Match Review – West Ham United 0-3 Brighton

westhamawayreview2017

This Premier League lark is easy, isn’t it? The perfect away performance gave Brighton and Hove Albin a 3-0 win over West Ham United at one of the biggest stadiums in the country. What a Friday night.

We know it was a good one because it has effectively taken over 48 hours to sober up enough to even attempt to write something about the game at the London Stadium. West Ham fans may hate their new home and it isn’t hard to see why when teams like little ol’Brighton are turning up and turning them over, but we really liked it. Yes, you might be miles from the action in the top tier and yes the atmosphere in the home end might be lacking, but for an away supporter it screamed big time stadium and looked fantastic under the lights. For a once-a-season visit it is great, but we wouldn’t want to be tied down to 20 games a season there for another 98 years.

There were plenty of stories about it being a nightmare to get home from as well but the 3,000 Albion fans breezed straight out and onto trains heading home for Sussex. An exodus from the home sections bigger than Moses leading the Israelite’s out of Egypt probably helped in that regard. The stadium was more than half empty by the time the final whistle sounded, which was a sign of just how dominant the Albion had been and how poor West Ham were.

Slaven Bilic’s side were easily the worst we have faced this season. In fact, there weren’t many away games in the Championship that were that easy last season. They looked like absolute relegation fodder and Bilic’s tactics were questionable to say the least. Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy have spent all season so far heading and blocking everything yet all that West Ham could do was toss crosses aimlessly into the box. This might have been at least vaguely sensible had Andy Carroll not been suspended but Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic were never going to thrive against those two in the air. Maty Ryan hardly had a save to make as a result – only two comfortable long range efforts from Pedro Obiang and Manuel Lazini – and it is unlikely he will claim an easier clean sheet this season.

Going forward, the Albion were excellent. Glenn Murray was back to his best of last season with his first two goals of this campaign, the first coming inside of 10 minutes when he was completely unmarked to head home a Pascal Gross free kick. That made it another assist for Gross, the seventh goal he was been involved in this season meaning he has already more than paid of that £3m transfer fee from Ingolstadt.

Jose Izquierdo did what we’d all seen him do on multiple YouTube videos from his time in the Belgian League when he cut inside and hit a blistering effort in for 2-0 just before the break. Joe Hart got a hand to it but it wasn’t enough to keep it out and although questions will swirl around whether the England number one should have done better, take nothing away from the Colombian for the quality of the strike.

West Ham probably fancied their chances even at 0-2 given that they were dominating possession but the Albion were more than content to let that happen, soak up the pressure and play on the break. The third arrived when Murray was fouled in the box and he dusted himself down to score the resulting penalty in front of the away support. It could have been more, Murray being denied twice by two good stops from Hart

Murray was clearly the Albion man of the match but it was a fantastic team performance. We all thought home form would be the key to surviving in the Premier League and it very much will be, but Friday night showed that we can go away, compete and beat any side outside of the top six so long as we don’t play ultra defensive football.

“We’re on our way, to the Champions League” was the song ringing around as we left Stratford on Friday night. Obviously, that is getting wildly carried away but all of a sudden, Premier League survival seems a hell of a lot more likely than it did a month ago. Brighton have arrived.

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