|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Sébastien Haller on target again to guide West Ham to easy win over Norwich
Paul MacInnes at the London Stadium
Date Published Sat 31 Aug 2019 17.19 BST
In his programme notes, the West Ham captain Mark Noble wrote that he wanted his club to give Norwich “a taste of what the Premier League is all about”.
That is what came to pass in a match that was ultimately far from a contest. Sébastien Haller scored his third goal of the season and Andriy Yarmalenko his first in 11 months as West Ham eased to victory. They were too sharp for the visitors, too strong and – just as importantly – too cute.
To top it off there were signs that their front four, Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini alongside the scorers, are starting to purr.
Manuel Pellegrini felt this performance was a sign his team are “starting to play in the way I believe they can”. For the Chilean, however, it was less about Lanzini’s lay-offs and Anderson’s gliding runs, but the mentality his team showed and the gritty way they nullified a Norwich side who had arrived in the Premier League scoring goals.
“The key thing is personality, the attitude to play as a big team,” Pellegrini said. “When you score a goal you don’t come back to the edge of your box to defend. The forwards have the freedom to do what they want, our full-backs always attacking. But we try to be a complete team, all defending when we don’t have the ball.
“We conceded too many goals last season. Today everyone worked to get in position to recover and get the ball against a team that is very technical and attacking.”
That seemed a fair reading of the game. After an opening quarter-hour of low intensity when Norwich dominated the ball, West Ham began to snap around their opponents, and sometimes at them, to upset their rhythm.
As the game went on the visitors were more and more rattled, with West Ham able to control proceedings exactly as they wanted.
That was not the way Daniel Farke saw things, however. The Norwich manager was furious at a challenge by Haller on the centre-half Christoph Zimmermann that had left the German injured and exposed in the run-up to the opening goal.
“We were dominating [the] first 20 minutes. There was just one team who were playing then,” said Farke. “Then there was a challenge against my centre-back when the ball was three yards away, and the outcome was two minutes later they had a counter, my defender is not able to sprint back and the player who committed the foul scores the goal.
“It was not even a free-kick and the outcome is my player is going to hospital and the other player is on the shoulder of his teammates.”
This felt like an attempt at deflection. Farke could have withdrawn Zimmermann after the challenge had he wanted, after all.
The assessment of the goal underplays its quality, a pass on the turn from Anderson taking out not only Zimmermann but the typically advanced Max Aarons. Arthur Masuaku sprinted past them both and found the pass to Haller, whose positioning and finish were spot on.
The second goal came 10 minutes into the second half. It started with a corner, hit deep to Yarmolenko on the left. The winger crashed a volley on to the post and Norwich cleared, but almost immediately possession was turned over again. The Ukrainian traded passes with Noble, this time on the right, got a deflection off Emi Buendía and made no mistake with his shot.
The winger missed the majority of last season with an achilles tendon injury and he celebrated his long-awaited goal by hunting down his medical team in the stands.
Daily Mail: MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND LEAGUE TABLE
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski 6; Fredericks 6.5, Diop 7, Ogbonna 7, Masuaku 7.5; Rice 7, Noble 7 (Sanchez 86); Anderson 8 (Fornals 88), Lanzini 7, Yarmolenko 7 (Snodgrass 71, 6); Haller 7
Subs not used: Roberto, Balbuena, Zabaleta, Ajeti
Goals: Haller 24, Yarmolenko 56
Booked: Fredericks, Snodgrass
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini 7.5
Norwich (4-2-3-1): Krul 7; Aarons 6, Zimmermann 6 (Amadou 36, 6), Godfrey 6, Lewis 6; Trybull 6, Leitner 6; Buendia 6, Stiepermann 6 (Drmic 77), Cantwell 6 (McLean 78); Pukki 6
Subs not used: Fahrmann, Byram, Vrancic, Tettey
Manager: Daniel Farke 6
Referee: Paul Tierney