A frustrating display from the lads today, with us looking a little laboured and lacking the intensity that has seen us pick up so many points over the last few months.
Thankfully, results earlier in the day mean we are still 6 points (7 points when factoring in goal difference!) ahead of third bottom side Cardiff – so while today’s result wasn’t hugely costly in our bid to stay up, it was a big chance missed to extend the gap and really consolidate our Premier League status.
Rafa insisted before the game that we weren’t safe and mustn’t allow complacency to creep in – and it’s fair to say it did here. We rely on being ‘at it’, and we weren’t today – it’s as simple as that.
We didn’t give West Ham a great deal of chances, but we were just a little too sloppy at both ends, with Schar failing to track Rice’s run and Lejeune’s unnecessary lunge leading to two first half goals that could’ve easily been avoided.
That said, we didn’t create enough at the other end, with us failing to test Fabianski over the first 45 minutes. We came into it a little in the second half, with us finally getting the odd good ball into Rondon, but it just wasn’t to be today, with the odd error at the back and a lack of penetration or final ball up top costing us against a decent West Ham side.
Almiron was quiet in the first half but carried the ball well in the second, Perez was heavily involved but often flattered to deceive or lost possession, while Ritchie frustrated, with a few too many of his crosses being poorly weighted. Uncharacteristic errors from Lejeune and Schar cost us, while it was also a worry to see Longstaff taken off at half time – with it since emerging that he’s left the London Stadium on crutches.
Here’s how the table looks after today’s results:
Elsewhere, Cardiff were beaten comfortably by Wolves, Palace won 3-1 at Burnley, Brighton snuck past Huddersfield and Southampton lost 3-2 at Old Trafford despite taking an early lead.
Here’s our next 5 fixtures, with us facing a few top 10 contenders and Arsenal between now and mid April:
- Everton (H)
- Bournemouth (A)
- Arsenal (A)
- Palace (H)
- Leicester (A)
Today was a reminder that we’ll get beaten if we’re just 10 or 20% below the level expected. As comfortable as our league position may look, we aren’t safe yet and must not get complacent.
Let’s not overreact, let’s just hope we’re much better next time out.
Onto Everton next weekend.