Kurt Zouma’s hotly contested goal led West Ham to win against Bournemouth

If West Ham is gradually improving, Bournemouth could regress to the average. The greater experience in the Premier League and the depth of the team told in a match that will not remain in anyone’s memory once the controversy over the VAR has subsided over the first goal of Kurt Zouma, the one who looked like a plum but did not receive the card red for Jefferson Lerma of Bournemouth and a hand ball by Jordan Zemura that set the penalty in the final for Said Benrahma.

David Moyes’ side have a useful habit of pulling out the win when the pressure is going down. Gary O’Neil’s fledgling management career is meanwhile going through its first slump and defeat at London Stadium, the second in a row, came at the cost of injuries that seemed annoying to his key striker and first-choice goalkeeper. . The smaller, perhaps less illustrious team in the Premier League has three games to watch until their well-deserved World Cup break.

Related: West Ham – Bournemouth: Premier League – live

West Ham started in 17th place. The weekend wins for Leicester and Aston Villa have not been useful for a team 12 points worse than this stage last season. Although Moyes said he “never thought of the word” and still has his sights set on a challenge for European seats, a relegation battle has been looming since the opening matches of the season.

O’Neil’s tenure as Bournemouth’s interim manager had taken in seven previous games (losing only the last to Southampton), three British Prime Ministers and two serving Monarchs. While the ongoing acquisition of his current club delays the decision to get the job on a permanent basis, he has faced the club for which he played with an underrated distinction for two years under Avram Grant and Sam Allardyce.

After impressing in last week’s narrow defeat to Liverpool and during Europa Conference League engagements, Flynn Downes, a midfielder in West Ham lore, was teaming up with Declan Rice, a player who was touted to replace one day. . Downes is only six days younger than Rice, but he has taken a winding road – via Ipswich and Swansea – to the club he supports.

Benrahma for Pablo Fornals was Moyes’ only change while O’Neil made no changes. West Ham soon took the offensive initiative, Bournemouth sitting deep and in number, as one might expect from a team whose average of 7.8 shots per game was an all-time low since such Premier League records began. in the 1997-98 season.

Thilo Kehrer appears to be handling the ball in the preparation of Kurt Zouma’s goal. Photograph: David Klein / Reuters

Yet Lukasz Fabianski was the first keeper to step into action, summoned to stifle a Dominic Solanke shot after a dangerous counterattack from Marcus Tavernier on the left fielder. However, neither team seemed particularly powerful; West Ham had scored two previous first-half league goals throughout the season.

Characteristic was the aggressiveness of Downes and the races from the bottom in support of Gianluca Scamacca to the center forward. His chance to score the first West Ham goal came when Ben Johnson’s cross came to the edge of the box but his shot was blocked. Aaron Cresswell was unable to keep the rebound low.

A long delay followed Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto who pulled over with a muscle injury, though the Brazilian eventually held out until half-time. The best chance for the guests came after Tomas Soucek, without looking up, played Solanke to make a long run and shoot Fabianski. The striker ended up getting hit by Thilo Kehrer as he shot, then failed to complete the time.

Up came the giant Kieffer Moore just before West Ham put the ball in the net. After a corner kick, Zouma nodded and while Kehrer’s volleyball layup looked clear and obvious, VAR let the goal stop.

The Bournemouth players left the field at half-time cursing the official, the explanation given for the standing goal that Kehrer’s intervention was neither deliberate nor directly preceded the goal. The ball had gone out of Bournemouth’s head at Zouma. They started for the second half with Mark Travers of the Republic of Ireland replacing Neto in goal and with West Ham continuing to dominate the game.

Benrahma deflected a ball to the far post that Soucek narrowly missed, then barely crashed from distance after Jarrod Bowen’s punchy run. The referees then favored Bournemouth when Lerma’s tackle on Scamacca seemed almost knee-high. It was considered yellow rather than red. Lucky guy.

O’Neil introduced Jaidon Anthony and Zemura for Ryan Christie and Ryan Fredericks looking for momentum, but West Ham continued to look more likely, with Travers saving Rice a falling shot.

Moyes brought the hustle and bustle of Michail Antonio to further occupy Bournemouth’s defense when Scamacca left the pitch, but the strong contingent of away fans began to perceive a comeback with the score still 1-0 and West Ham trying to block it. Philip Billing and Moore’s airpower was at the forefront of a comeback attempt, but then the bureaucracy intervened once again when Lemura slipped off the sideline unwittingly handed West Ham the three points.

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