Eagles Soar Above Hammers
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 06 Oct 2019 13:11:00
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The home fans were left frustrated for only the second time this season as West Ham United's unbeaten run since the opening day was ended, thanks to a 2-1 defeat by Crystal Palace in Stratford in Saturday's late kick-off.

Roberto Jiménez Gago started in goal due to the hip injury that Lukasz Fabianski suffered in last weekend's 2-2 draw at AFC Bournemouth and the one other change that Manuel Pellegrini made was Manuel Lanzini replacing Pablo Fornals in midfield.

For a London derby, it would be fair to say that this game took a while to get going. In fact, there were no real openings until the 29th minute and it was the hosts who clicked into gear first. Sébastien Haller went close but he was denied by a point-blank save from visiting goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

Shortly after, Ryan Fredericks and Felipe Anderson combined to good effect as the defender crossed for the Brazilian but unfortunately he made a hash of the chance, sending a volley over the top before the two linked up well minutes later and this time, Anderson brought a magnificent save out of Guaita from a diving header.

On 36 minutes however, Fredericks was required to do some defensive work and he made an excellent goal-line clearance to prevent Jeffrey Schlupp from putting his side ahead after Wilfried Zaha had shown great skill to set the chance up.

The Eagles kept the pressure on in the closing stages of the half and Jiménez Gago reacted brilliantly to push a fierce James McCarthy shot away from danger.

It was still all to play for as the teams went down the tunnel for the break with the deadlock still to be broken.

The Hammers went ahead in the encounter at The Vitality Stadium last time out and they did the same here with nine second-half minutes gone. Fredericks had put in some great crosses already in this game and he produced again as Haller was on hand to grab the lead for his side as he slid the ball past Guaita.

At this point the Irons looked on course to stretch their unbeaten run to seven matches but on 63 minutes, Roy Hodgson's side were awarded a penalty for handball by Declan Rice. Patrick Van Aanholt stepped up to take it in the absence of regular penalty taker Luka Milivojević and confidently beat Jiménez Gago.

Five minutes later, Pellegrini decided to make his first change as he replaced Lanzini with Fornals.

It was noticeable that the equaliser had really taken the wind out of West Ham's sails and mindful of this, Pellegrini waited a further ten minutes before introducing Jack Wilshire for Andriy Yarmolenko.

Matters still hadn't improved by the time the manager decided to make his final change and Pablo Zabaleta had replaced Aaron Cresswell.

Then, the Eagles grabbed all three points as a West Ham attack broke down and Fredericks conceded a free-kick for a foul on Zaha for which he was subsequently booked. Gary Cahill headed the set-piece on and found Jordan Ayew, who was in the right place to prod the ball past Jiménez Gago but it was ruled out as the flag was raised for offside.

However, that wasn't the end of the drama as the decision was checked by VAR and as it was against the Cherries, the decision was overturned meaning that the Hammers had lost the match after going in front.

They now have a fortnight to get over this disappointment and they will be looking to get back on track when they head to Goodison Park to face Everton in the early kick-off on 19 October.

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