Norwich City 2-2 West Ham United
West Ham travelled to Norwich who have just dropped down into the relegation zone, which certainly added an extra need for the home team.
The first half was played at a fast pace, end to end with both team attacking each other but in general losing the ball before anything can develop. Neither team managed to create any real chances, with the Canaries not registering a shot on target in the entire first 45 minutes.
The one regret I think we should take from the first half, where we could have really won the game there and then. Is the fact that we failed to take advantage of Norwich’s persistent offside trap. Enner Valencia alone was caught offside several times and that was extremely frustrating to see. A little more discipline with his runs and he could have created some potentially very dangerous attacks for us, and perhaps even put the Hammers ahead.
A fairly disappointing first half for West Ham, but certainly one of our best starts in an away game for a good while. Improvement is always a good thing to see and learn from.
The second half did not get off to a good start for West Ham, as Norwich stepped up their game. And the breakthrough goal came from them, as Antonio lost the ball in a dangerous position which left the defence vulnerable. Which Brady well and truly exploited with an accurate weak footed shot into the goal of the under side of Adrian’s bar.
The second goal came just over 10 minutes later, a shot deflected into Hoolahan’s path who may have been in an offside position to neatly tuck away for a 2-0 lead. One positive that West Ham could still hold onto is that Norwich have one of the worst defensive records and are known to throw away good leads.
Bilic had to try and use his reserve players to get back into the game, Moses who was one of them players done exactly that. He brought an extra energy and directness to our play. Finally one of our attacks was rewarded with a goal and a needed route back into the game. Moses done well to get back up after being knocked over, got his shot away which thankfully fell to Dimitri Payet fresh from signing a contract extension with West Ham.
In less than 2 minutes we were on level terms coming from 2 goals down. Payet this time was the provider as he set up Mark Noble who striked the ball from outside the penalty area and flew into the net to make it 2-2. An England call up maybe more deserved now than ever before for the ever present Noble.
West Ham showed good character to come from 2-0 down, which is never an easy thing to do in the Premier League. Even with this positive, a game like this isn’t one we should coming out of without a win and that is disappointing to see, especially as they are one of the bottom 3 teams. With a few recent bad results we have now fallen one place to 7th in the league table.
Another point to take from the game, it was good to see Payet playing more like himself which he hasn’t in the past few games. His best game in a while, and no surprise this has come as he appeared to play more of a central role.
Adrian 7/10 – Not much to do and couldn’t have done anything to prevent the goals we conceded.
Byram 7/10 – Encouraging game as he beds into the new team. An attacking threat as well as his primary defending responsibility.
Collins 7/10 – Average game, not much wrong but felt he wasted possession of the ball at times.
Ogbonna 7/10 – Nothing near to his mid week heroics, but the Italian had a decent game.
Cresswell 7/10 – Like most players, had an average game.
Noble 8/10 – Solid again, and a goal to his name in a season to remember for him.
Obiang 6/10 – Awarded with a start today but in my eyes failed to make a real impact on the game.
Song 5/10 – Wasn’t very impressed with him today, and was subbed just over the hour mark in the game.
Antonio 6/10 – Looks tired to me, maybe a game break is in need. At fault for the opening goal but has been good since being given his chance.
Valencia 6/10 – Can’t remember a good chance for him if any at all. The constant offsides were annoying to see and lazy on his part.
Payet 8/10 – A goal and an assist, in a very good game for the frenchman.
Man of The Match
Dimitri Payet is the player to get the man of the match for the Norwich game. Like mentioned above, a goal and an assist and generally played well during the 90 minutes. Looked good on the ball, but still doesn’t look as sharp as he has done previously this season. His goal was something different from we have seen this season, a close range finish but he showed good awareness to be in the right place at the right time to score his goal.
Next up we are back in FA Cup action, as we travel to Blackburn Rovers for a fifth round tie at Ewood Park. A good chance to progress into the quarter final stage for quite some time, and hopefully a game where we can play some youngsters like Oxford and Parfitt-Williams to name a few, and give some of the senior players a needed break. Antonio is a player who looks to need a rest after playing virtually every game since breaking into the team and maybe the mistake for the goal today is down to that. With Lanzini and Sakho nearing a return to the team, the squad looks to be gaining it’s depth back which will be a crucial factor going into the last stage of the league season.