Jarrod Bowen was smiling broadly again after West Ham United stormed to the top of the Premier League table with a landmark 3-1 win at Brighton & Hove Albion.
The England winger netted for the second consecutive away game with a delightful touch and finish from Saïd Benrahma’s inch-perfect cross to double the Irons’ advantage after James Ward-Prowse had opened the scoring with his first goal in Claret and Blue.
Michail Antonio made it three as West Ham finally secured their first Premier League victory over the Seagulls at the 13th attempt, maintaining their unbeaten start to the 2023/24 campaign and seeing David Moyes’ side climb to the top of the standings.
Bowen, whose form has picked up where it left off when he scored a last-minute goal to win the UEFA Europa Conference League in June, and his teammates gave absolutely everything at the American Express Community Stadium, where they stunned a Brighton team who themselves kicked-off the weekend first in the table.
While West Ham had less than 20 per cent possession, they still created seven shots on target, scored three goals, hit the woodwork twice and could have scored more goals, while defensively the visitors were resilient and goalkeeper Alphonse Areola produced a sensational performance between the sticks.
Jarrod, you scored, we’re top of the league and have won at Brighton – not a bad day!
“Exactly! We broke the curse, which was nice, so what an away day! We suffered a long time without the ball but you don't fix something if it's not broken and we've done so well with it over the years.
I think, especially with my goal, you saw what we do on the counter-attack. When Saïd came on, he was incredible, and he put that final ball straight onto my feet and it was it was easy for me to put away!”
We suffered a lot without the ball and gave up some chances, but we did defend well and Alphonse produced one of the best performances you’ll ever see!
“Alphonse was incredible but these are a top team, let’s not come away from that, and they will cause anyone in this league problems, especially here, so to keep them at a minimum in terms of goals scored, yes we gave up a lot of opportunities but to a man we defended from the front to the back.
Like I said, Alphonse was like Lev Yashin today! He was incredible. He made some really big saves. He saved the penalty last week as well, so he's become really important to us.”
Let’s not forget how many chances we created ourselves?
“We're creating chances. It's not probably pretty, the way we play, but we're top of the league! Like I said, don't come away from something that's been working so well over the years. Of course times change and we want to evolve and get stronger and get better, but I think what we do without the ball and then what we do when we win that ball back is a credit to everyone because it's tough to suffer like that without the ball for 100 minutes now, as the games are.
So, it's difficult but to a man everyone wants to work for each other and I think you saw that out there at the end with everyone cramping up and everyone going down but those fans adore you for that work and that desire to keep the ball out of the back of the net.”
What a lovely goal from you, again?
“It was! I love scoring goals I have always said that so I’m really happy with it. It was an incredible ball in the air and to score in front of the away end here and hear that roar, just standing there and taking it all in… I came from the Championship and said I wanted to score goals for this football club and every single one feels exactly the same and there's no better feeling!
I got an assist as well for the big man Micky so that’s a goal and an assist. It was my 300th senior appearance today too, which was really, really nice.”
Lastly, James Ward-Prowse and Edson Álvarez are both new to the team but stood tall today. What have they brought to the side?
“Yeah, just a really solid core. And I think you saw they want to work for everyone as well. I think you saw Eddy at the end there cramping up because he left everything out there. He is a proper player, a proper West Ham player. Prowsey as well scored the goal today and is getting that box-to-box role getting in the box, so they've settled in really well and made us even stronger.”