Premier League
Bournemouth 2 West Ham United 2

Saturday, 28th September 2019
by Chris Wilkerson

West Ham responded to their midweek embarrassment in Oxford with a 2-2 draw against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium that took them to third in the league.

Both sides led in a back and forth game, with neither team really showing the quality or desire to take all three points.

Goals for Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell were cancelled out by a seventh goal in seven games against West Ham for Callum Wilson and a controversial first half goal by Joshua King.

The Hammers started with the same team that had beaten Manchester United a week before, although the changing landscape of English football can be seen in how this game would be a much sterner test of West Ham's top eight potential.

As with all the games between these two, especially down on the south coast, neither side was ever far from showing its frailties, even when showing their finesse.

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It was West Ham who started the better, passing the ball with a control and confidence befitting of a first team performance.

Their start was rewarded with a fine opening goal from the in-form Yarmolenko. With nine minutes on the clock, Felipe Anderson delivered a floated diagonal cross towards Sebastian Haller. Misdirected slightly, Haller somehow graced the ball down midair and on the stretch, laying it back to the Ukrainian.

Yarmolenko buffeted Ake away with strong use of his buddy, swivelled onto his left and curled the ball into the far corner for another fine goal to add to his tally.

It was a lovely goal and one scored by a side playing with swagger. With a definite control of the game, it was lax defending that let Bournemouth back into the contest ten minutes after Yarmolenko's opener.

A short corner routine was worked back down the line to the left back, who delivered a curling back into the area. West Ham had pushed out, and the cross found Ake free of a marker. It hit him and dropped down to Joshua King, all alone running at the ball as it rolled at goal. The Norwegian beat Fabianski to it and rifled it beyond him from about eight yards.

The flag went up, and it had seemingly gone up before the ball went into the net. This didn't stop VAR getting involved, which will be debated. Did the flag going up in-play negate its remit? Either way, two minutes of checking later showed neither Ake or King to have been offside, and whilst contentious, a fair goal was allowed to stand thanks to the intervention of the technology.

It was a blow for the Irons, who took about 5 minutes to settle back into a game they had been in control of. Questions will he asked as to how such a simple corner routine allowed both Ake and King to go unmarked in the penalty area.

It opened the game up to more of an ebb and flow, an entertaining game without major incidents. West Ham looked to control the ball and spring into life when possession gave them opportunity. Bournemouth were fast and direct, using the pace and ingenuity of an attacking front four.

With all that said, the most dramatic moment of the first half - at least from a West Ham perspective - came from something innocuous. A goal kick after half an hour saw Lukasz Fabianski clutching his thigh and down on the deck. He was quickly replaced by Roberto, whose wayward kicking was not as much a worry as the long term hole left by the injury of West Ham's Player of the Year.

The game started to really stretch, too. Fornals was again on the edge of being very good, his work rate up and down the park clearly useful, his positioning good, but his hesitancy on the ball costing him and his side.

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A quick counter should have seen better results from Noble as he took the wrong option when shooting in the area, but the half should have ended with the away side back in front.

In stoppage time, Yarmolenko slid Fredericks in down the byline and his cross found a West Ham man. Unfortunately, Haller took a touch with the ball in the path of Fornals, who readjusted to shoot but saw his effort blocked when close to goal. The rebound fell to Anderson, whose acrobatic volley was turned over.

The drama wasn't over, as Ogbonna flew himself at the resulting corner but somehow missed the ball when unmarked from six yards. Replays showed a pull on his shirt as he ran to meet it, and with the Italian missing the header by the finest of margins, the clear foul was definitely enough to stop him meeting the ball. No check, no penalty, no lead as the sides went in at half time.

As both sides came out unchanged, it took 27 seconds for Bournemouth to take the lead.

Solanke dribbled towards the box with poise and purpose, beating two before being fouled. The ball rolled to King, the ref played on, and the forward slipped it behind the West Ham backline for Callum Wilson.

The England striker was onside, kept on by Yarmolenko, and he turned to fire it past Roberto and fire Bournemouth into a sudden 2-1 lead.

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It was the beginning of a frantic and scrappy half. West Ham came close to equalising two minutes later, Haller only needing a meaningful touch on an Anderson cross in front of goal to beat Ramsdale in the Bournemouth net.

It was only Declan Rice who showed any composure, and he probably kept his side afloat with his defensive work. His 18 ball recoveries and six interceptions were a vital protection to a less than confident defence.

After Fredericks and Ogbonna combined to allow Billing a shot that deflected wide, Bournemouth thought they had scored again from the corner.

As the melee of players deflected the ball into the air, Nathan Ake again found space in the box. He prodded the dropping ball at goal and beyond Roberto. As he celebrated, the flag again went up and was this time correct. The ricochet off Ryan Fredericks was influenced by the Bournemouth attacker behind him in an offside position, giving West Ham a reprieve.

Not long after, Callum Wilson missed a free header from a floated in free kick and West Ham were living dangerously.

But Pellegrini's men always have a goal threat.

Yarmolenko came close, waking his side up, bending a lovely effort just wide after a concerted spell of possession and good work from Haller and Anderson.

As Lanzini came on for Fornals, West Ham started to wrestle some control, but the Bournemouth threat was never far. Both teams were soon to miss glorious chances.

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First was Anderson. Yarmolenko's cross curled towards goal and found his Brazilian teammate perfectly inside the six yard box, but his header was weak and right at the goalkeeper.

At the other end, Callum Wilson missed the kind of chance that Callum Wilson doesn't miss against West Ham.

Put through on goal in the area, he all but walked up to Roberto. But as the Spaniard stayed planted on his feet, Wilson dallied and his side-footed effort was hit straight into the 'keeper's chest with the whole goal gaping.

It was a moment that his side will still be looking back on with regret as only moments later, his wastefulness was punished.

With Yarmolenko in space again on the right, he produced another beautiful curling ball to the far post. This time, Anderson's header was smart, nodded back down and ahead of the run of Aaron Cresswell.

Cresswell, popping up in the opposition area, stepped onto it and volleyed at goal. His effort was tame, but where it lacked conviction, it found luck in the form of Simon Francis's sliding challenge. The defender's touch did for the goalkeeper and diverted it safely into the back of the net.

15 minutes remained for either side to find a winner, but a frantic and scrappy game just got more and more loose.

Neither side looked to have the energy to fight for a winner, and the game began to fade. A draw seemed acceptable for both teams, and was a fair result as the final whistle ended an absorbing game of football.

In truth, these were two well-matched sides who were not at their best. Maybe they cancelled each other out, maybe they were both wary of the threat the other posed, but neither side really clicked into their best for any sustained period.

As West Ham finished the day in third place, a point and four places above their hosts, it was a sixth away game unbeaten in the league and a draw that so easily could have been a win or a defeat. It was a draw they were probably happy to take, with a game that was rarely in any control.

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Player Ratings

Lukasz Fabianski
Nothing he could do for the goal. What impact could his injury have on our season?


Ryan Fredericks
Better in attack today. Dealt with King for the most part.


Aaron Cresswell
Two goals in two games for a man some had written off completely. Solid defensively, Harry Wilson was quiet, but five wasted crosses are a worry and blight his performance.


Issa Diop
Defence was unorganised and often panicked. Some of his defensive headers were poor and invited pressure.


Angelo Ogbonna
As with Diop, just wasn't at his best.


Declan Rice
Six interceptions within 18 ball recoveries, 93 per cent passing accuracy, three tackles, passed forward well and took the ball out of deep midfield with dribbles too.


Mark Noble
Not at his best, didn't really influence the game, but stayed tidy enough.


Felipe Anderson
Created a couple big chances, with one converted by Cresswell, and was a big part of the first goal. Slowed the game down a few times and wasn't at his best, but was decisive.


Andriy Yarmolenko
Better than against Manchester United. His crossing was very good, his goal was excellently taken. He comes alive in and around the box, then can be at best neat when away from the sharp end. Is working hard to cover defensively.


Pablo Fornals
Worked hard and his energy was useful in the first half. Involved in some good move, but he is still just a little way off being good. Lanzini's cameo showed what he's missing.


Sebastian Haller
Not quite as neat with the ball as usual, but that control from Anderson's cross to set up Yarmolenko was sumptuous. He is just clearly a quality player, his technique is excellent.



Substitutes

Roberto Jimenez Gago
(Replaced Fabianski) His kicking started off worryingly erratic, but the save from Wilson was simple yet excellent.


Manuel Lanzini
(Replaced Fornals) His energy and ability to travel with the ball and pass in tight spaces was very necessary and helped the side back into the game.


Jack Wilshere
(Replaced Noble) Three of his five passes went to Bournemouth players, often inexcusably, and it was his only influence in the game. He really just looked completely off the pace.


Pablo Zabaleta
Did not play.


Fabian Balbuena
Did not play.


Robert Snodgrass
Did not play.


Albian Ajeti
Did not play.



Match Facts

West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks, Aaron Cresswell, Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna, Declan Rice, Mark Noble, Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Pablo Fornals, Sebastian Haller.

Goals: Andriy Yarmolenko 10 Aaron Cresswell 74                .

Booked: Issa Diop 79          .

Sent off: None.

Bournemouth: Ramsdale, Stacey (L Cook 88), S Cook, Ake, Rico, Lerma, Billing (Francis 88), H Wilson (Danjuma 77), King, Solanke, C Wilson.

Subs not used: Boruc, Mepham, Surman, Ibe.

Goals: King (17), Wilson (46).

Booked: Rico (32), Cook (88), Lerma (90).

Sent off: None.

Referee: Stuart Attwell.

Attendance: 10,729.

Man of the Match: Andriy Yarmolenko.