Toxicity Continues in East London as Hammers Remembrance Day Turns Sour: Premier League; The Weekend That Was

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It was supposed to be the game that would rekindle memories of Bobby Moore, 25 years on from the death of the World Cup winning captain. Alas, it’s a game whose own memories will be rekindled in the future, for all the wrong reasons. A seeming siege on the directors box, various pitch invasions, alleged assault on stewards amidst a 3-0 home loss emphasised the point, that all is far from well at West Ham United.

‘Every time we lose we and the board get a lot of stick. It seemed today that the fans had had enough’ said club captain Mark Noble afterwards, who was in the spotlight for an altercation with a fan who had stormed onto the pitch after the Hammers fell behind to Burnley. ‘I’m a West Ham fan and I’ve always protected the club. If someone approaches me, I’ll protect myself’.

In terms of protection, the ones who needed it the most were the West Ham owners, as David Gold and David Sullivan had to be escorted out of the stadium in the 86th minute, not long after fans aimed a lot of distaste at the director’s box. ‘They wanted to show their emotion’ added Noble. ‘When fans come to the game with the hump, they know how to show their emotions’. ‘The atmosphere was horrible. We know a lot of it isn’t aimed at the players, but we have to be man enough to play in that atmosphere’.

And the atmosphere at the London stadium has rarely been pleasant ever since the move from the Boleyn Ground in 2016, there’s been enough stadium unrest on that ground that has generated news. The animosity of the supporters, building up to this weekend, has been evident for a while, not least since what was viewed as a disappointing January transfer activity at the club. The Irons came into this game with Burnley on the back successive 4-1 away defeats, but did have a decent first half, both off the pitch and on it. ‘I thought we played well in the first half, had two great chances and probably should have been in front at halftime’ said manager David Moyes. ‘The first goal was always going to be crucial today, whoever got it’.

And it did prove crucial, as after Ashley Barnes put Burnley in front in the 66th minute, it barely took much time before the little kerfuffle between Noble and the West Ham pitch invader, right after a female steward was knocked to the ground. Four minutes later, West Ham went two down, and another pitch invader came on, this time with a corner flag. Then a third, and further incursions, by then the co-chairmen had been taken out of the ground, but not without hearing chants of ‘You’ve destroyed our fucking club’, ‘We’re not West Ham anymore’, and ‘it’s all lies, lies, lies’ among others.

‘We massively have to stick together. If anything now, I’d say to the supporters, I’ll do everything I can for the players…’ said Moyes. With the fans now well on their backs, survival would be a less straightforward. Survival, a term that definitely wasn’t on the team’s minds after the move to this stadium, that’s supposed to signal progress, and the season that preceded it. The future indeed.

Two for Two for Burnley

Once focus veers away from West Ham and their mutiny for a moment, it’ll be worth pointing out that Burnley have now mustered successive wins, having sought a first win of the calendar as late as last week. Now on 43 points, and three points clear of eighth-placed Leicester; while returning striker Chris Wood now has three goals in two games.

Rashford for United on Derby Day

13th minute at Old Trafford. David de Gea goal-kick. Romelu Lukaku beats Dejan Lovren to the ball. Marcus Rashford gets in front of Trent Alexander-Arnold, cuts inside and fires a superb shot past Loris Karius and into the top corner to put Manchester United ahead. 24th minute. De Gea with another goal-kick. Lukaku beats Lovren to the ball again. Rashford, following a little melee in the box, fires an effort which deflects in off Alexander-Arnold. From them on it was a masterpiece in defending from the Red Devils, especially the returning Eric Bailly, his inexplicable own goal aside, as they held on for a precious league win, to keep them firmly in second place. For Liverpool, it’s now eight league games without beating United. It was a subdued performance- to say the least- from their front three; Jurgen Klopp’s men drop to fifth.

Elsewhere:

  • Three goals. Three points. 13th spot. It was a confident showing from Newcastle as they routed relegation rivals Southampton, and the Magpies are now on 32 points. The Saints, meanwhile, stay in 17th place, and a Monday night win for Stoke will see Mauricio Pellegrino’s side drop into the red zone.
  • It was a show of character from Tottenham, as four days after European elimination at the hands of Juventus, Spurs came from behind to notch a 4-1 win at Bournemouth. Injuries to Harry Kane and perhaps Dele Alli might well be an inconvenience, but it was another goal-scoring outing from Son Heung-Min; the Korean has five goals in three games.
  • Speaking of show of character, it was three and easy for Arsenal, who followed up their win in Milan with a romping of Watford at the Emirates. A crowd that needed rallying certainly commended as the Gunners fired on all cylinders, Mesut Ozil in particular, but the most memorable fact would probably be a 200th clean sheet for Petr Cech. The first ever Premier League shot-stopper to reach that figure, the Czech veteran also saved a penalty, for the first time in the Premier League in 15 attempts. There was no such joy for Watford skipper Troy Deeney, victim of Cech’s penalty save, who, back in the reverse fixture in October, accused the Gunners defence of lacking cojones, and on this occasion was to listen to chants of ‘what’s the score’ from the home crowd.

Results

West Ham 0-3 Burnley

Huddersfield 0-0 Swansea

Newcastle 3-0 Southampton

Everton 2-0 Brighton

Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace

Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool

West Bro 1-4 Leicester

Bournemouth 1-4 Tottenham

Arsenal 3-0 Watford

Monday Night Football: Stoke v Manchester City

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