After a brief break of FA cup action we return to the Premier League as we reach the half-way point of this exciting season.
Today, West Ham take on relegation threatened Burnley at the London stadium as Sean Dyche’s men look for their first league win of the year.
Riley Finch will be taking you through all the action.Embed from Getty Images
Can the Irons survive with the loss of Sebastien Haller with only Michail Antonio leading the line for them?
Of course he is in brilliant form for them and will surely be at the top for the Hammers today but with paper hamstrings, West Ham may need a back-up striker sooner rather than later.Embed from Getty Images
In a very physical game, Angelo Ogbonna will be crucial for the Irons today.
Another team which should be more active in the transfer market is the newly taken over Burnley, they could really use a striker and a bolstered midfield. Currently Burnley are the joint lowest scoring team in the League (9).
Saying that however, the Clarets do seem to be doing alright for themselves considering their circumstances, four points from the relegation zone with two games in hand will certainly please Sean Dyche.
But the key to that is they need to win those games in hand, especially following West Brom’s earlier victory against Wolves who are now just five points behind the Clarets.Embed from Getty Images
Antonio leads the line for the Irons once again following his return from injury as does Lukasz Fabianski, he also returns to the starting line-up.
Craig Dawson also keeps his place in the side after earning three clean sheets and even scoring against Stockport to grab his first goal.
The visitors come with an unchanged side since their defeat at Old Trafford just under a week ago.
The striking duo of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes have only earned four goals between them, one less than West Ham’s top scorer Tomas Soucek.
West Ham tried to sign James Tarkowski earlier this season, will he be a thorn in the side for the Irons tonight as he looks to lead the defence.
Burnley will always be a tough team to breakdown and when teams sit behind the ball, West Ham really struggle to create chances. I wouldn’t expect a high scoring game.
A win here would see the Irons level on points with seventh placed Southampton.
A win for their opposition Burnley could create some daylight between the Clarets and the relegation zone. They currently sit just four points above it.
Kick-off is next.
The visitors get us underway at the London Staduim.
07′ West Ham give the ball away poorly and could have been punished with more than just a shot on target. Johann Gudmundsson’s curled shot falls comfortably into the gloves of Fabianski.
09′ GOOOOAAALLLLL (WEST HAM) WHO ELSE BUT HIM
West Ham may only have one senior striker but luckily for them he’s continuing his goal scoring form. Pablo Fornals lobbed cross glances off the head of Ben Mee and falls perfectly for Antonio who has the simplest of tasks to slot it in at the far post.
It was a good move by West Ham but Mee will be very disappointed not to get a more significant header on the cross. The Irons lead. How will Burnley react?
14′ Burnley do not look comfortable at all in this game, they have had little reaction to going a goal down. They really struggle for goals but they are going to need some if they are to get anything from this game.
19′ West Ham look set to keep their foot on the gas against a very defensive Burnley. Jarrod Bowen, who was heavily involved in the goal, is causing chaos in the Burnley ranks.Embed from Getty Images
24′ After a spree of West Ham attacks, Burnley look to be getting a foothold in the game as they intend to use their possession to slowly construct a chance. This will suit both teams as the Irons seem happy to allow Burnley possession opting for a fast breaking tiki-taka approach.
29′ I can’t help but feel in a game that is set to be starved for chances, set-pieces will play a huge role for both sides. Both Burnley and West Ham pride themselves on carving out goals from set-pieces with West Ham scoring the most set-piece goals in the league.
32′ IT’S A GOAL BUT IT WON’T COUNT (BURNLEY)
Aaron Cresswell is saved the embarrassment of an own goal as the offside flag is raised. It’s the first time Burnley have managed to get in-behind West Ham and they almost levelled the score.Embed from Getty Images
36′ SAVED BY THE WOODWORK
West Ham almost rubbed salt into Burnley wounds. Bowen’s corner is flicked on by Declan Rice with Ogbonna flying into the second-ball at the back-post. Unfortunately for him his resulting header thunders against the woodwork. Big let off for Burnley.Embed from Getty Images
41′ As we approach half-time I wouldn’t be surprised to see a late goal here. After a stagnant first thirty minutes, the chances have been flying.
45+1′ Half-time: West Ham 1-0 Burnley
The home side’s perfect start to 2021 remains intact at half-time.
Antonio’s early finish is the only thing separating the sides after the first forty-five minutes. It’s not just a crucial goal for the Irons but for the man himself.
Eight more goals would see him become West Ham’s all-time Premier League goal scorer.
I though both sides would really struggle chances but in total there has been eleven shots and four of them on target in the game.
Although there hasn’t been much significance in those chances bar a hit of a post and a correctly ruled offside goal for Burnley.
Burnley look set to play their possession football which seems to be causing little problems for the Irons. Over half of their goals have come for set-pieces and they will be crucial for the Clarets as they struggle to get past a strong Claret and Blue defence.
Jay Rodriguez and Dwight McNeil are on the bench for them, they could be key to inject some pace into a stale Burnley performance.Embed from Getty Images
I doubt this one will finish with the current score line and it is up to West Ham to find their killer instincts to put the game to bed.
Burnley are famous for nicking a goal.
The second-half will resume shortly.
45′ Burnley are the only team this season not to gain a point from a losing position, can they correct that in the second-half?
45′ There is indeed a change for the Clarets as McNeil comes on for Gudmundsson. What impact will he have?
51′ HEROIC DEFENDING, OFF THE LINE
Antonio is just denied his second goal of the game as his goal bound header is cleared cleverly on the line by Matthew Lowton. Brilliant reading of the game by the Englishman. How crucial will that be?Embed from Getty Images
56′ West Ham are gunning for that second goal at the moment and they look likely to get it. They must be aware of Burnley’s threat however as since McNeil has come on for them, Burnley have been playing better and look somewhat a threat.
58′ The Hammers free-kick is taken beautifully by Rice as he looks to curl the wide freekick into the Burnley goal but it just skids over the bar. Would have been some goal had it gone in.
64′ Ashley Barnes’s dry spell continues as he makes way for Matej Vydra. Burnley are desperate for a goal, can he provide it?
68′ West Ham make their first change of the match as Said Benrahma makes way for Manuel Lanzini. I reckon David Moyes just wants a fresh pair of legs on as the Algerian has had a good game for the Irons.
69′ A GOLDEN CHANCE
What a chance for Bowen, he has been outstanding today. The winger latches onto a lobbed through-ball with a brilliant touch but his drilled shot flies into the side netting. So close from the Englishman. Will West Ham live to regret their trued chances.Embed from Getty Images
72′ A final through of the dice from Sean Dyche as Rodriguez looks to make an impact off the bench.
78′ A very harsh assessment from the boys at MOTD, Burnley have been poor but they look are starting to look more and more dangerous.
82′ Bowen has been outstanding today once again. A key danger man for the Irons. West Ham are desperate for another goal to see this one out. Can Andriy Yarmolenko provide it?
87′ West Ham are holding a fragile lead at the moment and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Burnley nick a late goal. Both sides are creating some really good chances. How will this one finish?
90′ Plenty of time for the Clarets to find an equaliser. Will they make use of it?
Full-time: West Ham 1-0 Burnley
West Ham hold on to keep the points in London.
West Ham’s defence stood firm as Antonio’s early finish proved the only difference between the two sides.Embed from Getty Images
Despite an very promising overall performance, against a more dangerous team the Hammers could’ve rued miss chances as the hit the post and failed to convert some big chances.
Take nothing away from West Ham however, it was still a very good performance with key individual’s Fornals and Bowen standing out in attack and Ogbonna and Rice defensively sound once again.Embed from Getty Images
Once again Burnley struggled to create chances and I would expect Dyche to ponder the transfer market for a new centre-forward as Woods and Barnes once again fail to find the net.Embed from Getty Images
Burnley really don’t want to be dragged into a relegation battle as their four point lead over the teams in the bottom three will be getting smaller and smaller every week.
The Clarets remain jusr above the relegation zone but following their win, the Hammers jump to eight just three points from a coveted European place.
That’s all from me, I hope you enjoyed the game.Embed from Getty Images