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11 July 2020 Venue Carrow Road Attendance

Kick off 12:30 (UK)

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Match Previews

Ask the Expert: West Ham United (H)

11 July 2020

As Norwich City host West Ham United at Carrow Road tonight (12:30pm KO), spoke to a man familiar with the Hammers to find out more on the opposition.

Sam Inkersole covers West Ham’s journey for Football.London and spoke on their recent form, their appointment of David Moyes and more. What’s the mood amongst the fans after the defeat to Burnley on Wednesday?

SI: It feels like it’s kind of gone back to where it was prior to the previous week, before the win against Chelsea and draw against Newcastle. There was quite of lot of optimism and positivity going around, then all of a sudden it came crashing back down to Earth with a bump.

We were beaten by a Burnley side who got themselves ahead then just stifled West Ham until they ran out of ideas and couldn’t break them down and went away with a 1-0 win. I think that the fact that we’ve got such a favourable run-in, at least on paper, is what is keeping the fans going in terms of them staying up.

We’ve got Norwich and Watford in the next week and then Aston Villa on the final game of the season, who could well be down by then as well. It’s almost like they could stay up on merit of being the best of the bottom five, which isn’t anything to necessarily be proud of, but it’ll at least keep them in the division for another season. Games have obviously been coming thick and fast across the division, how do you feel West Ham have coped with that?

SI: They looked absolutely exhausted heading into the last 15 minutes against Burnley in the week, some of their players looked really tired, dead on their feet. Michail Antonio even after the Chelsea game said he was blowing in his post-match interview, they had to work really hard.

This’ll be their fourth game in ten days coming up, that’s a stretch for any team, even if you hadn’t been off for three months and been told to play four games in ten days if you had your usual training regime. David Moyes isn’t trying to use that as an excuse, but I think it is a valid one and plenty of other teams will be feeling the pinch soon now we’re halfway through the restart.

They’ve been relatively lucky in terms of injury, they haven’t had too many ones to contend with, but I do think fatigue is looking like it was starting to set in. What has David Moyes come in and changed when he took the baton from Manuel Pellegrini?

SI: That’s a very good question, he’s obviously tried to instil a bit more of a discipline in the squad in terms of formations and tactics, but it’s not really worked. West Ham haven’t kept a clean sheet in the last 14 Premier League games, which says a lot.

They haven’t kept a clean sheet since December against Southampton under Pellegrini. Whilst he’s tried to make them a little more rigid defensively, it’s not particularly worked well. They have been scoring goals though, especially since the restart. They’ve looked a lot more threatening going forward than they were prior to lockdown.

I feel like that’s down to personnel, Jarrod Bowen has really come into his own since the lockdown, he had a bit of a slow start because Moyes was reluctant to play him, but since he’s been given more time he’s become very influential.

What’s changed? Not a lot has changed because West Ham’s league position hasn’t really changed that much, I think they’re only one place higher than they were when Pellegrini was sacked, so not a lot! Last time out to West Ham, Norwich took an unfortunate defeat, what are your memories of that performance?

SI: West Ham have very much been a counter-attacking team for the majority of this season and that’s my memory of it. A lot of pundits and observers will say Norwich are one of those sides that look really easy on the eye and they’re a good addition to the Premier League because they play the right way, but they can be too exposed.

It can be true of West Ham too though. The attacking talent they have got, they shouldn’t be where they are in the league considering the weapons they have at their disposal, but they haven’t been able to defend at all. Under Pellegrini that was down to tactics and under Moyes I just think the defenders have struggled for form, so they’re two very similar teams. Do you think it’ll be like Norwich are playing a different team to the one we faced at the start of the season?

SI: Yes, I do think it’ll be different because they won’t be as gung-ho in an attacking sense as Pellegrini was. He had a plethora of attacking midfielders at his disposal that day and he clearly intended to use them all and it did work.

This team is more disciplined and in it’s shape, especially defensively. They work a lot harder than under Pellegrini. I think it’ll be slightly different, but the counter-attacking football will still remain, as that is how Moyes likes to play as well. He’s having to use what he inherited, so he’s pretty much playing the same way just a little more restrained. With just four games left of the season it may be slightly obvious, but what are West Ham hoping for with the rest of their campaign?

SI: It’s just staying in the topflight, that’s all it is at the moment. You try to ask Moyes about plans for next season, but even he’s not thinking about it ahead of this weekend’s fixture. Until West Ham remain a Premier League team and it is confirmed, then maybe you can start looking ahead, but they’re certainly not out of the woods by any stretch.

That three-point cushion that they have could be massive come the final game of the season against Aston Villa, if it gets that far. That game could be the six-pointer to end all six-pointers, but next season I think Moyes will certainly want to put his stamp on the team, he should be given the chance to actually do that.

He’ll probably have to sell to spend, but he’s already started to do that with the signings of Bowen and Tomas Soucek, whose loan will become permanent if West Ham stay up. He wants to build a more young hungry squad, those were his exact words, and try take West Ham out of their stigma of signing flamboyant players who may not contribute much to the league, but considering how it’s gone this season, how much time he could get next season to do that, remains to be seen.

You can follow Sam on Twitter @Sam_InkersoleTM.

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Match Reports

West Ham confirm City's Premier League relegation

11 July 2020

Norwich City were relegated from the Premier League on Saturday afternoon after being beaten 4-0 by West Ham United at Carrow Road, four goals from Michail Antonio ensuring the Canaries will play Championship football next season.

Daniel Farke named an unchanged starting lineup from Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat away to Watford, with Todd Cantwell returning from injury to replace Jordan Thomas on the bench.

West Ham looked lively right from the first whistle, Antonio cutting in from the left wing and seeing a scuffed shot find Tomas Soucek who hit the side netting.

The Antonio-Soucek linkup looked dangerous again moments later, the former picking out the latter in the D, Soucek dragging his first time cushioned shot wide of the post.

City forged their first chance ten minutes in, getting bodies in the box when Emiliano Buendia lined up Vrancic to shoot from just outside the area, but the Bosnian’s effort went wide of Lukasz Fabianski’s left post.

At the other end, Aaron Cresswell crossed for Antonio to force a save at the near post from Tim Krul, before the Hammers took the lead in the 12th minute with a Jarrod Bowen corner finding Antonio via the flick of Issa Diop. Antonio volleyed into the roof of the net for 1-0.

Teemu Pukki headed wide a Jamal Lewis cross in the 23rd minute, but it was clear that the Canaries were getting more bodies in and around the 18-yard box than in recent weeks.

Onel Hernandez took down a cross from Max Aarons well with half an hour played, switching it out to Lewis who crossed to Hernandez again, but the Cuban couldn’t direct his shot on target.

Vrancic looked set for a trademark free-kick in the 32nd minute, but he didn’t get enough dip on the ball as it sailed over Fabianski’s crossbar.

During an end-to-end first half, Bowen was next to have a go, cutting in from the right and shooting just wide on his left foot.

Bowen continued looking a threat, getting the wrong side of Lewis to smash a shot across the face of goal and wide of the post in the 36th minute.

Just before half-time, David Moyes’ side came close to doubling their lead, Mark Noble crossing for Soucek to volley, but Krul was equal to it, tipping the ball over the bar.

Antonio did make it 2-0 in stoppage time of the first half, heading past Krul from a Noble free-kick.

Buendia almost got City back into the game shortly after, lining up a shot from distance on his left foot not dissimilar to the goal he scored against Watford on Tuesday, but this time Fabianski got to his right to save.

hammers half time.jpg

West Ham restarted the second half continuing to look more dangerous, Antonio heading over from a Bowen free-kick in the 53rd minute.

Antonio completed his hat-trick moments later, being sent one-on-one with Krul. Krul saved his initial effort, but the rebound fell kindly to Antonio’s head as he directed the ball across the line for 3-0.

Hernandez found himself in a promising position on the hour mark, but his shot was within comfortable reach of Fabianski to save. Aarons then crossed for Vrancic to header as City continued to look for a consolation goal.

Fornals cut in from the left wing and dragged a shot wide in the 68th minute before a host of changes were made.

Adam Idah, Lukas Rupp, Josh Martin and Cantwell were introduced midway through the second half to freshen things up, with Hernandez, Buendia, Marco Stiepermann and Pukki making way.

Antonio got on the scoresheet again in the 74th minute, scoring from close range after meeting a cross from Ryan Fredericks.

Norwich did have the ball in the West Ham net in the 80th minute when Idah's cross was touched over the line by Cresswell, but the former was offside in the build up.

Norwich: Krul, Aarons, Godfrey, Klose, Lewis, Tettey (c), Vrancic (McLean 78’), Buendia (Martin 69’), Stiepermann (Rupp 69’), Hernandez (Cantwell 69’), Pukki (Idah 69’)
Subs not used: McGovern, Trybull, Drmic,, Duda
Bookings: Stiepermann (33’)

West Ham United: Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna (Balbuena 87'), Cresswell, Fornals (Masuaku 83'), Rice, Noble © (Wilshere 77’), Soucek, Bowen (Yarmolenko 83'), Antonio (Haller 77’)
Subs not used: Randolph, Johnson, Lanzini, Ajeti
Goals: Antonio (12’, 45+1’, 54’, 74’)

HT: 0-2
Venue: Carrow Road
Referee: Kevin Friend

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