West Ham outplayed by buoyant Burnley
PUBLISHED: 16:12 30 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:14 30 December 2018
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The Hammers slumped to a disappointing Premier League defeat as they were never at the races at Turf Moor
Burnley 2 West Ham United 0
West Ham’s blistering Premier League run of form came to an abrupt end at Turf Moor as they were outplayed and outfought by a Burnley side who were in the relegation zone at the start of the match.
West Ham’s hopes of going as high as seventh in the Premier League never looked likely and goals from Chris Wood and Dwight McNeill sent them back to London with their tail between their legs as they were second best all afternoon.
In the line-up, the biggest surprise was the return from injury of star striker Marko Arnautovic. The Austria international has been out since he hobbled off against Cardiff City, but not only did he return, he actually started this game up front with Lucas Perez/
With Pablo Zabaleta still on his sick bed, it meant Michail Antonio continued at right-back, which added to their attacking options, if not their defensive competency.
West Ham skipper Mark Noble returned to the starting line-up at the expense of Pedro Obiang to make his 450th appearance in claretand blue, while Grady Diangana dropped to the bench after starting at Southampton on Thursday.
It was Burnley, battling against relegation, who started the brighter. They stormed forward and went close after just three minutes when Ashley Barnes shot inches wide after a low cross from the left.
Lukasz Fabianski then made a fine save from McNeill’s header, although he was ruled offside, while at the other end Angelo Ogbonna headed a Robert Snodgrass corner straight at Tom Heaton in goal.
However, it was Burnley who were in the ascendancy and they grabbed the lead on 15 minutes. A long ball forward was nodded down by Ashley Barnes to Wood and the New Zealand international buried his left-foot shot into the net.
The home side continued to dominate and after Ben Mee had headed a corner on to the roof of the net, Burnley then doubled their lead.
A poor clearance from Ogbonna went straight to Ashley Westwood and his cross from the right picked out McNeill at the far post who poked it home.
McNeil almost made it three with a shot that was inches wide and West Ham looked a shadow of the side that had won so impressively at Southampton and they needed to up their game in the second half.
Andy Carroll and Grady Diangana replaced Lucas Perez and Robert Snodgrass, but once again it was Burnley who looked more dangerous and Barnes should have made it three, but failed to connect with a low cross into the middle.
West Ham did show signs of improvement, but instead of creating big chances they got bookings for both Carroll and Declan Rice, while Wood missed a glorious chance to make it three when he stabbed the ball wide with just Fabianski to beat.
Antonio had some success on the right wing, aided by Diangana, but this was to prove one of those days for the hapless Hammers who remained second best in the second half.
Xande Silva did come on for his West Ham debut, replacing Arnautovic, and he did manage a shot over the bar, but at the other end Burnley were still looking sharp and Fabianski had to make two more saves to keep the Clarets at bay.
This was a day to forget for the Hammers against a relegation-haunted side who simply wanted the points more than they did.
Time to regroup, lick their wounds and go again against Brighton at the London Stadium on Wednesday night.
West Ham: Fabianski, Antonio, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Snodgrass (Diangana h/t), Noble, Rice, Anderson, Perez (Carroll h/t), Arnautovic (Silva 73). Unuesd Subs; Adrian, Masuaku, Coventry, Obiang.
Booked: Snodgrass, Noble, Carroll , Rice.
Referree: David Coote.