No Time To Panic; On a Different Day, West Ham Bury Fulham

The scoreline flattered Fulham in this match, but make no mistake missed chances allowed the Cottagers to keep it close and West Ham shouldn’t panic.

Tomas Soucek’s late leading goal and Ademola Lookman’s awfully taken penalty stole the headlines in this match, but on multiple occasions, West Ham had the opportunity to run away with this match and didn’t take it.

Let me rephrase that, the football Gods had other things in mind because every chance the Hammers had to take a lead Alphonse Areola, the woodwork, or an unknowing block (almost by divine intervention), saved Fulham from conceding.

It started early with a double chance. Pressure on the Fulham midfield saw Pablo Fornals pick up a loose ball and carry it into the penalty area. His pass across the face of the goal megged Jarrod Bowen on it’s way to Arthur Masuaku at the back post who’s well-struck ball was miraculously saved. The second chance dropped to Cresswell who cleanly banged it on the half-volley only for Areola to save again.

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Both chances were indicative of West Ham’s pressure play and overload forward to nab an early goal. They were rewarded with a corner on this play, of which they produced a whopping nine on the day, and another chance emerged.

With Aaron Cresswell delivering the left corner kicks. Jarrod Bowen sat centrally outside the box awaiting a second chance off the delivery. A defensive header saw the ball drop to the winger who cleanly volleyed it toward goal, deflecting along the way. Areola still managed to palm the shot away producing his third unbelievable save inside ten minutes.

The corner kick this save produced invited another Cresswell delivery into the box and Sebastien Haller, who had a strong game, rose high to meet the ball. His bullet header was millimetres away from giving the Hammers the lead, but it couldn’t sink under the crossbar.

The second half would start with a similar buzz for the Hammers, with pressure and opportunity mounting. A foul just outside of the Fulham area invited Cresswell to stand and deliver a free-kick from close range and the supremely hit ball bolted the crossbar past the wall and a diving Areola. An insane showing of power and precision on the kick went unrewarded.

The taken chance that sealed all three points was marvellous from newcomer Said Benrahma. The winger drifted centrally to support Haller, whose offside jump forced the defender to react to his positioning. Benrahma then unselfishly set up Soucek for the winner and the three points were taken.

The chances were there, from open play and set pieces, to suggest West Ham are completely fine in this formation and with this team. They generated nine corners, seven shots on goal, and held the majority of possession in this match. The stats support the eye test as there is little to no reason to panic if you are David Moyes.