The sun was shining when I left the house to head to the London Stadium yesterday and, with out recent form, I couldn’t help but think that was a sign of things to come. After a huge midweek win against Burnley and a rejuvenated side I was very optimistic about our chances against West Ham. Unfortunately my optimism was misplaced this time, as we came away from East London with no points. 

It’s hard to write a positive match report after yesterday’s performance. Honestly, it was one of the poorer shows I’ve seen from the Mags in recent games. The team sheet came out, as it does, around an hour before kick off, and with no changes to our side since our win against Burnley, I think we were all feeling a little more positive. There was still a question mark over Manquillo’s inclusion on the starting eleven, but he had a good game on Tuesday and, of course, we trust Rafa’s judgement so were behind the side. The game started with, I think, a pretty even match. West Ham were sitting comfortably at 10th after around £100m of investment last Summer, and we had just left the drop zone with a run of good results. 

Unfortunately, however, we were only seven minutes in when a corner and some quick work from West Ham got the better of Fabian Schar and they netted their first goal. The away fans rallied and sang their hearts out but the early goal gave the opposition a lot of confidence, and we struggled to keep up with them for the rest of the game. The first half mainly had us playing deep – a very defensive approach, and a lot of midfield crosses with no real attacking threat. 

A tackle and a clip to Javier Hernandez’ ankle meant Lejeune gave away a penalty toward the end of the first half, and the Hammers put it away quite easily to secure a 2-0 lead. As the whistle went for half time, there was the feeling that something had to change with our squad if we wanted a chance. 

The atmosphere in the away end was, sadly, a little lacklustre going into the second half. The way that the stadium is broken up – two tiers – doesn’t lend itself well to cohesion amongst home or away fans, and our performance left a lot to be desired. At halftime Longstaff was taken off in favour of Diame, which added a bit more of an attacking dimension to our midfield, but unfortunately not enough. Rondon and Almiron barely got the ball and so we didn’t pose too much of a threat for the home side.

If there are positives to be drawn they are, I think, that the side that came out after half time managed to keep an enthused and confident West Ham side from scoring any more goals; it could have been a much worse score. Additionally, other results from yesterday’s fixtures went positively for us, so onward to Everton at home next weekend. We’ll stay up yet, mark my words.