Bournemouth had pushed and tried and prompted in their first two Premier League games, but for no reward, and might have come to West Ham United fearing that scoring goals in the Premier League was rather harder than their gluttonous accumulation in the Championship.
What they found, though, was a West Ham team more defensively and organisationally abject than many they will have faced in the lower leagues.
Bournemouth barely had to push in order to carve West Ham open, and their 2-0 half-time lead – which West Ham momentarily clawed back – should have been four.
The visitors kept their heads and turned the game back their way, and the eventual scoreline was no real reflection of the balance of the match. Bournemouth played with discipline, focus, speed and a plan. West Ham had none of those. It was a far worse display than their 2-1 defeat to Leicester City here last weekend. These omens are not good for the Slaven Bilic era.
“They were doing the basics from the first minute better than us,” was Bilic’s accurate assessment of the game. “We cannot afford to start the game like this.”
It all began when Simon Francis raced down the right wing and Aaron Cresswell assumed he could safely shepherd the ball out of play. It proved to be an error, not Cresswell’s last, and Francis reached the by-line before pulling the ball back to Callum Wilson (left), who thumped in Bournemouth’s first Premier League goal. That should have woken West Ham up but it did not, and they managed to concede an even worse goal soon after. Trying to play out from the back, Cresswell miscued a pass and played in Wilson, who beat Darren Randolph again.
The crowd turned, adopting a mood in which everything was an insult: Wilson’s second goal, the curious replacement of Angelo Ogbonna with James Collins and then Josh King’s skied attempt to score a third.
The first half ended with Randolph denying Max Gradel, and the undeniable sense – this was Eddie Howe’s “only disappointment” of the day – that the two-goal margin was half of what it should have been.
It only took eight second-half minutes for West Ham to apply a sticking plaster on their first-half disaster, for what it was worth. First King tripped Mark Noble, who converted from the penalty spot. Then, Cheikhou Kouyate was first on the rebound after Artur Boruc saved from Diafra Sakho.
If West Ham had any chance to win this match they had to take advantage right then, when momentum was on their side. But they did not and, soon enough, the same old problems cost them again.
Marc Pugh was on for King and West Ham simply could not pick him up. He stung Randolph’s gloves from the edge of the box before putting Bournemouth back in front, shuffling into space and curling the ball into the far top corner. Howe said it was “the key goal”.
Bournemouth settled again and ended the game with a moment that summed it all up. Carl Jenkinson tried to clear an innocuous ball, only to be beaten to it by Gradel, who scampered away from him. Jenkinson pulled him down and was sent off. Wilson completed his hat-trick from the spot.
There was time for a consolation for Modibo Maiga – a ridiculous scorer for this ridiculous match – but West Ham lost it long before.
West Ham: (4-2-3-1) Randolph; Jenkinson, Reid, Ogbonna (Tomkins, 35), Cresswell; Obiang, Noble; Nolan (Jarvis, 45), Kouyate, Payet; Sakho (Maiga, 72)
Bournemouth: (4-4-2) Boruc; Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels; Ritchie, O’Kane, Surman, Gradel (Gosling, 85); Wilson, King (Pugh, 51)
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Man of the match: Wilson (Bournemouth)
Match rating: 9/10Reuse content