Big Sam returned yesterday and didn’t it show, with one of the worst games I’ve seen this season. The only plus point was we won by scoring the only goal of the game but I don’t think anyone left there thinking they had had a good time, home or away fans.
For the Hammers it was a strong team out there and a strong bench with Carroll back in contention. Lanzini started for West Ham, which hopefully can lift some of the pressure on Payet to deliver every game.
In fact it was mazy run by Lanzini beating a couple of players that pushed a pass across to Mark Noble to smash a shot in from just outside the box, which hit the underside of the bar but unfortunately didn’t cross the line. Nice to see him doing that again this season for the first time in about 6 or 7. A few more goals and surely full international honours beckon.
Sam ,as no surprise to anyone, put his whole team behind the ball, and exposed Jermaine Defoe to isolation the whole game. The one time he did get through was flagged offside and he cut a pretty sorry figure throughout the game.
WHUFC could not break the Maccams down and the only other decent shot we had in the entire first half garnered us what was to be the winning goal when Antonio ran onto a bit of a lost cause from Byram, managed to to get it off the Sunderland defender, and ran on his own into the box and curled a delightful pass around the keeper from a tight angle into the far bottom corner of the net.
The second half was shocking for WHU and should have cost us the game but Sunderland could not take advantage of the chances we (and in particular Collins, who had a real shocker) were giving them. Chances went across the goal, over the bar, into flailing defenders, but luckily never really goal bound. Things got better for the hammers when Carroll and Moses came on for Lanzini and Emenike. In fact a volley from Carroll hit the bar near the end. Another game, another 3 points, and thats that. Some Sunderland fans thought we were there for the taking, and I cannot disagree.
The old line about playing poor and winning games comes into play, but I remember being in Sunderland’s position and the other line about being at that end of the table and not being able to buy a win. I think it was a mixture of the two yesterday.
MOTM Mark Noble, closely followed by the ever improving Antonio. Payet was nowhere today, hopefully saving it for Tottenham during the week..
Should also be mentioned that this weekend also marks the anniversary of the passing of West Ham’s and arguably England’s most famous player Bobby Moore. There was, as usual, a small impromtu display by the John Lyall gates.