Sunday, August 21

Daily WHUFC News - 22nd August 2016

Antonio late show crushes Cherries

Michail Antonio stole the headlines as he scored a dramatic late winner to
hand West Ham their first ever Premier League victory at the new Stadium
with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth.

Antonio wrote his name into the record books when he became the first ever
scorer for the Club at their new home in the top flight and it was a moment
to remember for the talented winger.

The game looked to be heading for a draw until Gokhan Tore picked up the
ball down the left hand side on 84 minutes and played in a superb cross
towards the far post.

Antonio rose above the Bournemouth defence and directed an unstoppable
header into the back of the net to hand West Ham a memorable first victory
in the top flight this season.

The Hammers winger is no stranger to scoring big goals for the Club having
scored the winner against Tottenham last season and also got on the
scoresheet in the final ever game at the Boleyn Ground.

It was always going to be an emotional day for the Hammers as they played
the first Premier League at the new Stadium, but Slaven Bilic and his
players marked the occasion with all three points.

The London Stadium became the 55th different venue to host a Premier League
game and the Club record attendance of 57,977 fans who were present made it
a day to remember with a superb atmosphere.

Despite having to make a number of changes to the side, Slaven Bilic's side
still created the best openings in the first half and could have taken the
lead after just seven minutes.

Michail Antonio was employed in a more attacking role playing down the left
hand side and caused all kinds of problems for the Bournemouth defence with
his pace and trickery.

The ball eventually fell to Gokhan Tore who curled a shot just past the

Another new signing Arthur Masuaku looked impressive once again at left back
and tried his luck from 30-yards but the ball flew well wide of the post.

The Hammers continued to dominate and came close again on 36 minutes.

Tore broke free into the Bournemouth half and raced towards goal before
laying the ball into the path of Antonio who struck his shot into the side

The home side came the closest to breaking the deadlock on 40 minutes when
Enner Valencia struck a shot from the tightest of angles but his shot
produced a fine save from Artur Boruc diving away to his left hand side.

Bournemouth created their first major chance on 53 minutes when Joshua King
broke free in the West Ham half and fired a shot which produced a superb one
handed save from Adrian diving away to his left hand side.

The Hammers came close again on 59 minutes when Mark Noble released Antonio
down the left hand side and his first time cross picked out Tore who struck
an acrobatic volley inches past the post.

Bournemouth were reduced to ten-men on 77 minutes when Harry Arter picked up
his second yellow card of the game following a reckless challenge on
Cheikhou Kouyate.

The Hammers made the extra man count as they scored the decisive winner on
85 minutes.

Tore did superbly well to cross in from the left hand side and Antonio rose
the highest at the far post to direct a powerful header into the back of the

The Hammers produced a great piece of defending in injury time to hold onto
the three points as Adrian produced a fine save to stop King's shot and when
the rebound fell to Simon Francis, his powerful goalbound shot was superbly
blocked by Winston Reid.

New signing Jonathan Calleri also had a chance to seal the victory when he
was clean through on goal but he fired his shot inches past the post.

West Ham held on to record a crucial victory and will now prepare for the
second leg of the Europa League Play-Off game against Astra Giurgiu on
Thursday night.

West Ham: Adrian; Byram, Reid, Collins, Masuaku; Kouyate, Nordtveit
(Fletcher 79), Noble; Tore (Obiang 89), Valencia (Calleri 63), Antonio

Subs not used: Randolph, Ogbonna, Burke, Oxford

Bookings: Byram, Reid

Bournemouth: Boruc; Adam Smith, Francis, Steve Cook, Daniels; Fraser
(Gosling 86), Surman, Arter; Ibe (Ake 78), Callum Wilson (Grabban 74), King

Subs not used: Afobe, Gradel, Brad Smith, Federici

Bookings: Arter, Cook

Sent Off: Arter

Referee: Craig Pawson

Attendance: 56,977

Bilic - We just deserved it

Slaven Bilic said West Ham United 'just deserved' to open Premier League
life at London Stadium with a 1-0 win over ten-man AFC Bournemouth.

Michail Antonio – restored to a more attacking role on the left wing –
headed the Hammers to victory with just five minutes remaining, rising above
Charlie Daniels to power home Gokhan Tore's left-wing cross.

Moments after Cherries midfielder Harry Arter had been sent-off, the No30
ended a challenging week on a high and celebrated with a Macarena dance
before being engulfed by his delighted teammates.

For manager Bilic, the pleasure of seeing his side win was all the greater
as he was without the combined attacking talents of Dimitri Payet, Manuel
Lanzini, Andy Carroll, Andre Ayew, Sofiane Feghouli and Diafra Sakho.

"I'm good as it was a nice day today as the lads were brilliant," he said.
"We didn't expect to play great football and play like Brazil and pass,
pass, pass because, with the greatest respect, we were missing four of our
most-creative players.

"Against Bournemouth, a team full of energy and really good in terms of team
spirit, we showed aggression and compactness and created a few chances. I
didn't expect more than that, but we scored from one of those moves, so I
think we just deserved it."

Bilic praised the approach shown by match-winner Antonio, who began his week
by giving away a penalty and being substituted at Chelsea on Monday, and
ended it as the Hammers' match-winner in their first-ever Premier League
match at London Stadium.

"Michail is that kind of player," he said. "He is very versatile and can
play in a few positions. He could play really well as a striker as well,
with his pace and in the air.

"When balls come in and are delivered to the far post and he's in a
challenge with any full-back in the Premier League, it's up to him. Last
year he scored six of his seven goals with his head, so he is good at it."

The manager gave fans a further boost by revealing that attacking midfield
pair Lanzini and Payet could both return from injury for Thursday's UEFA
Europa League play-off second leg with Romanian champions Astra Giurgiu.

At the same time, with Ayew and Carroll out for a while, Bilic did suggest
that West Ham's summer transfer dealings might not quite be over.

"A few of them, like Lanzini and Payet, should be back Thursday and if not
Thursday then Sunday," he said. "So if we are talking about creation from
midfield we will be more than all right with them, because nobody has got
five players like them. With Andy and Andre, they are more long-term
injuries. Hopefully Andre will be back on 1 December.

"Are we going to try to get one? We're going to try to get one if possible.
The Chairman is going to be very generous, I think, and we're going to get
one if we can find a proper one, but they're very hard to find.

"I'm going to speak to the Chairman and our Head of Recruitment on Monday
morning and if we can get one, it has to be a good one. If we don't get one,
I have lads who are going to fight for West Ham, big time!"

Antonio – It's great to write history

Michail Antonio scores West Ham United's first Premier League goal at London
85th minute header gives Slaven Bilic's men 1-0 win over AFC Bournemouth
26-year-old thrilled to get the Hammers' season up and running

Michail Antonio was thrilled to write his name in the history books as West
Ham United's first Premier League goalscorer at London Stadium and help his
team to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over AFC Bournemouth on Sunday.

Antonio rose at the far post to nod Gokhan Tore's pinpoint cross beyond
Artur Boruc and break the Cherries' resistance with just five minutes left.

The 26-year-old has developed a handy knack of notching vital goals for the
Hammers and this was no different as Slaven Bilic's men got their league
season up and running.

"It feels amazing to be the first Premier League goalscorer at London
Stadium and it's one of those things I can always tell my kids," he beamed.

"I had an interview last year and I was asked if I'd rather be the last
goalscorer at the Boleyn Ground or the first goalscorer here – I said both,
but this is a great feeling!

"It's always great to be in history and especially so as the goal won us the

"It was a nice bit of play, the ball held up nicely for Gokhan and it was
one of those that I'm always going to be there [at the far post].

"I tell the boys if I'm not there they can cane me, because if I'm not at
the far stick it's my fault. They can expect me to be there, and today he's
done it for me. It was easy pickings."

Antonio has become renowned for his eye-catching goal celebrations during
his time with the Hammers and Sunday was no different.

"It was the Macarena this time," he added. "I didn't get to finish it as the
boys were jumping all over me and to be honest the emotion was amazing.

"The roar from the fans was outrageous. It was deafening. What a great day."

The former Nottingham Forest man is sure the Hammers will push on from the
boost of recording their first league win of the season, with vital games
against Astra Giurgiu and Manchester City to follow this week.

He explained: "We've always had the grit and we're always going to keep
going. Right now we've got the first three points in the Premier League and
hopefully we can keep going and push on.

"It's going to be a massive lift for us. To get the first three points as
early as possible is always important. We've got it in the second game of
the season and that's nice."

Hammers midfielder ready for Newcastle test

Midfielder Noha Sylvestre is ready for West Ham PL2's clash against
Newcastle United on Monday
The side beat Stoke City in their Premier League 2 opener last weekend
They take on the Magpies at their new home at Dagenham & Redbridge FC's
Chigwell Construction Stadium

West Ham United Premier League 2 face Newcastle United in their first home
match at Dagenham & Redbridge's Chigwell Construction Stadium on Monday and
midfielder Noha Sylvestre can't wait for the clash.

The Swiss youth international played 30 minutes in the side's 3-0 victory
over Stoke City last weekend as Terry Westley's team began their league
campaign with a win.

And, playing in front of what is hoped will be a big crowd on Monday at the
Daggers' ground, Sylvestre is looking forward to the occasion.

He said: "I've never played at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground before, and I
can't wait to get out there against Newcastle. We're hoping to get lots of
supporters there for the whole of this season, so I think it will be great
for us to play there.

"I played half an hour against Stoke at right-back, and I enjoyed the game.
Our performance was very good, and I put some good crosses in during my
time. I still have to work hard at right-back, because I'm still learning
the position, but I'm trying to be better every game.

"I think the important thing with the win was to get confident for the rest
of the season. That first game is always a big thing, and you have to get
through that after a long pre-season. A 3-0 win is not easy, but it has left
us feeling very confident and we're ready to go again and try and get
another good result against Newcastle."

Toni Martinez and Ashley Fletcher, as well as a Stoke own goal, helped the
Hammers to victory in Staffordshire, and Sylvestre believes the Hammers' PL2
squad is stronger than ever.

"We have a really great group of players this season," he continued. "We
have to do well this season with the players that we have got.

"It's obviously good for me because it means I can progress more, playing
with quality players. The likes of having Toni and Ash up front is really
exciting for us.

"Everyone is ready for Newcastle. We're obviously working hard in training,
and we have two big games coming up. The first one is a bit like a second
game; it's about getting ready for the rest of the campaign. I think we'll
do well."

Entrance to Monday's Premier League 2 clash is free for season ticket
holders, with adults and children tickets priced at £5 and £3 respectively.

SUN, 21 AUG 2016
West Ham United 1-0 Bournemouth
By Shamoon Hafez
BBC Sport

Michail Antonio scored five minutes from time to give West Ham victory over
Bournemouth in the first Premier League match at the London Stadium.

Antonio rose highest at the back post to head in Gokhan Tore's cross and
decide a game of few chances.

The goal came eight minutes after Bournemouth's Harry Arter was sent off for
a second bookable offence.

Cherries goalkeeper Artur Boruc saved well from Enner Valencia in the first
half, while Adrian denied Joshua King.

London Stadium
Large banks of seats were left vacated inside the London Stadium
A club-record 56,977 supporters were in attendance as West Ham played their
first league match at their new home, having left Upton Park at the end of
last season.

As the players came on to the pitch, the traditional bubbles were blown in
to the air and their club song played over the tannoy.

For the most part the home supporters were fairly quiet, though, with the
vast arena meaning they are not as close to the pitch.

In fact, the noise levels were so low the travelling Bournemouth contingent
chanted "is this the Emirates?" in reference to the atmosphere at Arsenal's

But having seen their team concede late in Monday's league defeat by Chelsea
and Thursday's Europa League qualifying draw with Astra Giurgiu, the Hammers
fans had a late goal of their own to cheer when Antonio nodded in.

South coast side's stuttering start

Bournemouth's start to the season will concern manager Eddie Howe. The
Cherries have lost their opening two games to slip to the bottom of the

They created very little against West Ham and tested goalkeeper Adrian just
twice through King - the second in stoppage time when the Spaniard got down
well to save.

Club-record signing Jordon Ibe showed flashes of his talent with his direct
running, but fluffed a big chance in the second half when he squared the
ball rather than shooting when in front goal.

Once midfielder Arter was dismissed - his first yellow card for dissent
towards the assistant referee, and second for dragging back Cheikhou Kouyate
- Bournemouth dropped closer to their own area and were soon punished.

What they said:

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic: "It was difficult, we knew it would be. The guys
did brilliantly. Bournemouth were better than us in the first 15 minutes of
the second half but they didn't hurt us.

"We just deserved it. We were pushing and wanted it more. We're delighted to
end the first game at this beautiful stadium with a win and a clean sheet."

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe: "It was a tight game with little goalmouth
action. It was going to swing on a moment of brilliance or a mistake.
Unfortunately the mistake for us was going down to 10 men.

"We've been told about dissent - it's been drilled into us. If we lose our
discipline we could have a flurry of red cards. Unfortunately we fell victim
to that. The first booking has really cost us."

What next?

West Ham host Romanian side Astra Giurgiu in the second leg of their Europa
League qualifying play-off match on Thursday (kick-off 19:45 BST). The match
is tied 1-1 after the first leg.

Bournemouth travel to Morecambe in the EFL Cup on Tuesday at 19:45 BST.

The stats you need to know

The London Stadium became the 55th different venue to host a Premier League
Michail Antonio scored in West Ham's final Premier League match at Upton
Park and netted their first league goal at the London Stadium
Seven of Antonio's nine Premier League goals for West Ham have come at home
Antonio has scored a joint league-high seven headed goals since the start of
the 2015-16 season (level with Arsenal's Olivier Giroud)

Andy Carroll: West Ham striker out for up to six weeks

West Ham striker Andy Carroll has been ruled out for between four and six
weeks with a knee injury.

The 27-year-old was injured during Thursday's 1-1 draw away to Romanian
champions Astra Giurgiu in their Europa League play-off first leg.

Hammers boss Slaven Bilic told BBC Sport: "Hopefully it will be four weeks.
It's nothing major. But it's very sad for him and us.

"It's a big problem for us without him. We're counting on him big time."

Earlier this week, Bilic lost £20m club-record signing Andre Ayew to a thigh
injury for four months.

Carroll has had a series of injury setbacks since joining West Ham from
Liverpool in 2012, initially on a season's loan before the deal was made

The forward, who has played nine times for England, has spent about half of
his time at the club out injured.

His latest setback adds to a growing casualty list for Bilic.

Aaron Cresswell, Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini are also out injured,
while midfielder Dimitri Payet is still regaining full fitness, having been
given a break after helping France reach the final at Euro 2016 in July.

West Ham 1-0 Bournemouth: Michail Antonio secures win on London Stadium
league debut
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 21/08/16 8:50pm

Michail Antonio's late goal earned West Ham a 1-0 victory over 10-man
Bournemouth in their first Premier League match at the London Stadium.

For most of the afternoon, it looked as though the Hammers were set to be
frustrated on their league debut at their new home, with clear chances
scarce at either end.

However, after Harry Arter was shown a second yellow card for bringing down
Cheikhou Kouyate, the hosts got the breakthrough as Antonio headed home from
Gokhan Tore's cross in the 85th minute.

Adrian pulled off a sharp save to deny Josh King in injury-time and Jonathan
Calleri spurned a brilliant chance for a goal on his Premier League debut
when he shot wide with just the keeper to beat.

Before Arter's dismissal there had been little to excite a club-record
attendance of 56,977, as the action on the pitch failed to match the

The Hammers were not helped by the unavailability of a number of first-team
players, including striker Andy Carroll, who is facing a few weeks out with
a knee injury.

Dimitri Payet and Sofiane Feghouli were also not involved, along with
club-record signing Andre Ayew, who has been ruled out for several months
after suffering a thigh injury in the opening game against Chelsea.

Bournemouth made one change from last weekend as Ryan Fraser replaced Lewis

In their only previous competitive match at the London Stadium, in the
Europa League, the Hammers scored twice in the first half, but a repeat of
that looked unlikely throughout a tight opening 45 minutes.

While the hosts dominated possession, they struggled to create any clear

Gokhan Tore shot over the bar and then might have won a penalty when he was
fouled right on the edge of the box by Charlie Daniels, with a free-kick
given instead.

It took until the 40th minute for the first shot on target as Artur Boruc
kept out a near-post shot from Enner Valencia.

The visitors rarely threatened in the opening 45 minutes, but went close
after the interval as Josh King's long-range shot was brilliantly tipped
over by Adrian.

At the other end, Tore volleyed into the side netting, but opportunities
remained at a premium until Arter was dismissed in the 78th minute for
bringing down Kouyate.

The Hammers then pressed for a winner and it was Antonio who delivered,
heading home at the back post from Tore's cross.

King almost equalised in injury-time when he saw a close-range shot kept out
by Adrian, before Calleri raced clear, only to shoot wide.

Player ratings

West Ham: Adrian (7), Byram (6), Collins (6), Reid (7), Masuaku (6),
Nordtveit (6), Tore (6), Noble (6), Kouyate (7), Antonio (7), Valencia (6).

Subs: Obiang (n/a), Fletcher (n/a), Calleri (5).

Bournemouth: Boruc (6), Francis (6), Cook (6), A.Smith (6), Daniels (6),
Surman (6), Arter (5), Fraser (6), Ibe (5), King (6), Wilson (6).

Subs used: Ake (n/a), Gosling (n/a), Grabban (6).

Man of the Match: Michail Antonio

Slaven Bilic: West Ham are looking for one more 'good' signing
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 21/08/16 7:48pm

Slaven Bilic says West Ham are going to try to sign one more "good" player
before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

The Hammers won on their Premier League debut at their new London Stadium on
Sunday, with Michail Antonio's late goal securing a 1-0 victory over

However, they have been beset by injuries, with Andy Carroll out for a few
weeks with a knee problem and club-record signing Andre Ayew facing several
months on the sidelines after suffering a thigh injury in the opening day
defeat to Chelsea.

Bilic admitted the Hammers could now make another move in the transfer
market in a bid to strengthen their squad.

"Are we going to be very active? We are going to try to get one," the West
Ham boss told Sky Sports. "The chairman is going to be very generous and he
will get one if we find the proper one, it's very hard now.

"There is no club in Europe that has been linked with more players than West
Ham and most of them are not true.

"I am going to speak with the chairman and director of recruitment on Monday
and if we get one, it's got to be a good one."

The Hammers struggled to create chances against Bournemouth and it looked
like they might be frustrated on their league debut at their new home.

However, Antonio's 85th-minute header secured victory after Harry Arter had
been sent off for a second booking.

"It was a nice day," said Bilic. "The lads were brilliant, it wasn't a great
game, we didn't expect to play like Brazil because we were missing four out
of six of those kind of players.

"We were really good in terms of effort, team spirit, aggression and we
created a few chances. I didn't expect us to create more, and from one of
those we scored, I thought we deserved it."

Bilic also praised Antonio, who was taken off in the defeat to Chelsea on
the opening weekend after conceding a penalty.

"He is very versatile and when the balls are coming in towards the far post
and he is in a challenge with any full-back it's up to him," he said. "Last
year six of his seven goals were headers."

West Ham need time to adapt to London Stadium, says Alan Smith
Former Olympic Stadium "flat" on Premier League bow, says Sky Sports

Last Updated: 21/08/16 7:46pm

Alan Smith believes it could take West Ham some time to adapt to their new
surroundings at the London Stadium, following a "flat" Premier League bow
against Bournemouth. The Hammers opened the doors to their new 57,000-seater
home on Super Sunday, as it hosted its first top-flight encounter following
the club's move from Upton Park. Michail Antonio's late header ensured the
West Ham supporters went home with something to cheer about, sealing a 1-0
victory over the Cherries. Until that point, though, there was little to get
those attendance excited as a drab affair on the pitch replicated itself in
the stands of the former Olympic Stadium "At times it was flat," Sky Sports
co-commentator Smith said. "The fans didn't have much to shout about for
large parts of the match, did they? "I think they wanted to get behind the
team and, every now and then, the West Ham fans did burst into song. "I
suppose the fans will have to get used to the stadium, just like Arsenal
fans at the Emirates. "It's a different sort of feeling at the London
Stadium than it was at Upton Park."
Of course, West Ham have already played at their new stadium ahead of making
its Premier League debut Slovenian side NK Domzale had the honour of being
the first visiting team to play at the Hammers' Stratford-based ground,
losing 3-0 in a Europa League qualifier. The stadium was officially opened
three days after that when Serie A champions Juventus travelled over for a
pre-season friendly. And, having spoken to people in attendance at those
games, Smith is certain it will not be long before the spine-tingling
atmosphere synonymous with the Boleyn Ground could be sampled at West Ham's
new home. "Some people that were here for the Juventus game, when they
played better, did say the noise was incredible," he added. "The stadium is
designed to keep in the noise so when they get used to it, feel at home and
get the 57,000 fans behind them, it will be a noisy place to come."


Written by Sam Royden-Ryell

After a tough opening fixture away to Chelsea on Monday night, big decisions
going against us and injuries pilling up, we welcomed a very good
Bournemouth side to the London Stadium; a team who beat us 4-3 at the Boleyn
Ground last season. The referee appointed for this game week two fixture was
Craig Pawson.

In a first half, which lacked quality from both teams, Pawson had a
relatively quiet half until the 23rd minute when Gökhan Töre was brought
down on the edge of the Bournemouth area by Charlie Daniels. In realtime and
without replays, the foul looked like it was outside the area but the
replays showed that contact was made on Töre's right foot, which was planted
on the white line of the 18 yard box. If Pawson or his assistant saw this,
it would of been a penalty as the 18 yard line is considered part of the
area. This would have been an extremely difficult decision to make from
Pawson's position. The assistant referee also had a tough view as he would
have been on the shoulder of the last defender, around 10 yards away from
the incident without a clear view.

We saw two cautions in the first half for dissent with the referees and as
mentioned before, the FA are wanting to crack down on intolerable behaviour
by the players. The first caution was for Harry Arter after the Bournemouth
player raised his arm to block Cheikhou Kouyaté cross. Arter protested with
the assistant referee and that was enough to be punished. Winston Reid was
the second player to be cautioned in the final stages of the first half
after the Kiwi international protested the assistant referee's decision
after Reid thought it came off the Bournemouth player for a goal kick;
instead the assistant referee signalled for a corner. Pawson cautioned Reid
for his over animated reaction.

Steve Cook was another one of the four players cautioned in the first half.
West Ham were on a promising attack on the half way line when Enner Valencia
was fouled from behind by Cook. Pawson correctly played the advantage as
West Ham were on the attack and cautioned Cook before Pawson restarted the
game. Sam Byram was also cautioned in the first half after a series of poor
challenges by the West Ham right back. Byram blocked a Bournemouth player
just outside the Bournemouth 18 yard box and then fouled Callum Wilson from
behind just inside West Ham's half. If these fouls were separate incidences
during the game, both would warrant a caution. However, Pawson made the
decision to only caution Byram for both fouls rather than two separate
bookable offences for each foul, therefore you could say Byram was lucky.

In my opinion the second half was as poor as the first half unfortunately.
There were a few things Pawson had to deal with including a sending off for
the Bournemouth side. After being cautioned in the first half for dissent,
Harry Arter was sent off for a second bookable offence after pulling
Cheikhou Kouyaté. The West Ham powerhouse midfielder was steaming down the
right wing on a counter attack. Pawson got this spot on and it shows how
costly it is to receive a booking for something as unnecessary as dissent.
Pawson cautioned Pedro Obiang after being on the pitch for less than 60
seconds for bringing downing down Bournemouth's Adam Smith. There were a
range of other fouls throughout the second half however these required no

In my opinion, I thought that Craig Pawson had a good game. Pawson was in
control of the game from the first minute to the last and I agreed with his
decision making throughout the game. The only thing that we could spend time
talking about was the potential penalty in the first half but I guarantee
that without replays, we would not be speaking about this. As a referee, you
make a decision on what you can see and I feel that Pawson's position was
good however it is always an extremely tight decision to make and you cannot
take anything away from his performance. A note on West Ham; It was a poor
game for all and our performance was nowhere near to what we can do but
considering playing Chelsea on Monday and against Astra in Romania on
Thursday – it was always going to be a tough game. On the other hand, 3
point is 3 points in the Premier League and hopefully we can kick start
again after the first win at the London Stadium. We welcome Astra to the
London Stadium on Thursday and a win will secure us Europa League football
this season.

Let us know your thoughts @TheWestHamWay and @SamRoyden using the hashtag
#AskWestHamWayRef with your thoughts, opinions and questions.


West Ham United 1- AFC Bournemouth 0

By @WestHamAmerican

West Ham won 1-0 today against AFC Bournemouth in the first Premier League
match ever in the Hammer's new Olympic Stadium home. Despite the
long-awaited excitement surrounding the home side's new grounds, the feel in
East London has been one of frustration. An epidemic outbreak of injuries
has struck the starting XI of the team over the past two weeks. Late word
last night that Andy Carroll had also picked up a knee injury during his
play in the Europa League meant that West Ham's attacking options were
severely limited.

Fortunately as play opened, Bournemouth showed similar dysfunction in their
own attack. During the first half of play it was primarily a defensive
affair. Neither goalkeeper suffered too much stress during the opening 45
minutes in the sun of an East London Sunday afternoon. Enner Valencia,
taking the start at striker in place of the injured Carroll and Ayew, was
unable to find that first goal in the new stadium. He did have the first
shot on target in the 40th minute of play; however Boruc was able to handle
the strike. Two minutes later Antonio, finally playing in his preferred
wing spot, had another shot, but failed to threaten the goal.

For all of West Ham's problems in the final third of the pitch, Eddie Howe's
side showed even less action in the opening half of play.

During the second half, Howe seemed to inspire his players a bit as they
dominated the opening ten minutes of play. Adrian was forced into action a
number of times, including a 53rd Joshua King strike which the Spaniard
acrobatically tapped over the crossbar.

In the 61st minute, Bilic felt he needed a change of pace at forward and
replaced Valencia with Jonathan Calleri. He also switch Antonio and Tore to
opposite side wingers. The change failed to yield immediate result as the
Cherries played stubborn defense behind the ball.

The sleepy home opener for the Hammers changed greatly when Kouyate was
striding down the far touchline on counter attack and Harry Arter, already
on a yellow, pulled him to the turf. With Arter receiving a red card, Bilic
quickly changed the makeup of this attack. He brought 20 year old Ashley
Fletcher in for Nordtviet, as a second forward to find the match winning

Moments later the Stratford crowd cheered as Antonio driving towards goal
sent his cross towards Fletcher. Drifting too high for Fletcher, Tore
chased the ball towards the opposite touch line, turned it into the box, and
crossed back to Antonio, who was crashing from the far side post and his
header gave West Ham their long-awaited lead.

Hoping to preserve the slim lead against a ten-man squad, Bilic brought on
Pedro Obiang for Tore, to give more defensive aggressiveness in the
midfield. The Cherries weren't about to go into the night quietly. During
the final minutes of the stoppage time a Bournemouth freekick fell to King
who sent a mighty strike straight to Adrian who parried it back to Francis.
His shot was blocked by a heady Winston Reid standing on the line averting
disaster in the late minutes of play.

Bournemouth had a corner kick in the closing seconds but it was sent clear
to Mark Noble and Calleri who had a clear drive to goal beyond as the final
moments of added time ticked off. Calleri's shot on goal was wide, but
Craig Pawson's final whistle gave West Ham their first Premier League
victory of the season and first at the new stadium.

With at least seven of the top eleven players for the West Ham first team
healing from injury this week, West Ham will have to patch together another
close match to win the second leg of the Europa round with Astra Giurgiu on
Tuesday evening. The sledding doesn't get easier as Sunday West Ham travels
to Manchester City to face their expensive starting XI. Slaven Bilic will
certainly welcome the international break before the Hammers return home to
face Watford on September 10. By then the summer transfer window will close
and there will be a lot more questions answered regarding the depth of this
seemingly fragile team.

But after a week of crying for more transfers, outcry over standing and
sitting, and a longing for the familiar feel of Upton Park, West Ham walked
off today with three points and a much better feel going into a brutal week
of football.

West Ham: Adrian; Byram, Reid, Collins, Masuaku; Kouyate, Nordtveit
(Fletcher 79), Noble; Tore (Obiang 89), Valencia (Calleri 63), Antonio

Subs not used: Randolph, Ogbonna, Burke, Oxford

Bookings: Byram, Reid

Bournemouth: Boruc; Adam Smith, Francis, Steve Cook, Daniels; Fraser
(Gosling 86), Surman, Arter; Ibe (Ake 78), Callum Wilson (Grabban 74), King

Subs not used: Afobe, Gradel, Brad Smith, Federici

Bookings: Arter, Cook

Sent Off: Arter

Referee: Craig Pawson

Attendance: 56,977


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