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West Ham have reasons to be cheerful despite Brighton defeat

PUBLISHED: 11:40 08 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:59 08 October 2018

West Ham United's Fabian Balbuena (left) and Brighton & Hove Albion's Solly March battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.

West Ham United's Fabian Balbuena (left) and Brighton & Hove Albion's Solly March battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.

PA Wire/PA Images

Missed chances are so costly for Hammers as bogey man Murray stops the Hammers march

Brighton & Hove Albion's Beram Kayal (left) and West Ham United's Pedro Obiang battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.Brighton & Hove Albion's Beram Kayal (left) and West Ham United's Pedro Obiang battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.

It is all very well beating Manchester United and drawing with Chelsea, but it is games like this trip to Brighton which are the Premier League bread and butter and West Ham failed the test.

It wasn’t if they played badly. At times they showed some of the passing that had put United to the sword.

But when the vital moments arrived the Hammers were left wanting. They failed to mark bogeyman Glenn Murray for the winning goal, while at the other end, they missed some glorious chances to grab something from the game.

The best teams find a way to get something from a game, even when they are trailing. West Ham huffed and puffed, had plenty of possession, a load of corners and some good efforts, but on the night it was not enough.

West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic takes a free kick during the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic takes a free kick during the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.

Andriy Yarmolenko and Arthur Masuaku were the villains of the piece.

Throughout, the Ukrainian seemed to be out of sorts, he lost the ball, moaned about it and didn’t help his team.

The Frenchman showed once again that he is not a defender, which is a problem when you are playing at left-back.

Last week they had coped with nemesis Romelu Lukaku, this week they couldn’t deal with a man who thrives on playing West Ham.

Brighton & Hove Albion's Anthony Knockaert (left) and West Ham United's Arthur Masuaku battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.Brighton & Hove Albion's Anthony Knockaert (left) and West Ham United's Arthur Masuaku battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.

But despite that, the Hammers deserved to get something out of this game. This was not like the two horrible clashes with Chris Hughton’s Seagulls last season., this was not like the opening four games of this season.

There was so much to admire in West Ham’s play and to say that they did not get the rub of the green is an understatement.

“We didn’t play in the first half in the way we must,” said a frustrated Manuel Pellegrini afterwards. “We talked before the game that it would be decided by one or two balls and we were unlucky to lose the game in the end.

“We created three clear chances in the second half. They had just one [in the first] and they scored.”

That was not quite true. Murray had another free header slip just over the bar, while Lukasz Fabianski did make a couple of decent saves.

But it was the Hammers who controlled much of this game, especially in the second half as they restricted Brighton to breakaways.

“I think we played well in the second half, we dominated, we created chances but we just didn’t score.

“We had another team in front of us, who played at home and played well also. They didn’t create too many chances, but it was not a game we should lose.”

He is dead right. Having got on a good run with a three-match unbeaten run against some decent teams, this was a step backwards that simply should not have happened.

Having created three really good chances, the teams that West Ham are looking to run shoulders with this season, would not have spurned them all.

“The team is in progress,” said the manager. “We didn’t play a bad game, but we must continue improving.”

It is a little kick up the backside for the players and there is no doubt that Pellegrini will not let them take their eye off the ball again.

As he says, there is still plenty of work to be done, but Pellegrini will make sure that they do it.

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