There were plenty of reasons for David Moyes to be smiling after West Ham United’s 3-1 win over Chelsea.
The passing range of new signing James Ward-Prowse was evident from the off in Sunday’s Premier League clash at London Stadium. The new No7 provided the cross for Nayef Aguerd’s opener on seven minutes and also threaded through a lovely ball for Michail Antonio to net West Ham’s second early in the second half.
Chelsea had levelled prior to half-time, through Carney Chukwuemeka’s curling finish, but Alphonse Areola ensured the game was still tied at the interval when he denied Enzo Fernández from the penalty spot.
Aguerd’s second yellow on 68 minutes meant the Irons were down to ten men for the final quarter of action in east London, but still the Hammers dug in deep, absorbing Chelsea’s pressure with resolution and determination.
The hard work paid off in the closing moments as Paquetá and Emerson combined, with the full-back brought down in the box. The Brazilian No10 made no mistake, confidently dispatching West Ham’s third goal from 12 yards and securing all three points.
For manager Moyes, Sunday’s performance was a marked improvement from the draw away to AFC Bournemouth on the opening day of the season. With four points from the first two games, the boss is eager to continue building and improving as the campaign continues…
It was a brilliant win!
Unfortunately the run is that, before the international break, we’d have three away games and one home game. This was the one home game, against Chelsea, who I’ve seen in pre-season and went to watch last week at Liverpool, and they were so, so good. So for us to get a result today was incredible.
James Ward-Prowse played so well and that’s what we want, isn’t it?
We want midfielders who look to make assists and score. We’ve got him in now and he’s already made a difference with his set-piece quality today. I’m really pleased for him. He’s settled in well and he looks a really good lad for our dressing room.
There were lots of bits I liked.
I like the word ‘brilliant’ for moments like Michail’s goal and Alphonse’s penalty save. There were parts of the game I didn’t like too though. I want us to have more possession and win the ball better. But there are sometimes other circumstances which are easy to talk about but are not easy in practice.
They had a centre-forward in Nicolás Jackson who can run like Linford Christie, and if you press too high up the pitch then you could be done in behind. You could see how quick they were down the sides. They had the pace in midfield which meant our lads were always going to find some difficulty with it.
So, it's not just about us; it can also be about what the opposition do and can do to us. Right now, I’m think Chelsea look like a really good team.
I’m thrilled with how we hung in after going down to ten men.
I don’t think Nayef should have gone to ground and made that second tackle after being booked, but I think we’re going to see a lot of cards this season.
Last year, I can’t remember us having a red card, but I think we’re going to see more people sent off this season. It will certainly make things a lot harder.
We had to sit in and defend the box, which we did brilliantly well in the second half. I’ve got to say I’m also pleased with a couple of the counter-attacks we had, particularly the one that led to the penalty. It was good to see.
I felt we made another step today.
I thought today was great. Let’s be fair; Chelsea will be in the top four at the end of the season and we’ve just beaten them at home. So we’re got to put that in perspective.
We’re still regrouping a bit and getting ready, and we’ve still got a bit of work to do before I would say we’re completely ready. But I’m glad we got that win today. They’re important points with the run of games we’ve got.
I think our fans appreciated our effort and the players’ commitment in this win.
There was a twinge of Prague in it today. We scored a goal late on and we won the game, while the boys were up against it, so for the ones who were there they were probably reminded of that a little bit.