David Hautzig's Match Report
Bournemouth 2, West Ham 0. Let It Snow, Let Snow, Let It Snow.
I have an idea I’d like to share with the board.
From this day forward, if we are in negotiations to sign a player from any club on the globe, if said player exhibits any behavior that even resembles going on strike to force the move, we hang up the phone. Over and done with.
The start of the match was very, very interesting. Not because of anything on the pitch. Far from it. My NBC stream had no commentary. None. So I had to quickly set myself up to make up for that lack of help. For example, in the second minute Bournemouth moved the ball around our penalty area before sending a shot high over the bar. Number 8. Like I know or care who wears number 8 for The Cherries. It’s some guy named Lerma. I had to look that up. I hoped like hell the commentary would turn on sooner than later.
And just like that, it turned on. With it came a corner for the home side after Ogbonna couldn’t control the ball after winning it off the 75 million pound man himself, Callum “No Knees” Wilson. West Ham handled the set piece, but moments later Wilson sent a ball across goal that Brooks got to. But the Welsh international tried to hit the near post instead of going back across the face of goal and it hit the side netting.
The early goings looked like a match between a team well drilled at what they were supposed to do, and a team that hadn’t quite realized the whistle had blown. The visitors looked mildly awake in the 18th minute when Carroll, of all people, started a counter with a beautiful diagonal ball to Anderson on the right. The Brazilian returned the favor with a cross that Carroll headed back into the center of the eighteen yard box but Antonio couldn’t get there first.
West Ham tried to keep possession and work their way into the game. They moved the ball around the perimeter, looking for a ball into the box. But Carroll doesn’t make those kinds of runs. Despite that, the Hammers did come close when Nasri got a shot off from a deflected ball out to him near the top of the Bournemouth eighteen yard box but it went wide. Minutes later, he was in the West Ham box receiving a short pass from Fabianski. If Nasri needed to be that far back to get on the ball, it was going to be a very long day.
There was a moment in the 35th minute when West Ham broke on a counter. Anderson had the ball about 35 yards from goal. He looked up, and Carroll was so close you could see him on the TV screen. I swear I saw Anderson raise his hands as if to say “where is everyone”? He rolled a hopeful ball into the box that amounted to absolutely nothing. But it really wasn’t his fault. Other forwards would have made a run into an attacking area. With the yellow card already collected, I hoped Carroll would be removed at halftime.
As the halftime whistle blew, the stats were damning. Zero shots on target for either side.
West Ham 0
The opening moments of the second had more than the opening forty-five combined. First, after Ogbonna gave away a foul, Cook got on the end of the set piece but Fabianski dove to his right to make a very fine save. Seconds later Fabianski had to make a second save low to his right, only that one came off of Zabaleta.
West Ham came down the other way and should have scored. Noble floated a ball into the box that Carroll headed back to Antonio. When Antonio couldn’t control it, the ball rolled to AC two yards out. The net was there. The goal was there. Instead, AC skied it over the bar. How he did that I don’t know. The physics of it didn’t make sense.
The breakthrough came in the 53rd minute. Diop was caught upfield and Bournemouth broke with Fraser on the left. Diop did well to get back and put in a good tackle on Fraser, but the ball deflected high and to the top of the West Ham eighteen yard box. Wilson was there and caught the volley perfectly. The ball sailed past an almost motionless Fabianski.
West Ham 0
Tackling in the box is among the riskiest things a footballer can do. And it’s not like Noble doesn’t make badly timed tackles from time to time. But in the 64th minute, King made an outstanding run through more than a few West Ham players. As he entered the box, Noble came in sliding. He got the ball, King went down, and West Ham hearts paused. Hooper waved it off.
The Cherries came oh so close to killing the game off in the 71st minute, again on a break. After another run by King, he rolled the ball to Wilson near the top of the West Ham box. The West Ham killer beat Fabianski with a low shot but the ball clanged off the post.
Ogbonna has a history of giving away penalties. When he is very close to the attacking player, and that player is making a run across the box, it can get dodgy. When Brooks made that run, Ogbonna challenged him, and Brooks went down. I fully expected a penalty. I was relieved it was waved off.
When Chicharito took a shot from just outside the box in the 80th minute, it was saved easily by Boruc. I must admit when the announcer said it was our first shot on target, I was a little surprised. I knew we had been….uhhhh…..poor. But that was poorer than I thought.
The clock ticked away, and West Ham looked for an equalizer. Hernandez made a run and Anderson tried to find him, but sent the pass to the wrong side. I had to wonder if Hernandez, or even Silva had started, would we have had more moments like that? And with more chances like that, maybe we get a goal?
The killer blow came in extra time when Brooks picked out King alone in the box. Easy.
West Ham 0
A lot of things went wrong today. The obvious one centered on who wasn’t there. But it also had to do with who was there. On the pitch. I’m not bashing AC. He plays a role. But the rest of the setup has to be tuned into that role. It didn’t help that Bournemouth are a bit of a bogey side for us. Even the wins over them have been by the skin of our teeth. In the end, we created hardly any chances, even of the half variety. That allowed the home side to earn their first ever clean sheet against us. I would have liked a result to help keep me warm with the big snow storm coming my way.
Guess I’ll have to use tea instead.