Premier League
West Ham United 0-2 Brentford 

Friday, 30th December 2022
by Staff Writer

David Moyes is clinging on to his position as West Ham United manager after his team produced another insipid, lacklustre display against Brentford.

Two first half goals - both the result of individual errors and a lack of concentration - left Moyes and his team facing a fifth consecutive Premier League defeat as the Bees secured a 2-0 win - and the manager facing a tsunami of calls for his immediate replacement.

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Yet the game started in promising fashion for the Hammers, who could've been a goal to the good after just five minutes when skipper Declan Rice rattled the frame of the goal with a curling effort that had Bees goalkeeper David Raya beaten all ends up.

Unfortunately Lady Luck was to continue to elude West Ham for the rest of the game, as has been the case for much of the season so far.

West Ham continued to look the brighter of the two teams with David Moyes having effected a tactical reshuffle that involved Thomas Soucek dropping to the bench, Lucas Paqueta partnering Declan Rice in the centre of midfield and Said Benrahma dropping into a slightly deeper role than he has traditional enjoyed.

Craig Dawson sent a header narrowly wide from a Jarrod Bowen corner before Bowen himself got into a good position only to see a goal bound effort deflected for another corner.

Dawson, who was proving to be just as effective in the opposition half in the game's early stages was then at the centre of the first moment of controversy after he appeared to be tripped inside the penalty area, only to see referee Darren England wave play on. TV replays suggested there was contact and on another day at another venue, a penalty may well have been given.

Then, out of nowhere, Brentford - who had barely been out of their own half - scored the game's opening goal, as West Ham once again contrived to shoot themsleves in the foot

A Mathias Jensen throw in to the near post appeared innocuous enough before Dawson experienced what could perhaps be described as a 'brain fart' as he came over the top of Vladimir Coufal who appeared to have the ball covered, resulting in neither making contact.

The ball fell to Bees skipper Christian N?,rgaard whose snap shot was saved by Lukasz Fabiansk. The Pole could do little else but to palm the ball into the path of Ivan Toney who toe-poked the ball over the line to give Brentford a lead they simply hadn't earnt nor deserved.

Once again West Ham had conceded from a throw-in - and criminally, it was to happen again before the half time interval.

The Hammers initially reacted to the disappointment in a promising fashion and continued to push on in search of what by this point would've been an equaliser. Bowen saw another effort blocked at close range, Gianluca Scammaca's header from a Coufal centre missed the target by a matter of inches and Emerson saw a shot that was destined for the top corner acrobatically pushed round the post by Raya.

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Then once again all of West Ham's hard work and endeavour was undone by a moment of madness. Paqueta's attempted short pass to Benrahma failed to find its intended target and rolled straight into touch. Brentford took the throw quickly and Toney, completely unmarked, turned quickly and sent the ball into the path of Josh Dasilva.

The Ilford-born midfielder had nine years on veteran full back Aaron Cresswell and it showed, as he left the Liverpudlian in his wake over the distance of 20 yards before coolly dispatching the ball beyond an advancing Fabianksi to double the visitors' advantage.

It was galling in the extreme as Thomas Frank's side had barely been involved at that stage, bar sticking the ball in the back of the net twice thanks to West Ham's defensive failings. That West Ham had enjoyed 65 per cent of possession was testament to that, even though the Hammers had failed to find the target.

The second half saw West Ham start brightly, hoping against hope that they could somehow comeback from the two-goal deficit.

And when Jarrod Bowen was awarded a penalty just two minutes after the restart having been tripped on the perimeter of the penalty box after darting between two Bees defenders, those hopes were briefly magnified - only to be shot down when VAR intervened to rule that initial contact had occurred outside the box by the slightest of margins.

Once again, West Ham had been cruelly denied by the Stockley Park brigade - as was the case at Nottingham Forest on the opening day of the season and as was the case at Chelsea a few weeks later. Thereafter Moyes' side barely threatened - it was as is that decision had completely knocked the stuffing out of his team.

Bowen tried his luck on 57 minutes, but Raya made a fairly straightforward save before Michail Antonio was introduced, replacing Emerson - leaving West Ham with two strikers on the pitch and another anti-Moyes criticism - to go along with his refusal to drop Soucek, start Benrahma regularly, play Paqueta alongside Rice and instructing his team to play with greater attacking intent dispelled in the space of an hour.

With West Ham flailing the visitors threatened to add insult to injury by adding a third, but West Ham defended doggedly and determinedly, even though all hope of a revival had effectively disappeared with that VAR decision.

Scamacca, who looked no nearer getting to grips with the rigours of Premier League football than he was at the beginning of the season finally managed to fashion an effort that stung Raya's palms while Dawson forced another acrobatic save from the Spanish stopper in the 82st minute, though by then it was too little, too late for West Ham.

And after seven excruciating minutes of added-on time, extended from four due to a (convenient?) knee injury for Toney who is expecting to receive an extensive ban imminently following an FA betting charge, the final whistle blew to condemn West Ham to a fifth straight league defeat - one which leaves manager Moyes clinging on to his job almost three years to the day since he was installed as Manuel Pellegrini's successor.

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West Ham Utd: Fabianski, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Coufal, Rice, Paqueta (Soucek 82), Emerson (Antonio 64), Bowen, Benrahma, Scamacca

Subs not used: Areola, Johnson, Kehrer, Aguerd, Downes, Lanzini, Fornals

Booked: Coufal

Possession West Ham 63%; Brentford 37%

Shots/on target West Ham 20/5; Brentford 9/6

Expected goals (xG) West Ham 1.14; Brentford 1.51

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Match Facts

West Ham United: , , , , , , , , , , .

Goals: None.

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Brentford: Raya, Roerslev, Zanka, Pinnock, Mee, Henry, Jensen (Janelt 59), Nørgaard, Dasilva (Ghoddos 67), Mbeumo (Wissa 59), Toney (Jansson 90+3).

Subs not used: Cox, Trevitt, Damsgaard, Lewis-Potter, Canós.

Goals: Toney (18), Dasilva (43) .

Booked: .

Sent off: None.

Referee: Darren England.

Attendance: 62,467.

Man of the Match: Jarrod Bowen.