From the Terraces


Fan blogger Joe Difford looks back at Sunday’s win over Bournemouth…
After a frustrating opening day loss to Chelsea and a draw away at Astra Giurgiu on Thursday, Hammers fans were desperate for a good result in our first Premier League game in our new home.

Going into the game, Slaven Bilic’s side were expected to be without a number of first team players, but the surprise inclusion of Cheikhou Kouyate and Havard Nordtveit gave the side a much-needed boost in midfield.

From the first whistle, we were in complete control, and Bournemouth looked a little out of their depth playing in front of 57,000 members of West Ham’s Claret and Blue army. Michail Antonio was pushed forward onto the left wing and was a threat throughout, but really made a difference when switched over to the right hand side.

A few half chances failed to reflect the dominant opening 45 minutes, and Enner Valencia found himself closed down whenever the ball was played into him. Our new left back, Arthur Masuaku, looked brilliant in his first home game, preventing any meaningful attacks down his flank and overlapping with Antonio well, putting in a few crosses that were crying out for Andy Carroll too.

For those who were worried about the atmosphere in a brand new ground, it was a huge relief to hear the packed London Stadium singing in full voice, shaking to the rafters.

There were strong performances across the board, with Winston Reid, Sam Byram, Mark Noble and Gokhan Tore particularly impressing, the latter coming close to scoring on a number of occasions, one that looped just over the top left hand corner of the Bournemouth goal.

The Turkish winger could have had a penalty too when he was brought down on the edge of the area, with replays showing that the contact was actually made on the 18-yard line. To be fair to the referee however, this was only noticed in the slow motion, close up replays.

The real turning point came with just under a quarter of an hour to go, as Harry Arter pulled down Kouyate, who was making one of his trademark, powerful runs forward, and the Bournemouth man was shown a second yellow card.

Just ten minutes later the Hammers capitalised, with Tore floating in an inch perfect cross, for Michail Antonio to head home, confirming his attacking role once and for all. A goal that will go down in history for a player who deserves all his plaudits.

It may not have been a clear cut win on paper, but West Ham never looked like losing, with Adrian making one key save in the dying seconds, but being a spectator for the other 89 minutes.

It was a first win of the season, and first Premier League goal in the London Stadium and despite the likes of Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini, Aaron Cresswell, Andy Carroll and Andre Ayew being out injured, a confident performance.

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