David Hautzig's Match Report

Tottenham 0, West Ham 1. Early Bird Special.

Because of where I am from, the many traditions associated with English football don’t mean as much to me as those of you who grew up with it. Saturday 3pm kickoffs, for example, don’t hold any weight for me. But today I would have given up a lot for it. I was shockingly jet lagged from my return on Thursday, and my eyes opened minutes before the start of the match. With one point from our previous matches away from home, sleep might have been the better choice. Not today it turned out.

West Ham started brightly, with Anderson making a good run down the left before the ball eventually made its way to Rice near the top of the Spurs eighteen yard box. His shot was quick but over the bar. The Hammers continued to press, playing the type of football we have rarely seen in the opening moments of a match.

Fabianski will be Hammer Of The Year. Of that I have no doubt. He has made more saves than any keeper in the league. Which is awful news. We clearly still have issues at the back, and if it weren’t for our new keepers heroics we would be a typical West Ham team with a goal differential of -87 or something. The 11th minute gave us yet another example of why the Polish international has been so important when Son was sent in by Alli with a terrific through ball, but Fabianski was up to the task. Minutes later Diop blocked what would have been a dangerous shot from Alli in the box.

Marko Arnautovic has clearly not been himself since January when the China affair dominated Hammer fans everywhere. But some have argued, Nigel Kahn included, that Marko has not gotten any service. That argument was indisputable in the 19th minute when Anderson broke down the left. Had he been a botanist the run would have been impressive because he stared at nothing but the grass the whole time. Had he looked up, he would have seen Arnautovic all alone at the penalty spot. Instead he rolled a useless low shot right at Lloris. Marko was livid, and rightly so.

As the first half progressed, the tone became clear. Spurs would press, West Ham would hold on and hope for a chance to hit them on the break. Strategically it made sense. Practically it was nerve wracking.

Fabianski was again called to the rescue in the 36th minute when a deflected clearance off the foot of Antonio came back to Eriksen right in front of the West Ham keeper. Masuaku had assumed the ball was on its way down the pitch and thus played the Spurs straggler onside. Fabianski went down and smothered the shot.

The first half could have ended on a high note for West Ham when Anderson let loose with a hard shot from 25 yards out. It took a deflection off the derrière of Davies and Lloris had to adjust. Maybe if it had hit the other cheek it would have gone in. We will never know.

Halftime
Tottenham 0
West Ham 0

The Hammers started the second half well, winning two corners in quick succession after good balls into Arnautovic. Unfortunately neither delivery did much to trouble the home side, but it was a good sign to start the second forty five in their half. Minutes later, Arnautovic showed great skill in harnessing a long ball from Fabianski and then getting off a low shot that Lloris handled rather easily. But it showed that if he can get his Austrian head screwed back on straight he might get back to where we know he can be.

Spurs were awarded a free kick from 25 yards out in the 59th minute, and with Eriksen stepping over the ball it was not inappropriate for West Ham hearts to pause. The wall did its job, and West Ham were able to break. Antonio did what he always does, ran like a freight train with no breaks. The ball went to Anderson, pretty much by chance, but his shot was deflected out for a corner. Spurs cleared the set piece, but with half an hour left we were still in it.

A lot was made before the match that Spurs had not conceded a single goal at their new stadium. West Ham made that fact a piece of history when Rice fed Arnautovic on the right side. Antonio began a run into the box, and Marko looped a pass over the Spurs defense to Antonio in the box. Antonio did very well to chest the ball down and set himself for a hard shot that flew last Lloris and into the back of the net.

Embed from Getty Images

Tottenham 0
West Ham 1

Spurs had a great chance to level the score in the 73rd minute when Alli sent a through ball into the box that Davies ran onto, but Fredericks made an excellent tackle to break up the run and allow Fabianski to smother the ball.

After a decent spell on the ball, West Ham gave themselves a chance to double their lead when Arnautovic tried a curling shot from the left side of the Spurs eighteen yard box. Lloris had to dive to his left to make the stop. Moments later a long diagonal ball from Diop found Antonio on the run. He used his speed to break in alone on Lloris and force the save.

When Diop began his run in the 86th minute, you kept waiting for him to pass. He didn’t. His shot came off the side of his foot and dribbled towards Lloris. He could have let it roll wide, but he made sure and pushed it out for a corner. Masuaku had his own break on the left but his ball into the center of the box found nobody in Claret & Blue.

Antonio had yet another chance to put the game away in the 89th minute when he drove in on goal, but one too many touches gave Sanchez the chance to catch him and clear the ball from danger.

Spurs pressed for an equalizer, and in the 94th minute it looked like they had it. And you know, in other years it would have happened. But for reasons I almost cannot fathom, Balbuena was there to clear that shot off the line.

Embed from Getty Images

Final Score
Tottenham 0
West Ham 1

At the end of the match, so many questions went through my mind. Would The Avengers use time travel to defeat Thanos? And if they did, would everyone come back? Will Captain Marvel be a good member of the team? Will she date Thor? Oh. Yeah. I’m on my way to see Endgame now. West Ham’s Endgame is yet to be deciphered.

But today was awesome just the same.


David Hautzig's Match Report

Manchester United 2, West Ham 1. The Better Team Lost.

Why today?

Why couldn’t this have happened against Cardiff? Or Everton? Or any number of days West Ham simply decided not to play football? The “this” I am referring to is the knob and lock on the main door in and and out of my house basically blew up half an hour before kickoff. The knob would turn, but whatever the part that goes in and out of the door frame did not move. The mechanism split in half. So off to the hardware store I went. Removing the old knob and lock was the hard part. It took most of the first half because I had to basically remove it bit by bit in order to get a screwdriver in there to pry it open and take it all out. The installation of the new one was a matter of minutes. Yeah, I put the outside knob on upside down but it still works. No way I was going to take it off and start again. Job done in my opinion.

The point of all of this is that my report today will be short, and virtually empty of details. Just some observations, made mostly from my knees, hands covered in grease and a few metal shards, and reading glasses on to see what I was doing.

The first forty-five minutes broke down into two major talking points. First, Anderson was onside and the goal should have counted. Second, the first penalty was quite soft. It also made me think of something I heard my friend and now fellow WHTID writer Nigel Kahn say a few weeks ago on Moore Than Just A Podcast. Whatever happened to the indirect free kick awarded for fouls in the box that weren’t necessarily actual goal scoring opportunities? The foul occurred on the edge of the area, and I for one don’t think it denied even a good shot let alone a likely goal.

Embed from Getty Images

West Ham clearly saw the left side as a place to attack, and for the majority of the match the visitors were on the front foot and the home side was on their heels. Anderson’s equalizer came from such a missive. One of the NBC announcers said they don’t see us every week, yet they were sure we had not played this well all the time because if we had we would be top four. That’s how good we looked to people that don’t give a damn about us. We pressed them all over the pitch, Rice looked like he would be ready for Barcelona by Thursday, and we won double digit corners.

Embed from Getty Images

When Antonio came on for Chicharito, I was surprised. Hernandez looked annoyed. Yet a thundering shot off the crossbar and a ridiculous save by daGea to deny Antonio of not one but two goals were ample evidence for Pellegrini to defend the move.

Embed from Getty Images

The second penalty was undeniable. Stone cold. It just hurt because we looked far more likely to win than they did when it happened.

I feel like a parent who knows what their kids are capable of when they apply themselves, and the frustration caused by the simple lack of consistent effort. How many of you were as satisfied after the 0-4 loss at home to Manchester City than the 4-3 win over Huddersfield? Possibly more so? Gentlemen, if you are unable to extricate this inconsistency out of the DNA of our club, then I doubt I will ever see it happen in my lifetime. In the meantime, I fly over Thursday for a week that will include the huuuuuge carpet laying celebration against Leicester City. I’m 0-4 at the running track. My stadium ban, as imposed by block 214, has been lifted for next Saturday.

Just make me happy I showed up.


David Hautzig's Match Report

West Ham 0, Everton 2. Forget Europe, Folks.

I feel like Pacino in Godfather III. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back. I don’t mean that literally. What I mean is that I was pretty comfortable just mailing in the rest of the season. Then results went our way in the earlier matches, making a ceremonial stay in seventh place possible with a win. Personally, I think seventh would be a poisoned chalice. We are nowhere near deep enough to compete in Europe, and there is zero chance the board would sanction the kind of money needed to add that depth. So when a nice, calm afternoon watching football before a family function tonight was the plan…..well…..yeah. In the end, doing laundry would have been more fun.

When Everton paid fifty million pounds for Richarlison, many eyebrows were raised. But the reality was that he found terrific form playing under Marco Silva at Watford, so perhaps he could do the same at Everton. In the fifth minute, the Brazilian made a run down the right and won a corner. Considering how mediocre West Ham have been all season on set pieces there was reason for concern. Those reasons were realized when Zouma went over a static Diop and headed the set piece into the corner of the net. Huddersfield exposed us on corners, and Everton continued the trend.

Embed from Getty Images

West Ham 0
Everton 1

Minutes later the Toffees won another corner when Obiang broke up another Everton. West Ham handled it, kind of, but it didn’t take long for Everton to roar forward ahead with one time supposed West Ham target Bernard cutting to his right in the box. His shot was blocked by Ogbonna, but the respite was short. Gueye won the visitors their third corner in the opening ten minutes when Ogbonna again was forced to put an attempted pass in the box behind the line.

It looked like a Premier League side against a League Two outfit as Fabianski was forced into so many saves inside of a minute it was hard to keep track. The third one came after a simple throw in by Everton turned into a cross by Richarlison that Fabianski had to dive out and punch away from Calvert-Lewin. Inside of fifteen minutes every aspect of West Ham was questionable. The choice of the starting eleven, the formation, the preparation. It was ugly.

Years ago, when football was new to American television, games were regularly interrupted by commercials. I thought we were over that. Nope. Someone at NBC pushed a button to show me a chicken basket from Dairy Queen. In fact, they were so impressed with this bit of poultry they showed the commercial twice.

When regularly scheduled programming returned I saw Lanzini have a chance at the top of the box after a pass from Zabaleta. He should have hit it right away. He didn’t, and the opportunity was squashed.

West Ham grew into a the match as the half carried on. Not by much. Metaphorically they moved up to League One. Arnautovic did his best to create a chance or two, but nothing that impressive. The only “victory” up until that point was that West Ham only trailed by one. By minute 33, however, even that victory was gone when Coleman broke down the right and centered the ball for Bernard streaking into the box and an easy tap in. Everton were better in every aspect, and West Ham looked completely out of their depth.

Embed from Getty Images

West Ham 0
Everton 2

West Ham finally had a shot in the 41st minute when Snodgrass tried a long range effort that rolled harmlessly wide. In the words of Forest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.

West Ham finished the first half with two corners. The first one was cleared by Keane, the second by Richarlison. The boos rang out as the whistle blew.

Halftime
West Ham 0
Everton 2

It was a virtual certainty that Pelle would make changes at halftime, and that’s exactly what he did. Perez and Obiang made way for Chicharito and Antonio. They were clearly attacking changes, and while he had to it also meant West Ham would be even more exposed to counter attacks.

In the 54th minute, Arnautovic tried to help out defensively but lost the ball under pressure from Coleman and conceded a corner. The home side dealt with it, only to have Keane win another one after his shot was deflected out. Ogbonna rose high enough to head that delivery away from danger. It was telling that West Ham’s best ten minute spell of the match was adjudged to be so because we weren’t utterly man handled. Small victories, I guess.

Everton would have made it three had it not been for a defensive header by Cresswell. Bernard completely fooled Lanzini on the left side of the West Ham eighteen yard box before putting a cross into the box. Richarlison attacked the ball and likely thought it was going to be another goal. Cresswell got to the ball right before Richarlison and nudged it away.

Everton had another opportunity to make it three in the 72nd minute when Sigurdsson fed Calvert-Lewin in the West Ham box. The striker cut to his left but his low shot went wide. Minutes later Keane rolled a through ball to him down the right, and he timed his run perfectly. However his drive went over the bar. Even without scoring, Calvert-Lewin was a handful all day long.

The final minutes of the match ticked away, with Everton closing out their first win in London in two years. West Ham didn’t create a single chance in the second half, and Everton should have added to their goal differential when Richarlison had a free header off a set piece that clanged off the bar. The away supporters were loud and raucous. They deserved to be.

I was spared the final few minutes when NBC again cut to commercials for a credit card website and a home gym machine.

Final Score
West Ham 0
Everton 2

Embed from Getty Images

Some losses are attributed to bad days at the office. Others to questionable decisions by the referee. And some to plain bad luck. Today was none of them. The simple, unadulterated truth was that Everton were waaaaaay better than us. In every possible way. The win two weeks ago over now relegated Huddersfield showed that West Ham have too many weaknesses to think any match is a sure fire three points. So instead of dreams, even of the pipe variety, of Europe via seventh place, I think today told us that overall a top ten finish would be a better indication of where we can aspire to be.

The final whistle was a welcome relief.


David Hautzig's Match Report

West Ham 4, Huddersfield 3. When Three Points Isn't Necessarily A Win.

He’s baaaaaaaaack.

Not that anyone was, or should have been, surprised to see Arnautovic back in the starting eleven. Hernandez was given a chance to cement his place and leave Mr. Petulance on the bench. But in last weeks woeful performance in Wales the attack looked incrementally better when Arnautovic and Antonio were on the pitch. With a Huddersfield side that has lost 22 times this season, three points was expected. But the Hammers had yet to win three in a row at The London Stadium, and with our DNA and inconsistency it would have been folly to expect those points. In the end, we got the three points in the most bizarre circumstances, and the win did nothing to alter any concerns over our up and down nature.

The first “opportunity” of the day came in minute three, when Huddersfield won a corner after a good spell of possession in midfield. The ball was delivered into a dangerous area in the box, but nobody in blue stripes was there to get to it. Four minutes later, Rice got forward and looped a cross into the box. It took a deflection before it reached Antonio, and without that he may have scored. Instead it went off the bar.

West Ham remained on the front foot, and in the 13th minute Lanzini was brought down inside the box by youngster Aaron Rowe for a stonewall penalty. Noble took care of the rest.

Embed from Getty Images

West Ham 1
Huddersfield 0

The lead was stunningly short lived, however. Huddersfield won a corner minutes later, and Mooy whipped it into the box. Nobody, and I mean nobody, marked Bacuna. It was shambolic defending on a set piece. Again.

Embed from Getty Images

West Ham 1
Huddersfield 1

The home side tried to shift into a higher gear after the embarrassing equalizer. There was lots of movement in and around the Terriers eighteen yard box, but it took until the 23rd minute for Antonio to turn those efforts into an actual question when he tried a curling effort from 20 yards out that went about a foot over the bar. For Antonio, only a foot over the bar on a long range shot is noteworthy.

Midway through the opening half, the word that came to my mind was “stale”. West Ham looked stale. There was no energy, and virtually nobody looked even remotely disappointed when a pass went wrong or a run was stopped. A little arm waving, and that was that.

It came to a head in the 30th minute. In a season where Huddersfield could barely score a goal at all, they scored a second in the first half. After a foul on Mooy, the set piece was rolled down the left to Lowe. He rolled a low ball into the box, and with the help of a little luck it made its way through to Grant who slotted it home.

West Ham 1
Huddersfield 2

It very easily could have been three moments later when a high ball into the West Ham area completely fooled Fabianski, which hasn’t happened all year. It bounced over his head and towards goal, but thankfully it was Ogbonna and not a Huddersfield player who was there to meet it. Later in the first half, they had a two on one with Pritchard and Mooy, but Zabaleta was able to break up the play. The natives were getting restless, and it was hard to blame them.

Halftime
West Ham 1
Huddersfield 2

The second half started with one change. Antonio was shown a seat, and Chicharito was asked to kick it up a notch.

In the 48th minute Arnautovic and Hernandez tried to combine in the Huddersfield area. Lossl came out to meet the ball, albeit not too powerfully. On another day the ball might have bounced free for Lil Pea.

In the 54th minute, West Ham were yet again caught napping and Huddersfield broke on the counter. Bacuna got the ball 30 yards out, and with nobody in the box he let it fly. It probably would have gone wide, but Fabianski took no chances and pushed it out for a corner. The marking on the set piece was utterly awful again, and a better ball in would have probably made it three for the visitors.

As the game hit the hour mark, the idea of a draw being the best we could hope for was firmly in my mind. Which was both depressing and infuriating in equal measure. Ridiculous chips into the arms of the goalkeeper, a soft shot inside the box, balls being sprayed around midfield, and disarray at the back. The talent on West Ham is beyond dispute. The attitude is sometimes beyond belief.

The shock of the day went from bad to truly surreal when Grant broke in on goal after a sloppy slide tackle by Ogbonna at midfield, ran at goal, moved a bit to his right, and fired a rifle past Fabianski. It was the first time all season Huddersfield had scored three goals in a match.

Embed from Getty Images

West Ham 1
Huddersfield 3

Off went Arnautovic. He went right down the tunnel, with barely a look at a teammate or his manager. I said it in January. If there was an offer from China, we should have taken it. Because now we may be stuck with the Dr. Hyde aspect of Arnie, and nobody will pay anything for a guy like that who no longer scores goals.

On came Perez. Yeah. That guy. He’s still on West Ham. There were boos all around. Tony Gale called the West Ham performance appalling. Not that I would argue with Tony Gale. On a set piece in the 70th minute Mooy put a ball into the box and Stankovic didn’t have to do a lot to beat both Diop and Ogbonna, but his header went wide. It was the kind of moment that I would have liked to turn the match off and probably ignore the whole sport for about a month.

West Ham won a corner in the 75th minute. The ball into the box went in between the two Huddersfield defenders and Ogbonna was there to partially atone for his pathetic day with a header that just went over the line.

Embed from Getty Images

West Ham 2
Huddersfield 3

I wanted to feel excited about a possible comeback, and even when Hernandez snuck behind the Huddersfield defense and got on the end of a long cross from Nasri to draw us level, I was still annoyed we had to deal with a comeback at all. Pretty immature of me, I know.

Embed from Getty Images

West Ham 3
Huddersfield 3

The visitors won a corner in the 89th minute, and based on West Ham’s dismal play on set pieces there was reason for anxiety. The Hammers cleared the set piece, but what happened next was remarkable. Kongolo had a shot right in front of Fabianski, and somehow Fabianski stopped it. The ball came back out to Puncheon, but his effort went over the bar.

West Ham came back down and won a corner. Cresswell took it short to Anderson. The enigmatic midfielder moved to his right and looped the ball over the defense, and there was Hernandez to guide a header behind Lossl.

Embed from Getty Images

Final Score
West Ham 4
Huddersfield 3

The season had a lot of promise after the win over Arsenal. But then came the loss to Wimbledon in the Cup, and it all came unstuck. Pellegrini promised that we would still push on, fight for seventh and a place in Europe, and not fall asleep until May. Well, Manuel. It doesn’t look that way from where I, and many others, sit. To spend the kind of money we have spent, then lose to Cardiff and need three goals in the final fifteen minutes to beat Huddersfield is a clear sign that we have barely inched forward, let alone pushed on.


David Hautzig's Match Report

Cardiff 2, West Ham 0. No Claret, Only Blue.

With relegation all but impossible, and winning anything actually impossible, many have said the season is for all intent and purpose over. While some may not understand this, I find these kinds of matches kind of enjoyable. We have all spent a large chunk of our lives watching West Ham desperately try to avoid relegation. One eye on the screen watching us hold on for a result against Wigan, or Sunderland, or Manchester United, while looking at the results around us on another screen literally every few seconds. To just be able to watch football, at least for the highly pessimistic and fearful of us (images of Dan Silver slouched in his seat, hands in pockets, chin tucked to his chest come to mind) is a treat to me. And I for one sat content on my basement sofa just watching football. I can’t say I enjoyed much of today’s match. But at least the result won’t send me into panic mode.

Like any Warnock team, Cardiff are a threat from set pieces. They had a chance to show that inside of the opening minute when Anderson brought down Murphy on the right side of the West Ham penalty area. The Hammers dealt with the delivery but Cardiff got the ball back into the box. Gunnarsson took a low shot that Fabianski handled. But moments later Murphy was on the run again on the right. His low pass to Hoilett was treated like a piece of radioactive waste by the entire West Ham defense, so Hoilett had pretty much no problem directing the ball into the back of the net.

Embed from Getty Images

Cardiff 1
West Ham 0

Cardiff kept on the front foot, with Niasse making a run on the left in the 7th minute. Diop made a terrific tackle, and West Ham defended the ensuing corner well. But it didn’t stop the pressure from Cardiff, and West Ham were on their heels hoping for the onslaught to stop. The 13th minute could have brought a second from Cardiff when Fabianski raced Niasse to gather the ball in the West Ham eighteen yard box and lost the race. Niasse tried to loop the ball over the West Ham keeper but his touch was too heavy and the ball went way over the bar.

Midway through the first half, I had a dark thought. Anderson hadn’t completed a pass in what seemed like ages. I wondered if it was time to tell him that no, not even his spot is definite. Not that I had any idea who would replace him, mind you. But I definitely thought about it.

The visitors started to look more comfortable on the ball around the half hour mark. They moved the ball side to side while waiting for someone to make a run. In the 31st minute, the most unlikely of candidates to break on goal did just that. Noble ran behind the Cardiff defense and Anderson came inches away from finding him. It did, however, beg the question of whether or not we had the right lineup up front. Those kinds of balls need a target. We had a petulant one on the bench. Time would tell if he made an appearance.

Having only gone into halftime in front one time this season, Cardiff were hell bent on doubling that number. They kept the pressure up, gave West Ham no time on the ball. There was a steel door across the center of the pitch and West Ham couldn’t go through it. The Hammers looked better, especially down the right side, and they managed to win two corners late in the half. Yet neither produced even a shot off target. Snodgrass had a late attempt from outside the box but it sailed high.

Cardiff asked the final question of the match when Murphy tried a curling strike from 25 yards out, but Fabianski was equal to the task.

Halftime
Cardiff City 1
West Ham 0

It’s not like I have any clairvoyance or anything, but when Arnautovic came on for Anderson to start the second half, I gotta say I looked back at what I had written and nodded in agreement.

Cardiff had a set piece from a dangerous position in the 50th minute when Diop was a luck boy not to be booked for a tackle on Hoilett just to the left of the West Ham box. The set piece was handled well, but Cardiff kept the pressure on and were rewarded. Hoilett started with a cross that Murphy headed back across the face of goal where Camarasa was there to force it over the line. There was a question of offside, although Fredericks looked to have played Camarasa onside. There was no question, however, of which side was playing better and deserved the lead.

Embed from Getty Images

Cardiff City 2
West Ham 0

Cardiff should have scored a third in the 57th minute when Niasse went around Diop as if he were a mannequin and was in on goal alone. Yet somehow, someway, he flubbed the shot and sent it wide. And if that wasn’t the chance to put the lights out, moments later Fabianski came up with a tremendous double save on Niasse and Camarasa to keep the game alive. Life support, mind you. But there was a pulse.

Embed from Getty Images

I love Antonio’s enthusiasm and drive. But until they decide to put the goal high up in the lower stands behind the goal, he shouldn’t try any more long range shots.

West Ham had their best chance of the match in the 71st minute when Rice decided to try a low drive from outside the Cardiff eighteen yard box. He beat Etheridge, but the ball bounced off the center of the right post and back out for Cardiff to clear. A few minutes later Arnautovic made a little move to his right and tried to beat Etheridge to the near post but the Cardiff keeper made a good stop. If nothing else, it might have moved Arnie back closer to the starting eleven.

With ten minutes to go, Hoilett did very well to fight off both Fredericks and Snodgrass to win a corner. The delivery came to the shiny head of Gunnarsson but the ball went over the bar. Cardiff kept the ball deep in West Ham territory, and won another free kick in the 84th minute. Hoilett sent a curling ball at goal, and Morrison and Fabianski both went for it. The end result was a high boot and a yellow for the former, and likely bruise for the latter.

West Ham won a corner in the 86th minute when Antonio and Cresswell played an overlapping run that went a bit wonky. The delivery from Nasri wasn’t memorable. Neither were the two throw ins from Antonio moments later. Nor the move in the box from Arnautovic. Or the corner from Snodgrass.

Final Score
Cardiff City 2
West Ham 0

Don’t get me wrong. Cardiff deserved the win. They worked harder, made no defensive blunders, and took their chances. But they didn’t show a lot of quality. This was a side that had conceded five to Watford in their last home game. In other words, even a neutral would probably say West Ham are a better side and had an off day while Cardiff did what was needed to win. The only thing left on my ledger for the morning or early afternoon was deciding what was for lunch.

Grilled Cheese.


Copyright © 2019 Iain Dale Limited. Terms and conditions. Cookies.
Website by Russell Brown.