Wolves Pounce On Pointless Hammers
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 02 Sep 2018 13:17:00
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West Ham United didn't have the best of records when facing the newly-promoted teams last season and that record wasn't improved when the Hammers came up against last season's Sky Bet Championship winners Wolverhampton Wanderers to start September. Nuno Espírito Santo's men took all three points away from Stratford by claiming a late 1-0 victory.

Despite conflicting reports over the fitness of  Marko Arnautovic, the Austrian did make the starting line-up, meaning Manuel Pellegrini only had to make one change from the side that was named in last weekend's defeat at Arsenal. Aaron Cresswell made his first start of the season replacing the injured Arthur Masuaku.

The Irons had an early chance to go ahead after only four minutes when Felipe Anderson saw his well-struck shot saved by Rui Patrício. Arnautovic was quick to follow up but unfortunately, his cross was easily cleared.

Shortly after, Lukasz Fabianski was called into action and made an easy save from Matt Doherty.

There was then action at both ends as the visitors saw an effort go over the bar, only for West Ham to break forward seconds later. A great team move was unfortunately ended when Robert Snodgrass saw his shot saved after Cresswell had played him in, following a corner from Michail Antonio.

Antonio had another great chance just before the break when he headed a Ryan Fredericks cross towards goal but the effort went agonisingly wide.

That was the last action of the first-half, as referee Christopher Kavanagh blew his whistle with the deadlock yet to be broken.

West Ham were still without a point going into this fixture, whilst the visitors were looking for their first win of the campaign.

An early change was made by Pellegrini in the second-half, as Andriy Yarmolenko replaced Snodgrass.

The hosts had another great chance to grab the advantage on 50 minutes when Fabián Balbuena won a free header but couldn't make the most of the opportunity as he sent the ball inches wide.

No matter how hard the Hammers tried, nothing was coming off for them. Moments later, a great team move involving Jack Wilshire, Yarmolenko and Antonio came to a disappointing end as the former Nottingham Forest man had his header punched away by Patrício.

Another change was made for the home side on 64 minutes as Pedro Obiang came on for Wilshire.

Although the Irons began to take control of proceedings, Wolves weren't out of it by any stretch of the imagination. They went close on two occasions but Fabianski kept his team in the contest by preventing Raúl Jiménez from scoring.

The end to end nature of the game showed no sign of letting up, as Obiang's ambitious shot from distance went just wide, while up the other end, Jiménez found himself in a fantastic position but was unable to release the ball quickly enough before it was cleared.

Pellegrini made a final change on 75 minutes, as Antonio made way for Javier Hernández.

The Mexican was able to set up the home side's best chance, as he combined well with Arnautovic and the former Stoke City man darted past Connor Coady but his effort was somehow saved by Patrício.

West Ham looked as though they would get their season up and running; four minutes of stoppage time were signalled but, with seconds to go, there was late drama.

Carlos Sánchez was robbed of possession by Rúben Neves, who then found Ruben Vinagre and he finally set up Adama Traoré who piled on the misery for Pellegrini's team. Fabianski was finally beaten, leaving the home fans stunned and once again, boos could be heard at the final whistle.

With international fixtures taking place next weekend, the Irons have to wait until 16 September when another tough test awaits them away at Everton.

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