Five Post-Match Thoughts: West Ham defeats Fulham

Tomas Soucek and Lukasz Fabianski were the heroes for West Ham late on. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Tomas Soucek and Lukasz Fabianski were the heroes for West Ham late on. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) /

A late goal and an atrocious penalty take helped West Ham get the three points in a London derby against Fulham. Below are my thoughts on the match.

While it was not the prettiest of victories, West Ham did pick up the three points against relegation favourites Fulham. What did the Hammers do well and what can be improved upon? My five post-match thoughts below:

1 – West Ham defence superb once again:

West Ham achieved their third clean sheet in the league and fourth in all competitions. The backline looked comfortable throughout most of the contest. The centre backs communicated effectively and Fulham only had one or two good chances.

Angelo Ogbonna was immense. Hopefully, his injury isn’t too bad. Issa Diop came in and performed well along with Balbuena and Cresswell. Masuaku has certainly improved at the defensive side of his game.

West Ham usually does not win when giving up goals. In fact, they have not won in the league this season when giving up a goal, so it is even more important for the Hammers to keep clean sheets whenever possible.

2 – An ugly win. Get used to it with a Moyes managed team:

The tactics and formation played under Moyes have not been the prettiest or flashiest, but the mission has been accomplished more often than not. West Ham achieved their third win of the season and have achieved a result in a majority of league matches this season.

The three-at-the-back formation has worked. It is meant to soak up pressure, which is why we saw Fulham have more possession at the end of the first half. However, the formation that has been used in the last two months is also meant to have us score off the counter-attack. Fornals and Bowen have not been ruthless enough with the counter and that continued versus Fulham.

3 – Moyes substitution decisions worked perfectly:

Said Benrahma assisted Tomas Soucek in scoring West Ham's winning goal.
Said Benrahma assisted Tomas Soucek in scoring West Ham’s winning goal. (Photo by John Walton – Pool/Getty Images) /

I criticized Moyes for his late substitutions versus Liverpool last week. This time around, however, his substitutions were spot on. He brought on Diop through injury but brought on Said Benrahma and Manuel Lanzini in the 72nd minute, significantly earlier than substitutions he has made in previous matches.

I thought Benrahma looked lively when he had the ball, getting off a couple of shots on goal and providing the match-winning assist to Soucek. Good on Moyes for making the changes he needed to make when he needed to make them as he went for the win and got it.

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4 – Benrahma looked excellent off the bench, Fornals should still start:

As mentioned, bringing on Benrahma in the 72nd minute was the correct decision and West Ham’s newest signing played an important role in the Hammers winning the match.

Benrahma seemed to be eager to receive passes from his teammates and was brave on the ball, always looking for open pockets within the defence. He even got a couple of shots off at the Fulham keeper, albeit at a very acute angle.

Most importantly, Benrahma provided the assist on the match-winning goal. The Algerian took the ball off the attempted Fulham clearance with plenty of composure and gently passed the ball to Soucek who stuck it in the back of the net. Many players may have panicked or attempted to shoot that ball. Very well done from Said.

I know many fans will be calling for Benrahma to start ahead of Pablo Fornals. Even though I do not think Pablo had his best game, I also do not think he deserves to lose his starting spot nor do I believe one good appearance puts a player in the starting lineup.

However, there is plenty of competition on the left-wing and Fornals will need to become more consistent if he wants to keep his spot moving forward.

5 – Haller better but there is still room for improvement:

Sebastien Haller hit the crossbar early on for West Ham.
Sebastien Haller hit the crossbar early on for West Ham. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) /

Sebastien Haller did perform better in this match than he did versus Liverpool. However, he was poor at Anfield so there was really nowhere to go but up.

He did do some things well. I thought he pressed higher up the pitch, won more headers, and held the ball up better than he has. He was even unlucky to not get a goal as he headed a corner off the post.

Besides that chance, however, Haller rarely put himself in positions to score, the number one job for a striker. His ideal formation is with a fellow striker playing alongside him, but £45 million signings need to get the job done in non-ideal situations.

Next. Fabianski Penalty Save Secures West Ham Win. dark

Antonio is obviously still the number one striking option when he returns and Haller needs to improve if he wants to challenge for that top striking option within the squad.