Hammers on Fire Against Burnley
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 04 Nov 2018 14:41:00
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West Ham United were winless in October but their start to November couldn't have gone any better. They picked up their third win of the season by beating Burnley 4-2 in Stratford on Saturday afternoon, which lifted them up to thirteenth in the Premier League table.

Pablo Zabaleta captained the Hammers in the absence of the suspended Mark Noble in a side that showed four changes from the teams' last league outing at Leicester City. Aaron Cresswell passed a fitness test after suffering with a groin problem and was preferred to Arthur Masuaku who dropped to the bench. 

Pedro Obiang was brought back into the starting line-up to replace the regular skipper, while Marko Arnautovic had recovered from a virus to take the place of Javier Hernández, who was also amongst the substitutes.

With the Clarets having conceded four goals in their home encounter with Chelsea last weekend, The Irons went in search of an early goal and found it when a terrible mistake from James Tarkowski was pounced on by Arnautovic who confidently slotted the ball past former West Ham loanee Joe Hart to send three sides of the stadium wild.

Ten minutes had passed before another chance came the way of the hosts. The star man was this time set up by Felipe Anderson but he was denied a second as Hart produced a brilliant block to send the ball out of play for a corner. Unfortunately the set-piece came to nothing as the attack broke down.

The roles were reversed when Arnautovic and Anderson combined again. The Brazilian's shot was heading for the back of the net but Ben Mee managed to head off the line.

West Ham thought they were denied a certain penalty when Steven Defour brought down Grady Diangana. The home faithful were stunned when referee Roger East gave nothing. This gave the visitors impetus and they somehow found an equaliser just before the break.

A header from Issa Diop was intercepted by Ashley Westwood and his through ball was picked up by Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson who saw Lukasz Fabianski off his line and he made no mistake, as he finished accurately.

Whilst the home fans would have been disappointed with the fact that their lead had disappeared, they didn't seem too unhappy with the team's performance as East blew the half-time whistle.

Manuel Pellegrini's men again made a good start to the second-half and went close when Robert Snodgrass tested Hart but he was able to deal with the effort. 

Soon after, he made another brilliant save when Arnautovic tried his luck from distance.

Sean Dyche's side were doing everything they could to slow the tempo of the game down but the Hammers were intent on re-establishing their lead.

In an effort to make this happen, Pellegrini made his first change as Hernández took the place of Obiang just after the hour mark.

The Hammers piled on the pressure and their second goal eventually arrived on 68 minutes.

Diangana linked up well with Anderson who evaded challenge of Tarkowski and cleverly placed the ball into the back of the net through Hart's legs.

Burnley weren't going to give up without a fight however and pegged their opponents back again with just over thirteen minutes to play.

Substitute Robbie Brady who had just entered the fray in place of Aaron Lennon, delivered a corner which was met by the head of fellow substitute Chris Wood to level matters once again.

It was evident that West Ham deserved to win this game and from then on they took complete control.

They went in front for the third time in the match when Anderson claimed his second of the afternoon when the ball fell kindly to him following Arnautovic's blocked attempt and the effort deflected past Hart who didn't even move.

Pellegrini made his second change of the match when he decided to rest Diangana and bring on Michail Antonio and minutes later, a final substitution was introduced, as Angelo Ogbonna came on for Arnautovic.

Just as the game entered the five minutes of stoppage time that were added, Hernández wrapped up the points after being set up by both Anderson and Antonio to end a miserable afternoon for both Hart and Burnley.

The Irons will hope to carry the momentum gained from this match into next Saturday's clash with Huddersfield Town at The John Smith's Stadium.

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