Let’s trawl over some of the main causes of discussion from Saturday’s London Stadium Premier League encounter between David Moyes’ West Ham United and Sean Dyche’s Burnley, as the visiting Clarets claimed just their second victory of the year.
Crowd Protests Dominate Headlines At London Stadium
Smattered all over the Sunday back pages wasn’t the brilliance of the visiting Burley attack in East London, but scenes from the stands as things turned ugly in the second period at London Stadium on the day the club were remembering the late great Bobby Moore.
For weeks and months, supporters had been planning a protest about the way that West Ham is being run before the visit of the Clarets in the PL, their march was cancelled last week.
Their restrained anger would be unleashed on Saturday inside the stadium, and it all kicked off after Ashley Barnes gave the visitors the lead in the 66th minute.
In the moments that followed the goal, home supporters began to invade the pitch, several of them getting on to it unopposed and one being converted and hauled to the floor by home captain Mark Noble.
When order was restored, the match was back underway and before long, the Clarets had doubled their advantage though New Zealand International substitute Chris Wood.
At this point, the unrest amongst the home supporters was turned up a notch, with many more invading the field of play, one of them being tripped by Barnes and others being helped off by other players.
The incompetence of the stewards was clear to see when one invading ran unopposed to the middle of the pitch with the corner flag and attempted to plant it in a demonstration symbolic of the “Bond Scheme” in the 1990s.
The pitch was invaded, and play stopped, as a result, a further time and at one stage threatened the ongoing match, though both managers later revealed that discussions between them and referee Lee Mason did not centre around a possible abandonment.
But, the protests weren’t just involving the encroachment of the playing surface, in the stands, a much more severe scene was developing, having started after the second goal of the affair.
Hundreds of fans gathered on the concourse below the Director’s Box to chant up at the likes of those in charge at the cub, David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady.
Some had even thrown coins up at them in a demonstration that had lasted for around ten minutes, when the owners were escorted out of the ground for their own safety.
Sir Trever Brooking, a previous player and interim manager in East London, and now Director of Player Development at the club, was left sitting with a sad expression on his face as the supporters sung his name affectionately.
By this stage in the final ten minutes, the chaotic scenes had died down and the match came to a rather swift and quiet end, it had been a very dark day indeed in West Ham’s history.
The backlash of the fans’ behaviour is not yet known with the club investigating, it is being reported that any punishment from playing behind closed door matches to points deductions are on the table from the FA, but there are few doubts over whether we’ve heard the last of this one.
Wood Haunts Hammers Yet Again
While few could concentrate on what was unfolding on the pitch in the final 25 minutes, there can be no denying once clear standout performer for Dyche’s men in super sub Wood.
The New Zealander had come off the bench to win the match for his team at home to Everton the weekend before and would repeat exactly the same feat this time around.
Wood entered the field on 60 minutes having already netted once against West Ham this term, a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor back in October 2017.
His first major involvement came six minutes later, bearing Angelo Ogbonna to a Matt Lowton ball forward, holding it up nicely and feeding it into the middle, there waiting was Barnes to open the scoring in spectacular style with a sublime finish with his possible new national team manager watching from the stands.
However, it would be wood taking centre-stage on the dying embers of the affair, popping up to covert a scuffed Aaron Lennon shot on 70 minutes for his first after an excellent move.
And then ten minutes down the line, being first to the rebound of a Johann Berg Gudmundsson a shot that Joe Hart spilled to squeeze the ball underneath the England keeper and home.
It had been Wood’s influence and decisiveness in the final third that ultimately proved the difference between the two teams, in the end, he is now nailed on for a starting place when his team travel to West Bromwich Albion at the end of the month.
The three points for Dyche’s side was just their second victory of 2018 in any competition and kept up the pressure on Arsenal above in sixth position, remaining seventh and with an excellent chance of making Europe themselves.
Nightmare Return For England Keeper Hart
While the home fingers could have been pointed at attackers such as Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini for missing key chances, there is little doubt that Hart didn’t enjoy the afternoon he had hoped for between the sticks.
The Three Lions No1 was starting his first Premier League match since November 2017, when he was dropped in favour of Adrian San-Miguel, who he replaced in the starting Xl this time around.
Many believed the decision to drop the Spaniard was harsh he had conceded eight in the last two matches, but these came in games where the overall defensive performance was way below par.
The Hammers’ defending this time around had been much better than at Anfield and the Liberty Stadium, though Hart did himself no favours in a World Cup year between the sticks.
With the men in front of him two down inside the final ten minutes, the Manchester City loanee parried a routine Berg Gudmundsson effort straight at him, into the path of Wood to score.
Hart couldn’t be faulted for the first two strikes, but with the bottom half of the table as tight as it is, teams may well have to rely on their goal difference in the end as every goal could matter.
The third straight league loss saw the Irons fall down two places to 16th in the division, remaining just three points above the bottom three, only two places separate them from it now, they’re just one position better off than when Moyes replaced Slaven Bilic presently.
What Did The Managers Have To Say?
It’s now time to have a look at what both managers had to say in their respective post-match press conferences at the London Stadium, which MooreThanJustAClub had the pleasure of being in.
“Yeah, I thought we played well in the first half, probably had two great chances to be in front and should have been in front at half-time.
“I think the first goal was always going to be crucial today whoever got it, Burnley started the second-half a bit better.
“And when we were put under pressure that’s when we had to cope with the one or two opportunities they would come up with.
“But, overall, we should have been in front with our chances in the first half and we had played well.”
“Yeah, really pleased, in the first half we were below par, they were good, we probably did diligence doing the ugly things in the game.
“The shape and the hard work kept us just about hung in there, because they had a couple of great chances.
“And then, the second half, I was so, so pleased with the mentality of the players, we spoke about that at half-time.
“The delivery we felt would be important and they certainly did deliver, some of the quality of the football, was very pleasing in the second half, we just couldn’t’ find it first half.”
So, now that everything there was to talk about from yet another afternoon to forget for West Ham United at the London Stadium, will there be more positive points to draw one come three weeks’ time? After Mauricio Pellegrino’s Southampton have visited Stratford in the league?