|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Nacer Chadli’s double helps West Brom romp to 4-2 win over West Ham
Date Published Saturday 17 September 2016 17.26 BST
A new era at West Bromwich Albion began in entertaining style as a 4-2 home win against West Ham helped ease speculation about Tony Pulis’s future. Instead pressure builds on his opposite number, Slaven Bilic, who admitted feeling embarrassed at half-time, and said: “We are weak and we have a problem.”
In the first game since Thursday’s announcement that West Brom’s takeover by Chinese group Yunyi Guokai Sports Development Limited – led by Lai Guochuan – had been completed, defeat might have left Pulis, with speculation surrounding his future before kick-off, on the brink of an exit.
During last weekend’s defeat at Bournemouth, Albion fans derided the general quality of Tony Pulis’s football in song, but no such criticism could be levelled on Saturday. It was left to Bilic to lament defensive lapses as West Brom surged into a four-goal lead through a penalty from Nacer Chadli, who was superb on his home debut, Salomón Rondón, James McClean and Chadli once more finding the target.
West Ham, who have now conceded 11 goals in their last three Premier League matches, replied with Michail Antonio’s header and a Manuel Lanzini penalty but never looked like completing the unlikely comeback.
Bilic said: “I don’t like to hide behind mistakes, they happen, and I don’t like to use the same language as I used after the game. But the key word is again – it’s happened again. The defending is not as required in a league like the Premier League. You can’t expect to get anything, make a comeback or anything like that, when you are 3-0 down at half-time – and then 4-0 down. It is a difficult spell and to be honest at half-time I felt embarrassed. At half-time it was a very bad feeling.”
The Baggies were on the front foot from the first whistle. Within the opening minute Matt Phillips whipped a dangerous cross into the West Ham penalty area, the ball just eluding Rondón before McClean worked Adrián in the away goal with a low shot.
The home side were soon rewarded for their positive start after the ball struck the French defender Arthur Masuaku’s arm following a tackle on Phillips. The award of a free-kick seemed harsh, and the referee’s assistant deemed it accidental, but Mark Clattenburg awarded the foul.
From Phillips’s resulting far-post cross, there was little doubt over another handball incident, with Arthur Masuaku clearly at fault. West Brom’s club-record signing Chadli coolly converted the resulting penalty.
The Hammers enjoyed much of the ball following the goal but never really worried West Brom until Lanzini’s shot from the right-hand side of the penalty area narrowly flew past the far post in the 34th minute.
Immediately afterwards, Dimitri Payet picked out Antonio with a lovely clipped pass but Ben Foster raced out to block his shot at point-blank range.
That was as good as it got for West Ham during the first half and West Brom extended their lead after 37 minutes when Chadli teed up Rondón and his shot through James Collins’s legs flew into the bottom corner of the net.
A third goal came before half-time and Chadli was involved again as his shot was turned in by the alert McClean from six yards out. Bilic responded with two changes at the break, bringing on Sofiane Feghouli and Jonathan Calleri with the captain Mark Noble and Simone Zaza, largely anonymous in the first half, making way. But it got worse for the Hammers, with the home side going further in front after 56 minutes.
Masuaku was at fault once more as his low cross was cut out by Darren Fletcher who set Rondón, at this point midway inside his own half, clean through on goal. Chadli made a fine run to support the Venezuelan, who unselfishly set him up for a tap-in inside the penalty area.
At 4-0 down it looked like game over but West Ham responded with two goals in four minutes – “We’re not used to being 4-0 up,” said Pulis’s deputy, Dave Kemp. First Antonio headed home a cross from Payet and then, in the 65th minute, Payet was brought down by Brendan Galloway and Clattenburg pointed to the penalty spot. Ben Foster dived the right way but Lanzini’s spot-kick was well-placed in the bottom corner.
Pulis, speaking to West Brom’s website, said: “If you lose games it gives a bad taste to the supporters. The supporters have a right to express their opinions.
“It’s come together today but it’s only five games and the important thing is that we take the good out of today and take it on to Stoke next week.”
Daily Mail: PLAYER RATINGS, PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE FROM HAWTHORNS
West Brom (4-2-3-1): Foster 7; Dawson 6, McAuley 6, Evans 7, Galloway 6.5 (Nyom, 67, 6); Yacob 7, Fletcher 7.5; McClean 7, Chadli 8 (Morrison, 75), Phillips 7.5, Rondon 8 (Robson-Kanu, 86)
Subs not used: Olsson, Morrison, Gardner, Myhill, Berahino
Goals: Chadli 8, 55, Rondon 37, McClean 44
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Adrian 5.5, Nordtveit 5, Collins 4.5, Ogbonna 4, Masauku 4 (Fletcher 76); Kouyate 5, Noble 5 (Feghouli, 45, 7); Antonio 6, Lanzini 6.5, Payet 6, Zaza 4 (Calleri, 45, 6)
Subs not used: Randolph, Obiang, Tore, Oxford
Goals: Antonio 60, Lanzini 75
Referee: Mark Clattenburg 7