Thursday 13 Jan
Updated Thursday 13 Jan 19:23
Opinion

Three things we loved about West Ham United's win over Norwich City

Bowen and Fornals

 

1. Brilliant Bowen… again!

Is there player in English football in better form than Jarrod Bowen?

West Ham United’s No20 has scored four goals and assisted three more in his last six appearances in Claret and Blue, helping the Hammers return to the Premier League’s top four and reach the Emirates FA Cup fourth round.

Against Norwich City, the 25-year-old was everywhere, running in behind, coming short and getting on the end of countless through balls.

Bowen could have scored within two minutes, only to be denied by Tim Krul, then saw a goal disallowed by VAR after Issa Diop strayed offside. The forward then ghosted between two Norwich defenders to head home West Ham’s opening goal from Vladimir Coufal’s cross.

Into the second half and Bowen latched onto two Pablo Fornals’ passes and hit the crossbar and post before netting his second six minutes from time, when he converted Arthur Masuaku’s low cross from six yards out.

With eight goals and ten assists, Bowen has already registered four more direct goal involvements than he did in the whole of last season, and you suspect there are plenty more to come!

 

2. Full-backs back with a bang

Vladimir Coufal and Aaron Cresswell both returned to the starting XI in style on Wednesday evening.

After missing the Emirates FA Cup tie with Leeds United, Czech Republic international Coufal was his usual reliable self at right-back, making a team-high four interceptions and providing the assist for Jarrod Bowen’s opening goal with a measured, curling cross.

On the opposite flank, England international Cresswell returned after missing ten matches with the back injury he suffered colliding with the goalpost in the snow at Manchester City on 28 November.

 

Coufal and Cresswell

 

The left-back was at his solid, uncompromising best, making two interceptions, two clearances and providing valuable balance.

Coufal and Cresswell’s partnership has played a big part in West Ham’s success over the past two years, and will continue to do so in the future.

 

3. Formidable Fornals

It was something of a miracle that Pablo Fornals did not register an assist in Wednesday’s win.

The Spain midfielder played a team-high five key passes, including the through balls which led to Jarrod Bowen hitting the crossbar and the post in the second half.

After missing two Premier League matches after Christmas with COVID, Fornals has looked back to his lively self this week.

The 25-year-old capped a 14-minute cameo against Leeds United in the FA Cup with a perfectly weighted through ball for Michail Antonio that led to Bowen’s clinching second goal late on.

 

Fornals

 

Then, on Wednesday evening, he was heavily involved in much of the Hammers’ attacking play.

In the first half, his pass led to Bowen’s disallowed goal. In the second, he played in Michail Antonio, only for the No9 to scoop his shot over, before the aforementioned pair of through balls from which Bowen hit the Norwich woodwork.

And to complete a superb night’s work, the No8 found Arthur Masuaku to cross for Bowen to score his second six minutes from time.

 

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