The Premier League weekend kicked off on Friday night, under the lights in the sold-out London Stadium, where West Ham took on Brighton in a game where both teams were hoping to come away with a positive result.
The game started off brightly with both teams looking to go forward early on, yet it was Brighton who broke the deadlock early into the first half just ten minutes in. It came from a free-kick floated in by the Pascal Gross which was met by Glenn Murray, who simply guided his header past Joe Hart.Embed from Getty Images
Neither Pedro Obiang nor Michail Antonio, the two closest West Ham players, had tracked the forward and the visitors were in front. Winston Reid threw up his hands in disbelief.
This was Murray’s first Premier League goal since he famously scored the winning goal for Bournemouth in against Chelsea way back in December 2015.
The goal was certainly a heavy set-back for the Hammers, yet for the remainder of the half they applied good pressure on the Brighton defence, as Chris Hughton’s team were happy to sit back and try and defend their lead. Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy were superb in the centre of defence, with block after block denying West Ham an equaliser.
Yet for all that pressure on the stroke of half-time Brighton had doubled their lead. It came after Murray was initially put through on goal, yet Hart forced his fierce shot away. From that chance, the ball was played into Jose Izqueirdo who was Brighton’s new record signing. He went past Obiang with ease, and smashed the ball towards the top corner.
Hart was able to get a strong hand to it, but was unable to keep it out. This error no doubt will lead people to question whether he should still remain as England’s number one choice in goal.
Slaven Bilic in order to try to rectify the situation brought on Andre Ayew at half time, to try and add more attacking threat to his team. Yet in reality throughout the whole of the second half West Ham lacked structure, and Brighton remained composed, and looked increasingly dangerous on the counter attack.
The final nail in the coffin for West Ham came just a minute after their record signing Marko Arnautovic was jeered off the pitch, after a truly embarrassing performance. It all started with a sublime run by Anthony Knockaert, who played Murray through on goal, only to be denied by Hart for the second time in the game. He would be given another shot at redemption however when he was brought down by Zabaleta in the area. Murray converted from the spot to send the Brighton fans wild, and to send the majority of home supporters on their way out of the ground.
The game finished 3-0 to Brighton, in what is an exceptional result for them, and it moves them up into 10th place. Yet what will the future hold for Bilic, will he see out the rest of his contract as David Sullivan claims? There is no doubt that the pressure is mounting on him, to get results, and take West Ham out of this current crisis which leaves them just 17th in the league table.
Written by James Becker.