it go. But in mid-air it morphed into a shot and clanged off the far post. It bounced parallel to the line, could have hit Fabianski in the back, and went past the near post. Goal Line Technology confirmed we were still only a goal down.

As great as Diop has been, he has also been prone to the occasional mind shut down. He had another in the 25th minute with a complacent pass out of the zone and Mounie pounced. He ran at goal with just Fabianski to beat but the West Ham keeper made himself big and made a very fine save.

As the first half hit the half hour mark, West Ham were unfortunately limited to long, hopeful balls upfield. Not the possession play that had given us whatever limited success we have had this season. Add the defensive errors and the effective Huddersfield setup and a longer afternoon than expected looked in the cards.

The first half rolled towards its conclusion without much to talk about, other than a nasty looking collarbone injury to Chris Lowe. That added five minutes of added time, precisely what the visitors didn’t want. A decent cross by Snodgrass gave West Ham a final roll of the dice with a corner. But they came up snake eyes.

Halftime
Huddersfield 1
West Ham 0

Pellegrini began the second half with a change, removing Diangana for Chicharito. A positive move in terms of experience, and I trust the manager to make it clear to the youngster that he didn’t do anything wrong and it wasn’t a punishment.

He almost made an immediate impact when a lucky deflection came to him in the box. His first shot was smothered by Lossl. The ball bounced high in the air, and Hernandez tried a looping header that landed on the top of the goal.

West Ham tried to implement its style on the game, but with virtually no success. The home side kept The Hammers pegged back, and when they did make it forward there were numbers to deal with. West Ham weren’t sharp, had no creativity, and looked complacent. It started to look almost exactly like the loss to Brighton. So when my best mate Jon bet me we would win, I took the wager. Why not? I would have gladly paid a few bucks for the three points, or taken some money as a salve.

In the 55th minute West Ham could have fell victim to a missed offside call when Pritchard got on the end of a long ball and went in alone on Fabianski. Diop recovered well and forced Pritchard to his left and the shot went wide. Minutes later West Ham looked brighter, and if Snodgrass and Arnautovic hadn’t run into each other in the box there might have been an end product. Instead, it all ended with a terrible high shot by Anderson.

Pellegrini made another positive change in the 65th minute when Antonio replaced Obiang. But the first chance after that came to Huddersfield when Mounie challenged Diop in the West Ham eighteen yard box and almost got a gift shot on goal. Moments later the home side won a corner, but the delivery was so bad you’d think Anderson took it.

I rarely report on substitutions as they happen because I choose to add them as points after the fact. But today was so bereft of things to talk about, well, here is another one. Zabaleta was replaced by Fredericks in the 74th minute. Unless the new signing believes in Karma, his entry had little to do with what came next. Anderson sent a cross into the box. Hernandez was denied. Then Antonio. Finally, Anderson was there to smash it into the upper corner.

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Huddersfield 1
West Ham 1

The pendulum looked to have swung all the way to Claret & Blue a minute later when West Ham won a corner. The delivery into the box was near perfect, and Diop sent a powerful header at goal that was cleared off the line by Mooy. Minutes later it was Huddersfield that gave the crowd a reason to gasp when Durm attempted a long shot that went just wide.

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I totally understand the talent that is Felipe Anderson. And I totally understand the need to keep him in the lineup as much as possible. But there are times, like his lazy pass that could have sprung Arnie in alone in the 86th minute that drives me bonkers. Rant quick, and over.

The Hammers had a couple of half chances in second half injury time when Arnautovic had the ball near the top of the Huddersfield box. He tried to thread a ball to Hernandez but Huddersfield cleared. In the dying moments, Huddersfield won a corner and the very fact they didn’t score was probably enough for me.

Final Score
Huddersfield 1
West Ham 1

We played a side that had only scored one goal at home all year, and it was an OG. Pritchard takes that shot 100 more times Fabianski saves 99 of them. If we couldn’t break that snide of not winning two consecutive matches today, I’m not that hopeful of seeing us do it anytime soon. I am not happy with the point. Nor am I happy with the display.

Neither should Pellegrini.


David Hautzig's Match Report

Leicester City 1, West Ham 1. 90th Minute Annoyance

“Listening to game. Heart is not really into it this morning with what is happening to our country.” That’s the text I got from my best mate, Jon right before kickoff. I was out all morning, completely unaware of what had happened in Pittsburgh, and found it hard not to switch to news websites. I didn’t because I couldn’t handle watching real life. There was also a nasty storm called a Nor’easter where I live, with heavy winds and rain. Power and satellite signal were intermittent.

When power came back on, the first thing I saw was the cross that Balbuena tried to head away but instead caused Fabianski to dive to his left and punch the ball over the bar for a Leicester corner. The announcers here said West Ham needed some possession to take the pressure off. That gave me the distinct impression that I could be thankful for the lack of satellite signal during the opening minutes of the match.

But West Ham sprang to life for a few seconds, with a some time on the ball in the Leicester half, which culminated with a low shot by Anderson that Schmeichel did well to gobble up. A few minutes later, Snodgrass did well to fake with his left foot and open space for a right footed shot. He didn’t connect well, and the ball fizzled away wide.

West Ham had another opportunity in the 24th minute when Anderson, Hernandez, and Snodgrass did their best to gain control of the ball in the Leicester eighteen yard box. Eventually it was the born again Snodgrass who did much of the work, but his low shot rolled wide.

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And then, the power and satellite went out. When it came back, Balbuena had scored. Yay. Seconds later, Noble saw red. Groan.

The West Ham Way.

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Leicester came as close as you could to an equalizer without scoring when Iborra timed his run perfectly on a Leicester free kick from about 35 yards out, but Fabianski made a stunning save on the header. Masuaku inexplicably looked to pass the rebound back to Fabianski instead of hoofing the ball from danger, but West Ham escaped that lack of brain cells. Minutes later it was Diangana who momentarily lost his mind when he tried to carry the ball out of the West Ham half, ran into a problem in a blue kit, and made an ill timed pass at the top of the West Ham box. The TV flicked and froze, so I don’t know how we got out of trouble but we did.

Halftime
Leicester City 0
West Ham 1

The narrative of the second half started from the opening seconds, with Leicester on the ball and West Ham back in numbers. Chillwell worked down the left and sent various crosses into the box. When West Ham tried to counter, it seemed to break down with one person at fault. Anderson. Whether it was a bad pass, or an ill advised dribble, he was the culprit. That’s not a judgment. It’s an observation.

In the 55th minute, the home side had their first real chance of the half when Albrighton attacked on the right and sent a cross to Vardy in the box. The England international and current Instagram star got a piece of the delivery but his flicked header went wide. Then in the 57th minute Iheanacho got the ball right in front of goal. He turned quickly and tried a left footed shot that glanced the arm of Zabaleta before Fabianski took control. Of course there were shouts for hand ball, but Oliver was right there and waved it away.

In the 62nd minute, it was Fabianski again to the rescue when Chillwell sent a cross from the left that Albrighton caught perfectly on the volley. But the signing so many supporters initially questioned made a superb stop. A minute later it was Albrighton who sent a cross from the right that Vardy leapt to meet but he couldn’t keep his header down and it went over the bar. Moments later Maguire sent a ball goal bound but it clipped the bar and went over for a goal kick.

As the TV flicked on and off while the satellite signal came and went, it was pretty easy to tell that Leicester was in full attack and we were all hands on deck in defense. Nigel texted he was sure we would win. I replied questioning his stability. The addition of Okazaki to the Leicester attack did nothing to dissuade me from my analysis of the situation. He always seemed to score on us, I thought.

West Ham had a good opportunity on a set piece in the 81st minute to add an unlikely second goal when Antonio won a free kick about 35 yards from goal. Snodgrass found Ogbonna with a picture perfect delivery, but the Italian couldn’t put his head on target. Amazingly, Antonio worked himself into a shot on goal in the 86th minute surrounded by three Leicester City defenders.

In the 90th minute, Ndidi did what we all feared. He scored. His shot deflected off of the Man Of The Match, Balbuena, and floated past Fabianski. To add salt to that wound, a minute later West Ham had a four on two break and with nobody in front of him Ogbonna skied his shot after a pass from Snodgrass. My picture became so bad at that point I turned it off, deciding if we did give up a second I wouldn’t have to suffer through it. We didn’t.

Embed from Getty Images

Final Score
Leicester City 1
West Ham 1

I guess if we had given up a goal in the 50th minute and held on for the draw, we would have felt pretty good tonight. But it’s impossible to feel good about football when you give up the goal in the 90th minute. Which means today I don’t feel that good about much of anything outside of my wife and kids.


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