West Ham stunned by Bournemouth fightback
PUBLISHED: 17:11 18 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:11 18 August 2018
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Premier League: West Ham United 1 (Arnautovic 33p) Bournemouth 2 (Wilson 60, Francis 66)
Two matches into the campaign, the Hammers find themselves still looking for both their first points of the season and a return on their £100 million Summer spending spree after this disappointing defeat at London Stadium.
Six days on from Sunday’s forlorn, four-goal defeat at Liverpool, there was yet more claret and blue dejection after Marko Arnautović saw his first-half penalty wiped out by Callum Wilson and Steve Cook inside half-a-dozen disheartening second-half minutes.
These sides had already experienced vastly different opening-day fortunes last weekend and, while the Cherries were, quite predictably, unchanged following their victory over Premier League new boys, Cardiff City, the Hammers made three changes from the side that endured that Merseyside mauling.
With nine new Summer signings to blend into his squad, Manuel Pellegrini handed starts to Robert Snodgrass, Javier Hernández and Pablo Zabaleta in place of an absent trio of Ryan Fredericks, Declan Rice and Michail Antonio, as the Chilean mixologist sought to conjure up a sweeter cocktail for the first home match under his command.
Dan Gosling’s booking for tripping an escaping Jack Wilshere summed up a petulant opening, quarter-hour punctuated by niggly fouls and wayward crosses as neither side got any kind of foothold on the contest.
But midway through the half, Arnautović forced Asmir Begović into the first save of the afternoon, when the Austrian’s low, angled eight-yarder was expertly tipped around his near post by Bournemouth’s Bosnian ‘keeper.
And at the other end, the helplessly-exposed Lukasz Fabianski showed just what he can do, too, when he dived low to deny Wilson with one, strong hand after the Cherries striker had ghosted behind the home defence.
On 33 minutes, though, the deadlock was finally broken, when Hernández cleverly collected from Felipe Anderson inside the Bournemouth area but as he looked to advance towards goal, his standing foot was swept away by Nathan Aké.
With an eagle-eyed assistant bringing the obvious offence to referee Stuart Attwell’s attention after the official had curiously waved play on, long-standing, spot-kick taker Mark Noble left the honours to Arnautović, who gave Begović no chance with the consequent penalty that scorched past the ‘keeper’s right glove before ripping into the bottom left-hand corner.
Having been stood down from penalty-taking duties, Noble was then yellow-carded for scything through Ryan Fraser and, although David Brooks tried his luck with a couple of shots from range before glancing a close-range header wide, the Hammers might even have doubled their lead in stoppage time but Begović saved well from Arnautović.
Just after the restart, with the Hammers still digesting Pellegrini’s half-time team-talk, the dangerous Brooks forced Fabianski into another low, close-range, double stop, while at the other end, the oblivious Aké almost back-headed Anderson’s corner into his own net but the ball was hacked clear.
As the hour-mark approached, Joshua King was booked for a late challenge on Fabián Balbuena and, as the visitors continued to press, Wilson then pulled them level with a fantastic solo run.
Collecting from Steve Cook just inside the Hammers half, the Cherry picked off Balbuena, and Zabaleta as he made his way into the area and, as Angelo Ogbonna, desperately tried to rob him with a last-gasp lunge, the Bournemouth striker rode the challenge and slotted past the lonely figure of Fabianski from eight yards.
Within the space of just half-a-dozen minutes, Bournemouth would turn the game on its head.
Ogbonna was booked for upending Brooks on the right by-line and insult was added to injury for the Italian, who was then outmuscled in the six-yard box by Cook, who sent a downward header bouncing into the roof of the net to give Eddie Howe’s men the lead.
Andriy Yarmolenko immediately replaced Hernández before Carlos Sánchez and Lucas Pérez came on for Snodgrass and Noble but even with those three sets of fresh legs, the Hammers were struggling to rediscover any intensity and incision and, apart from a couple of late cautions for Zabaleta and the Ukrainian substitute, West Ham failed to make any mark on Bournemouth.
HAMMERS: Fabianski, Zabaleta, Masuaku, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Noble (Pérez 77), Wilshere, Snodgrass (Sánchez 77), Anderson, Hernández (Yarmolenko 67), Arnautović. Unused subs: Adrián, Cresswell, Obiang, Diop,
CHERRIES: Begović, Smith, S. Cook, Daniels, Aké, Gosling, Surman, Brooks (Francis 77), Fraser, King (L. Cook 89), Wilson. Unused subs: Boruć, Mousset, Ibe, Defoe, Mings.
Booked: Gosling (16), Noble (39), King (59), Ogbonna (65), Wilshere (77), Zabaleta (90+1), Yarmolenko (90+2)
Referee: Stuart Attwell