Sunday, 2 February 2014

West Ham vs Swansea - Review + Analysis:

Interesting clash: West Ham hosted Swansea after a successful month of transfer activity.
Hello and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have a review and analysis of one of the two matches being played in the early afternoon kick-off at Upton Park between West Ham and Swansea City.

I apologise in advance if this blog post is published late, because of some technical issues that I am currently having to investigate, the rest of the matches in the EPL from today (Saturday afternoon) will be on a separate page in the near future.

The two sides were at contrasting ends of the table at the start of play, with West Ham sitting at the bottom of the table while Swansea had the chance to overtake Aston Villa into 10th place, in mid-table.

The hosts were the team that started the match off the brighter, with the first real notable highlight of the match being the opener from midfielder Kevin Nolan in the 26th minute. 

An inviting ball was whipped into the box and headed down by Carroll straight into the path of Nolan inside the box, who hit the ball on the half-volley first-time into the back of the net away from goalkeeper Tremmel who dived the right way but was unable to stop the strike. 

Half-volley: Nolan broke the deadlock after 26 minutes with a sweetly-struck drive into the net

Thumbs up: Nolan celebrated his 3rd goal of this season.
Poor marking on Swansea's part to gift Carroll space to take control of the header, but an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner followed.

FACT: 85% of Nolan's goals for West Ham have been scored in home fixtures.

The Hammers continued to build pressure on their visitors, with some attractive football culminating in a lovely-weighted through ball to pacy winger Matthew Jarvis who crossed the ball deep into the area for a lone player to strike, but no-one was quick enough to react and get to the cross which flew in the air. 

Swansea then went on the counter attack, with striker Wilfried Bony being denied a penalty appeal after being adjudged to be held back by defender James Tomkins just inside the area while running at full speed towards goal, but referee Howard Webb said play on, much to the disapproval of the Swansea supporters despite making the right call as Tomkins won the ball despite contact.

West Ham took advantage of yet more lethargic defending on Swansea's part just on the stroke of half-time, with former Liverpool winger Stewart Downing's delivery being headed into the net by Nolan to complete his brace in the 45th minute after some good play by Carroll to use his neck muscles, heading the ball powerfully back across goal to be clinically finished by the midfielder.

Stroke of half-time: Nolan heads in his second of the match after Carroll's second assist.
The hosts could have had a third early on in the second-half, after being split open on the counter attack by Jarvis who went around the goalkeeper but was denied by a vital clearance from young Welsh left-back Ben Davies. 

Swansea created a chance of their own, with midfielder Jonathan de Guzman having a deflected effort narrowly miss the target with goalkeeper Adrian scrambling towards his near post, before Andy Carroll was given his first ever red card in the Premier League for a controversial challenge on Swansea defender Chico Flores who was grappling with him in an aerial battle for the ball, before grabbing Carroll in a headlock who shifted his elbow accidentally into Chico's forehead as he came down off Carroll's back. 

Carroll and Chico were involved in an incident in the second-half, with Carroll getting sent off.


Theatrics: Carroll was sent off, with Chico over-reacting to the adjudged foul.
Chico made the most of the incident, and virtually got Carroll sent off for something that could have been easily avoided if he hadn't grabbed hold on the English striker. 

Controversial: Carroll is given his first red card in the EPL after his challenge on Chico.
West Ham were down to ten men for the rest of the game, with Bony having a clear cut opportunity to score in the 80th minute, but his strike was well wide of the target and flew over the bar. 

In the end, the result finished 2-0 with West Ham taking a vital three points at home against a side that were unlucky not to score but did not take their chances in the end and were beaten by The Hammers with preventable goals. 

West Ham move up to 18th place, while Swansea drop a place to 12th (after Stoke won their match..)