Written by Ben Jaycock
Boxing day cheer for the Hammers as they put four past a struggling Swansea side. Goals from former Swansea man Andre Ayew, defender Winston Reid, Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll led the hammers to only their second away win of the campaign. A late consolation goal from striker Fernando Llorente was nowhere near enough to raise some festive cheer for the Swans in what was a very dark, humiliating day for the club.
Andre Ayew got his first goal for West Ham after his £20 million summer move after 13 minutes. A cross field ball by Noble found Carroll who knocked it down to Kouyate who’s flick on was weak and should of been a comfortable save for Fabianski. However, the keeper spilled the ball which fell directly to Ayew for an easy tap in, while Swansea defenders stood around just watching West Ham eventually score.
West Ham looked a real threat after the goal, going forward testing Swansea’s unorganised, unconfident defence. Although, after surviving West Ham’s early dominance, the Swans finished the half with much more possession but only managed one clear cut opportunity being a Gylfi Sigurdsson free kick which was well saved by Darren Randolph.
Swansea started the second half brightly but they failed to breakdown a resilient, much criticized over this season West Ham defence. Five minutes after half time, Dimitri Payet put in a fabulous corner right on to the head of Winston Reid who headed home at the near post despite having two Swansea defenders either side of him.
Then, on the hour mark a Sigurdsson ball in from the wing found Routledge who was denied by another smart save by Randolph. The Swans created opportunities throughout but didn’t have the quality to put anything past Randolph and West Ham’s defence.
Substitute Edmilson Fernandes produced some great skill, to get away from Swansea’s defence and his shot was then saved by Fabianski after creating an opportunity from a difficult angle. The save then fell to Nordtveit whose attempt at a shot from the right hand side found Michail Antonio who tapped in from close range. That being Antonio’s eighth of the season, five more than any other Hammers player. It does make you wonder where the Hammers would be without him this season.
On 88 minutes Swansea did pull a goal back after a run from Nathan Dyer down the right hand side, he then managed to pick out summer signing Fernando Llorente through a low driven ball and the Spaniards shot left Randolph with no chance. The strikers sixth of the season.
However the slice of minor joy was completely forgotten, when West Ham winger Sofianne Feghouli chipped a great ball to the far post where Andy Carroll volleyed home. That goal being the fifth goal scored in six games against the Swans, who he loves to play against. The contest was over at 3-0 but that goal made it even more of a humiliation for Bob Bradley’s side.
Their was a real sour atmosphere amongst the home supporters with the fans turning their back on the team in the second half. Demanding for American manager Bob Bradley to be sacked through ‘we want Bradley out’ chants and asking ‘greedy’ American owners to ‘get out of our club’. The sour atmosphere will certainly effect the morale and mood in the dressing room. Looking atrocious at the back conceding a league high 41 goals, it is no wonder they are most peoples favorites to go down this year. Manager Bob Bradley under serious pressure, as anything but a win against Bournemouth at home on Saturday will most likely be Bradley’s final game in charge.
For Slaven Bilic’s side the comfortable win, results in a move up to 11th in the table after a very successful month having not lost in four and winning three on the spin for the first time since March. Their own negative atmosphere around the club and talks of relegation, have swiftly been forgotten and the previous pressure lifted off Bilic. Many are seeing the magnificent turnaround he’s commanded, as a real manager of the month contender. His side will certainly be full of confidence going into their match on Saturday, away at the champions Leicester.
What did you make of your sides performance overall? Let us know in the comments below!