Ruthless Hammers Sink Canaries
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 01 Sep 2019 12:56:00
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At this stage last season, West Ham United went into the international break yet to register a single point. However, this time around it's been a different story as they have accrued seven points in August, ending it with a 2-0 victory against newly-promoted Norwich City in Stratford on Saturday afternoon.

Manuel Pellegrini named an unchanged side from the one that faced Watford seven days ago. Jack Wilshire again didn't make the matchday eighteen, while Robert Snodgrass and Pablo Fornals reverted to the bench after both started in the Carabao Cup second round win at Newport County on Tuesday night.

Both teams were clearly sizing each other up in the early stages as the Hammers were keen to bounce back in front of their own supporters after the 5-0 demolition by Manchester City on the opening weekend, while the Canaries were keen to get their first away success since securing promotion.

It was the hosts who fashioned the first chance with sixteen minutes gone. A great team move involving Sébastien Haller, Manuel Lanzini and Felipe Anderson was halted when Christoph Zimmermann blocked the Brazilian off, as he was just about to get his shot away.

The home side were exuding confidence after three wins in a week in all competitions and they were in no mood to let their levels drop, on twenty four minutes they went in front as Arthur Masuaku raced past Zimmermann and crossed low for Haller to add to his brace against the Hornets last weekend when he slid the ball past a helpless Tim Krul, sending the home faithful wild.

Norwich Head-Coach Daniel Farke should have seen his side level the match minutes later but Todd Cantwell somehow contrived to miss from a yard out after being set up by Max Aarons.

Lukasz Fabianski was then called into action but he made an easy save from Moritz Leitner's effort, as it was fired straight at him.

Three minutes of stoppage time were successfully negotiated at the end of the first-half and the home side went into the break with their slender advantage still intact and looking pretty comfortable.

Andriy Yarmolenko obviously showed enough promise last weekend for Pellegrini to keep him in the side for this encounter. Shortly after the restart, he nearly increased their advantage with a left-foot volley but unfortunately for the Irons, it came back off the post.

Minutes later however, he was on the scoresheet, as he was in the right place to receive Mark Noble's perfectly weighted ball to score his first goal in front of the home fans since making the move to East London last summer.

The Hammers had dominated for large parts of this game and were still showing real intent when coming forward. On 69 minutes Issa Diop almost added a third when he met Lanzini's corner but his header was cleared off the line.

Although Anderson appeared to be struggling with a shoulder problem, it was Yarmolenko who was replaced by Snodgrass on 71 minutes, as Pellegrini made his first change.

It was testament to the Norwich stopper that the East Londoners didn't have a third, despite going close on a number of occasions but the Dutchman produced heroics to keep out Anderson, Haller and Snodgrass.

West Ham thought they should have been awarded a penalty on 83 minutes. Haller was brought down by Tom Trybull when through on goal. Referee Paul Tierney waved the appeals away and it wasn't even reviewed by VAR.

On 85 minutes, with the points still looking safe, a second change was made with the skipper making way for Carlos Sánchez and three minutes later, Fornals took the place of Anderson.

When Tierney blew the final whistle, there were celebrations from the home faithful as the Hammers had picked up back-to-back Premier League triumphs and moved up to fifth in the table.

It's another newly-promoted side up next, as they travel to Villa Park to face play-off winners Aston Villa on 16 September.

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