Premier League
Burnley 3 West Ham United 0

Saturday, 9th November 2019
by Chris Wilkerson

West Ham United went to Turf Moor this weekend and their autumn woes continued to travel with them as they were convincingly beaten by an always comfortable Burnley.

The two teams were both coming off bad defeats the week before, but Burnley never looked a side under any pressure. West Ham never looked a team to change that; a rather gutless Pellegrini side was brushed aside for a 3-0 Burnley win.

Manuel Pellegrini made two changes as Ryan Fredericks returned a week too late and Pablo Fornals came into the starting eleven in a week where his signing has been criticised by his paymasters in the media. Zabaleta and Yarmolenko came out of the side, and Snodgrass went to the right wing in a return to Pellegrini's favoured 4-2-3-1.

That initially seemed to get the increasingly isolated and frustrated figure of Haller some support up top, with Fornals eager to get close to the French striker.

But that soon faded away as Burnley took control of the game, as comfortable passing around West Ham as they were hammering long balls for the ever willing Wood and Barnes to fight for up front.

The general notion of feeding their strikers quickly was contrasting with West Ham's starvation of Haller.

Whilst Burnley took control, it did appear West Ham were up for the fight. That's why they will feel so aggrieved with how the opening goal was allowed.

First a Fredericks header that led to the initial corner where the striker behind him was offside.

From a short corner, the ball was crossed harmlessly to Roberto who opted to punch when under no pressure and only managed to get the ball to the edge of the area. A bad decision.

The ball was returned to goal by a Bardsley shot that Ashley Barnes flicked behind.

His touch went ignored by the officials who gave a corner, a corner that was delivered deep to the back post, headed down by Tarkowski and stabbed into the goal by Barnes.

The West Ham players were rightly livid about two poor decisions by referee and assistant that allowed Burnley chances, especially as VAR apparently wasn't to be used to correct them.

Things never really improved from there.

Noble was forced off with what looked an ankle ligament injury and that saw the introduction of Yarmolenko. That also pushed Snodgrass into the middle, which lost a little bit of discipline as the Scot looked to roam and pressure where Noble usually held his position.

We were then given evidence that VAR is in action at Turf Moor as a very good Chris Wood header from an outstanding Dwight McNeil cross was ruled out as the striker's knee had been seen to be offside.

Teams often show weakness after one of these calls go against them, but West Ham did nothing to test that theory.

Instead, they gave them a second goal. Roberto had time to pick out a man with the ball in his hands. His throw was to Balbuena, who had time but was in between two Burnley players if things went wrong. They did.

Balbuena tried to turn as he took the ball down, but instead presented it to McNeil. The winger stole the ball and continued forward down the left, rolling it across to Chris Wood, who hammered past Roberto for a 2-0 lead a minute before half time.

There had been a litany of sloppy touches, poor decisions and amateurish football that had not been punished. Finally, one was.

It ended the half with Burnley deservedly 2-0 up.

The Hammers came out brightly at the start of the second half, pushing Burnley a little deeper, but the game was soon ended by one of the most embarrassing efforts of goalkeeping the Premier League has ever seen.

A corner was delivered directly to Roberto in goal. His decision was to basically slap the ball away, and the spaghetti hands that allowed Jonjo Shelvey's freekick into the goal last week were in action again.

Rather than pushing it away, Roberto diverted directly behind him and into the goal. He cried foul, but he wasn't even touched as he went to the ball, let alone nudged or pushed. It was pathetic. Ten minutes after half time, the game was truly done.

The rest of the game became an exercise of whether Balbuena and Roberto could gift Burnley any more goals.

Cresswell quickly had a good chance saved by Pope, and Yarmolenko blasted wide one on one late on, but there was very little to add.

Burnley maintained complete control, even with West Ham having 70% possession. What they did with all that control of the ball is hard to say.

They finished with ten men on the pitch too as Lanzini fell badly on his shoulder after a foul. He was stretchered off with oxygen and the squad depth looks further weakened.

It ended 3-0 to Burnley with West Ham again awful.

Pellegrini can look at three goals with individual error, but they produced nothing and were toyed with all afternoon by a Burnley side who had lost three in a row.

West Ham are now winless in seven, with five of those defeats and fixtures against Tottenham and Chelsea after the international break.

The goals were poor ones to concede again, but the worry should be how awful the side are in play. There's little to no threat or tempo, the midfield has no structure and there are some individuals that are not Premier League standard.

A season that once had hope, yet had drifted into one of indifference, is now one that looks destined to be a battle against relegation. If it comes down to fight, it is hard to see any in this side. It's certainly a hard team to like, with so many bad decisions, weak individual performances and now five goals conceded from set pieces in two games.

One way or another, there are expensive decisions coming for the owners. Either a manager on a wildly lucrative contract is going to be paid off or a very expensive winter transfer window is incoming.

(Player ratings to follow)

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Player Ratings

Roberto Jimenez Gago
Not the greatest way to start his West Ham spell. Conceded four, probably could've done a little better with the last.


Ryan Fredericks
Enjoyed a productive opening 45 minutes, making several forays down the wing. A little less efective once City brought their big players on at the break.


Ben Johnson
No notable error. Good to see Pellegrini taking a closer look at his in pre-season.


Issa Diop
One vital error that led to City's third goal, as he conceded possession cheaply and unnecessary. As you might expect from a youngster.


Angelo Ogbonna
Still looking a little clumsy and conceded the penalty that put Manchester City ahead.


Declan Rice
Not involved to any great degree but made several decent interceptions and kept it simple.


Mark Noble
It seems his legs still haven't gone - and he's looking like a leader in every game.


Felipe Anderson
A decent half from the Brazilian winger, who gave one or two City defenders nightmares in the opening stages.


Manuel Lanzini
A decent first half but like many others, faded after the break.


Jack Wilshere
Fit again and it showed - and long may that remain the case.


Michail Antonio
A real busy bee in the 45 minutes he played as the lone striker - a role to be filled by the club's record signing upon returning from China.



Substitutes

Carlos Sanchez
(Replaced Rice) A pretty horrible appearance, in which he was responsible for the final City goal and lucky not to concede a (fairly clear) penalty.


Robert Snodgrass
(Replaced Wilshere) Largely anonymous against the better City players.


Andriy Yarmolenko
(Replaced Rice) "I'll be like a new signing!" he (sort of) said last week. And he was a bit. Unlucky not to score with an effort that rattled the post.


Javier Hernandez
(Replaced Antonio) Not really involved although one 25-yard free kick nearly caught City unawares.


Pablo Zabaleta
(Replaced Fredericks) The old boy endured a bit of a torrid time against City's attack in the second half.


Aaron Cresswell
(Replace Johnson) No more effective that young Johnson, who he replaced.


Pedro Obiang
It may well be his final appearance in claret and blue, the lack of notable effort was evident. * Other subs used: Grady Diangana (Lanzini 62); Winston Reid (Ogbonna 68).



Match Facts

West Ham United: Roberto Jimenez Gago, Ryan Fredericks, Ben Johnson, Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna, Declan Rice, Mark Noble, Felipe Anderson, Manuel Lanzini, Jack Wilshere, Michail Antonio.

Goals: Mark Noble 25                  .

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Burnley: .

Subs not used: .

Goals: .

Booked: .

Sent off: None.

Referee: tbc.

Attendance: 0.

Man of the Match: Ryan Fredericks.