Over-Criticized West Ham Star Shuts Up Haters In Win Over Blades

Sebastien Haller, West Ham. (Photo by CATHERINE IVILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Sebastien Haller, West Ham. (Photo by CATHERINE IVILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

A compelling win over Sheffield United saw West Ham rise up the table and their star striker shake the hate of his critics in goal scoring display.

With the pre-match starting XI and bench reveal West Ham supporters were likely a little shocked and concerned that Michail Antonio, who was believed to be fit, didn’t make the bench for the Sheffield match. Sebastien Haller was always going to start this match, but it was concerning without a plan b on the bench.

What followed was an online onslaught of Haller hate for a solid 56 minutes. West Ham started slow, Haller included, and ceded possession and the better of the early chances to the Blades. Haller was locked out of the match by a high-pressing Sheffield team and was non-existent as was the Hammers’ attack.

After that opening 18 minutes from hell passed, Haller along with Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals were welcomed into the match after the Sheffield press ran out of steam. What followed was a statistical showing from the Hammers’ striker that should calm minds and angry keyboards across the West Ham world.

Haller cannot boast the speed or physicality that Michail Antonio does, but he can instead show off his technical ability and playmaking skills that Antonio can’t match. They are different players with different skill sets, it’s time for Irons supporters to realize this and support it.

The fact of the matter is, that with better finishing from his teammates, Haller has 1-2 assists on top of his game-winning goal in this match. Most notably, the miss from Tomas Soucek was shocking considering how strong his finishing usually is.

Haller faded from centre-back cover extremely well on this play and picked up the cross from Fornals, heading it over the top to Soucek who missed wide left. The deft header was perfectly timed, keeping the Czech onside, and sat perfectly for him to strike.

Enough about missed chances, though, Haller thumped a peach of a shot into the top right corner of Aaron Ramsdale’s net to give the Hammers the lead in the 56th minute. The broken chance came off of a terrific interception from Vladimir Coufal and led to a blocked Fornals shot that found its way to Haller to hit from just outside the box.

The goal was his second Premier League goal this season, giving him six goals on the season across 11 matches in all competitions. His third consecutive start has seen Haller grow more comfortable up top by himself and has now given confidence to supporters and the team that Antonio can be rested further.

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Aston Villa are up next for West Ham and their four-at-the-back system could play more into Haller’s style of play than Sheffield’s three centre-back formation did. Antonio should be present (hopefully) but there is no reason why Haller, David Moyes, and West Ham shouldn’t ride the momentum of Haller’s awesome strike to sink Sheffield.