Match report: West Ham 0-1 Wolves

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Wolves earned a deserved three points with a 93rd minute winner at London Stadium, keeping West Ham bottom and pointless.

New signing Adama Traoré came off the bench after sixty-two minutes, and ended up making the difference as he fired past Lukasz Fabianski a minute from time. The 22 year-old Spaniard joined Wolves from Championship side Middlesbrough this month for a club record fee, and has settled into the Premier League very well. Traoré’s strike secured Wolves’ first win of the league season, after two draws and a loss in August.

The loss was devastating for the home side. A fourth loss from four league games means that West Ham sit 20th in the Premier League table without a point, the only side in the league to be in that position. Manuel Pelligrini’s second spell in the Premier League couldn’t have started any worse, yet that seems very peculiar for him; the Chilean won the title at his first attempt in 2014 with Manchester City.

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The match-winning moment: Adama Traoré fires home to secure three points. (Wolves)

Both teams had strong looking line-ups, bolstered by big signings like Jack Wilshere and Felipe Anderson for West Ham and Rui Patrício and João Moutinho for Wolves. West Ham and Wolves had both been praised by many (including myself) for making big profile moves during the summer transfer window, massively strengthening their squads for the new Premier League season.

The story of the game was wastefulness. Both teams squandered dozens of chances throughout the ninety minutes, and by the hour mark it seemed that neither side would break the deadlock. Chance after chance was wasted at London Stadium, with a mix of poor finishing and great saves from both Fabiański and Patrício keeping the game at stalemate.

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Adama Traoré celebrating his winner. (Wolves)

 

There was clearly more frustration for West Ham throughout the ninety minutes. I was sitting with the home fans, and every minute there were disgruntled groans, shouts and screams of anger from what the 59,000 strong crowd were watching. West Ham were very sloppy all game. The ball was carelessly lost all the time, there was no movement and most players didn’t seem like they were trying.

There was one passage of play from West Ham, which I think epitomised the home side’s game. In the dying minutes of the game when the score was still tied at 0-0, the ball was turned back over to goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański. He instantly threw it out to Felipe Anderson in an attempt to start a counter attack against Wolves. Anderson broke and pushed up, but eight West Ham players just slowly walked out of their box, which they were defending.

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The view from my seat in London Stadium, just minutes before kick-off.

The fans were furious, urging the players to push for a winner. But the West Ham players weren’t interested, not even attempting to bust a gut to nab the winner. The attack only involved Anderson and today’s captain Marko Arnautović, and despite the quality of the two players they couldn’t do anything, as the attack broke down. Minutes later, Wolves stole three points with the winner.

That mentality summed up West Ham’s game. Negativity, pessimistic play, lack of desire. If they continue to play like this, then there is no doubt that they will be playing Championship football next season. Pelligrini needs to change something at the club, and if not then the board need to make a decision.

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Today’s captain Marko Arnautović looking dejected after the full-time whistle. (West Ham United)

“That mentality summed up West Ham’s game. Negativity, pessimistic play, lack of desire. If they continue to play like this, then there is no doubt that they will be playing Championship football next season.”

This was the first ever football match for both of my cousins, who had come from Bristol for the weekend. I chose this game because I thought it could be a cracker, but unfortunately it didn’t live up to my 3-3 pre-match prediction. There could’ve been a six-goal thriller, where it not for chance after chance being wasted from both sides.

What next?

Wolves are looking to continue their momentum from today’s win to their home game against Burnley, which comes after the first international break of the season. This is followed by a tricky test; a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United.

West Ham have a very tough test when they return from the international break. The Hammers will face three tough challenges; a visit to Everton at Goodison Park, before two back-to-back home fixtures against Chelsea and Manchester United. This is a tough run of fixtures for any team, but it becomes even harder for a team without a point, sitting rock bottom of the table.

The reverse fixture between the two sides is due to take place in the New Year on 29 January at Molinuex. At this stage of the season, it could just be early day blues for West Ham, but we will know for sure how their form continues when the two teams meet again in four months.

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