Hammers Fail to Ignite at Burnley
By Tom Dowsett
Saturday 09 Nov 2019 22:43:00
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West Ham United go into the next international break having only picked up one point since the previous one after a 3-0 defeat at Burnley on Saturday afternoon.

Manuel Pellegrini had stuck with the same side that played Sheffield United for last week's encounter at home to Newcastle United a week ago. Today, he made two changes as Ryan Fredericks came in for Pablo Zabaleta after making a significant impact when he was introduced from the bench last weekend, while Andriy Yarmolenko was dropped to the bench in favour of Pablo Fornals.

The Hammers produced a wretched performance at Everton in their last away game and it wasn't much better here as Burnley wanted to make amends for their 3-0 defeat against newly-promoted Sheffield United last time out. They set about doing exactly that when they went ahead after just eleven minutes.

A corner was given the way of the hosts despite Chris Wood getting the final touch. Nevertheless it was sent over by Ashley Westwood for James Tarkowski to head on and the ball dropped perfectly for Ashley Barnes to knock past Roberto Jiménez Gago.

As if falling behind wasn't bad enough for Pellegrini he then suffered a massive blow nine minutes later when Mark Noble's afternoon was ended after he twisted his ankle. Aaron Cresswell was given the captaincy and the regular skipper was replaced by Yarmolenko.

Even though Sean Dyche's men were putting their opponents under pressure, the East Londoners were relieved to see a goal from Wood be ruled out by VAR for offside. That being said, it was marginal but the decision was correct.

West Ham were the masters of their own downfall just before the break as Wood eventually got his name on the scoresheet. Jiménez Gago looked to set his side away but his poor throw put Fabián Balbuena under presure. The error proved costly as Dwight McNeil pounced, dispossessed Balbuena and flew down the left wing to cross for the New Zealander to finish past the visiting goalkeeper.

Referee Kevin Friend brought the first-half to a close and the way things were going, it looked as if the Hammers would once again end up with nothing.

Whatever Pellegrini said to his side during the break must have worked as there was a definite change in tempo from the visitors when the action restarted.

Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, who was virtually a spectator in the first period, was given work to do at the start of the second-half. He was equal to efforts that were sent his way by Yarmolenko and Sébastien Haller but hope of a comeback from the East Londoners this week soon evaporated after the Clarets made it three on 54 minutes. 

Jiménez Gago, who was at fault for two of the three goals last Saturday, didn't exactly cover himself in glory here either, as he attempted to punch another Westwood corner clear of danger but he only succeeded in finding his own net.

Pellegrini then reacted and made his second change two minutes later when he introduced Manuel Lanzini in place of Felipe Anderson.

An exceptionally good save by the Spaniard from Phil Bardsley, together with a disallowed effort prevented the hosts from making it four.

The manager made use of his final substitution on 73 minutes, as Fornals was withdrawn for Albian Ajeti.

The home side tested the stand-in goalkeeper again but the travelling support were now seeing the better side of his game as he managed to get a touch to Jeff Hendrick's effort on its way over the bar.

Pellegrini will have wished he'd saved his last change as a needless trip from Westwood on Lanzini saw the Argentinian fall awkwardly and dislocate his shoulder, meaning he had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. This left West Ham having to play the final minute plus the five that were added for further stoppages with ten men.

Two injuries to key players and another three goals conceded, culminated in another bad afternoon for the Hammers.

Premier League action takes a break for the next fortnight due to international fixtures. Although Pellegrini will most likely be without Lanzini and Noble, he will hope to receive a double boost for the visit of fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur to Stratford for the early kick-off on 23 November. Both Winston Reid and Michail Antonio should be in contention to return from long-term injuries.

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