West Ham 2 – 0 B’mouth

Kurt Zouma’s contentious header and Said Benrahma’s late penalty ensured West Ham moved up into the top half in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth on Monday Night Football.

David Moyes’ side entered the game 17th in the table, but it was a position not reflective of performances, with injuries the key disruptor to their heightened pre-season ambition.

The mood music around the London Stadium has been mixed as a result of three wins in West Ham’s previous 11 games caused in part by missing personnel, missed penalties and VAR misery – but here they were the beneficiaries of a change in law before those spot-kick issues were put to bed.

Jarrod Bowen’s corner was eventually glanced in by Zouma following Tomas Soucek’s header back across goal – but it was a perceived handball from Thilo Kehrer in the build-up which caused dismay among the Bournemouth players.

Bournemouth’s goalkeeper Neto argues with referee

West Ham were awarded a penalty in second-half stoppage time when substitute Jordan Zemura handled Vladimir Coufal’s cross, allowing Benrahma to seal the win from the spot.

Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil said afterwards: “There was a foul in the build-up [to the first goal] and it’s a blatant handball, his hands move towards the ball and change the flight of it. I’m not surprised because it’s getting ridiculous. We’ve had 10 VAR checks since I took charge and not one has gone our way.

“The first goal cannot stand. It’s impossible for me that it’s a goal.

“His arm moves towards the ball and it impacted where the ball was going. I can’t understand how that would be given as his hand is in an unnatural position as it moved towards the ball. I also think there was a foul in the build-up to it as well which was more subtle.

Zouma scores his side's first goal on 45 minutes
Zouma scores his side’s first goal on 45 minutes

“I spoke to the Premier League about the Jefferson Lerma foul on Aleksandar Mitrovic against Fulham and the information I received was that Lerma impeded Mitrovic without looking at the ball. If you watch Flynn Downes, he impedes Marcos Senesi by putting his arm over him while looking in the complete opposite direction of the ball.

“With the handball, I can’t even believe we have to discuss it. It’s handball 100 times out of 100. I’m really surprised.”

The result means Bournemouth drop to 14th position as the Hammers leapfrog them on their way up to 10th place.

Referee David Coote consults his monitor
Referee David Coote consults his monitor

Player ratings

West Ham:Fabianski (7), Johnson (7), Zouma (8), Kehrer (6), Cresswell (7), Downes (7), Rice (7), Soucek (7), Benrahma (8), Bowen (6), Scamacca (6).

Subs:Coufal (n/a), Fornals (n/a), Antonio (5).

Bournemouth:Neto (7), Smith (6), Mepham (6), Senesi (6), Tavernier (5), Cook (5), Lerma (5), Fredericks (5), Christie (5), Billing (6), Solanke (5).

Subs:Travers (6), Moore (6), Anthony (5), Zemura (5).

Man of the match: Said Benrahma.

How West Ham moved up eight places

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Zouma gives West Ham the lead in their Premier League clash with Bournemouth

The Hammers have played more matches than any other Premier League side but having been afforded the extra rest in playing the final fixture of the weekend, fatigue could not be used as an excuse this time.

Given this was West Ham’s seventh of nine games in October – what feels like football’s moving month this year – all that Moyes will care about is that his side won against a Bournemouth outfit who appear to have contracted the Hammers’ injury curse.

Dominic Solanke was forced off before half time
Dominic Solanke was forced off before half-time

Team news

Said Benrahma was recalled to the West Ham side for the visit of Bournemouth. The Algerian winger replaced Pablo Fornals in the only change from the 1-0 defeat at Liverpool.

Bournemouth were unchanged from their midweek defeat at Southampton.

It took until 20 minutes before a meaningful chance came West Ham’s way as Downes met Ben Johnson’s cutback only to see his shot blocked but the rebound fell nicely for Aaron Cresswell to set himself and pierce his strike towards the top corner, denied spectacularly by the flying Neto.

For Bournemouth, the first half would be heavily disrupted by injuries. Adam Smith was able to shake off his knock, but Dominic Solanke suffered an ankle injury in having a shot comfortably saved by Lukasz Fabianski.

He was only able to continue until the stroke of half-time, by which stage goalkeeper Neto had already caused damage to his right hamstring following a routine clearance. Moments after Solanke was replaced by Kieffer Moore, the hosts broke the deadlock.

Kurt Zouma celebrates with teammates after scoring
Kurt Zouma celebrates with teammates after scoring

Zouma marked his 200th Premier League appearance with a first goal of the season, but it was shrouded in controversy as Bournemouth felt there was a handball from Kehrer in the build-up to the defender glancing home from close range.

Eight Bournemouth players surrounded referee David Coote as the inquest began, but based on the new handball law, they did not have valid claims for VAR to intervene. Chris Mepham played the ball after Kehrer’s initial contact before Soucek’s header back for Zouma to score meant Coote and VAR Mike Dean were in no position to disallow the goal.

West Ham's goal on the stroke of half-time stood
West Ham’s goal on the stroke of half-time stood

Neto would not reappear for a second half that rarely threatened a plot twist. Declan Rice thrashed a long-range effort that was well watched by the substitute stopper Mark Travers.

The visitors, with Kieffer Moore on for Solanke, were relying on set pieces and the Wales striker very nearly provided Jefferson Lerma with the sucker-punch but his knockdown from a long ball was glanced wide.

It was as close as they would get to an unlikely point before Benrahma added the extra gloss from 12 yards after referee Coote had been advised to consult the pitchside monitor to spot Zemura’s infringement from Coufal’s cross.

It compounded Bournemouth’s bad luck on a night when just about nothing went their way.

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Benrahma fires emphatically into the corner of the net to make it 2-0

O’Neil: Decisions are going against us

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Gary O’Neil feels both of the crucial handballs shouldn’t have gone the way they did in Bournemouth’s 2-0 defeat to West Ham and said that’s ten decisions that have gone against them since he’s been in charge

Bournemouth caretaker boss Gary O’Neil vowed he was ready to continue defying expectations, but he was overwhelmed by a burning sense of injustice.

Since replacing Scott Parker in late August, O’Neil has presided over one win and two draws away from home as part of a six-match unbeaten run that came to an end with last Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat against Southampton but this second straight defeat illustrated the feeling these sides could be heading in opposite directions.

The Cherries have had the fewest shots (91), fewest touches in opposition box (176), lowest possession (38.9 per cent) and lowest expected goals total (7.3) in the Premier League this season.

On what he spoke to the referee about at full-time, O’Neil said: “We disagree [on the penalty]. He says Zemura’s arm was in an unnatural position. I disagree with that. His arms are propelling when he’s sliding in. They were on the way back down. He’s not trying to gain an advantage.

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Sean Dyche and Jamie Carragher agreed with VAR’s decision to award West Ham a penalty for handball saying that Bournemouth’s Jordan Zemura had his arm in an unnatural position

“These things are going against us. On the goal, he said his arm was in a natural position. I disagree. They’re in both at his stomach and move to the ball. There was one I haven’t seen with Ben Johnson handling, we didn’t get as well.

“I thought we did OK. We weren’t enough with the ball in the first half. We turned it over in areas we shouldn’t. The second half we had West Ham camped in. They had a breakaway and got a penalty from a nothing situation.

“Injuries make it more difficult of course. We came here without Lloyd Kelly. Our keeper is injured. Solanke is a huge player for us and we have to go without him. The boys can be proud of the second half performance.

“It’s going to be tough for a newly promoted team in the Premier League against good opposition. We were missing players. We’re still trying to fight and pick up results. The final third for us will be tricky.”

Moyes: We were due a decision or two

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David Moyes feels West Ham have been due a VAR decision, after Kurt Zouma’s controversial goal stood in their 2-0 win over Bournemouth

West Ham boss David Moyes: “It was a really good win, a bit harder than we would have liked it to be. We didn’t finish it off. It was a bit nervy but thankfully the penalty finished it off. You always want a clean sheet. If you do that it gives you every chance of winning. I felt as if there was another goal in it.

“Moore came on and caused us problems – putting balls into the box but I’m really pleased with the points. Final third we didn’t cross the ball well enough, or the final pass or shot wasn’t on target.

“We were due a decision or two, but everyone feels that. There have been some strange ones. It’s not easy for the referees. You hope for consistency, that’s all. Bournemouth will be disappointed with them.

“We didn’t start well, we’re aware of that. Tonight’s game was a big game. There’s very little between the teams, I’m finding that this year. There isn’t much in the games. In the main the games are really tight.”

Player reaction: Bowen still aiming high

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Jarrod Bowen says the team must continue their momentum after securing an important victory at home to Bournemouth.

Jarrod Bowen told Sky Sports: “We knew the importance of tonight. The table looks a lot better now than it did at the beginning of the day.

“The main thing is to keep winning. Keep momentum high and pushing forward. We put a lot into the game. We dug in well, sometimes you have to suffer in a game.

“We didn’t start the season well enough. It was about us reacting from it. Sometimes it’s those rough patches as a team, you need need togetherness to get through.

“There are lots of points to play for before the break. After losing games at the beginning of the season it knocks confidence. I can’t fault the lads’ effort. We’ve got to keep aiming higher and higher.

Lewis Cook challenges for the ball
Lewis Cook challenges for the ball

“We were probably our own worst enemy, not retaining the ball. The last 10 minutes we had to suffer and it was a great penalty from Said.”

Bournemouth defender Chris Mepham told Sky Sports: “In the second half if one team were going to get a goal, it felt like it would be us. We were knocking at the door, but we didn’t create anything. We weren’t good in the first half which was frustrating.”

On West Ham’s first goal: “Obviously it’s frustrating, it’s not the first time and it feels like these decisions are going against us. It did hit his hand so it is frustrating. You could argue [Jordan] Zemura in the second half didn’t go to deliberately handball it, but that’s the problem.”

Moyes’ boys up against it to be best of the rest

David Moyes on the touchline against Bournemouth
David Moyes on the touchline against Bournemouth

Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds at the London Stadium:

“Results-wise, it wasn’t a great weekend for West Ham. Wins for Aston Villa and Leicester in addition to Southampton’s hard-fought point against Arsenal had left the Hammers looking ominously over their shoulders, just outside the bottom three.

“Last Wednesday’s loss at Liverpool meant that after 11 games, the Premier League table comprised of the traditional Big Six and Newcastle for the first time since their Saudi takeover.

“For David Moyes, perennially looking to punch through a glass ceiling into the top echelons, he will have enviably glanced at Newcastle’s statement win at Spurs to gatecrash the Champions League places.

“West Ham’s momentum was checked at Anfield, but it was a performance that warranted a point. This win propels Moyes’ side into the top half, but he will acknowledge this was an untidy performance full of flaws.

“After a summer spend that signalled lofty ambitions, however, this was a small but necessary step for West Ham to become the big-six disruptor he craves.”

Reality biting for Bournemouth

Gary O'Neil issues instructions at the London Stadium
Gary O’Neil issues instructions at the London Stadium

Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds at the London Stadium:

“It has been a fine run for O’Neil but with the clocks about to go back and winter around the corner, is reality starting to bite at Bournemouth?

“The onus was on them to beat Southampton last week, but they became the first side not to score against Saints this term.

“Those early season concerns which led to Scott Parker’s dismissal reared their ugly head in east London. Bournemouth were second-best in every department, and it was a long way back after both Solanke and Neto were forced off before the second half had started.

Bournemouth face a wait on Solanke's fitness
Bournemouth face a wait on Solanke’s fitness

“In between, O’Neil was left enraged by a sense of injustice at Zouma’s goal being allowed to stand but his anger infected his own players with Jefferson Lerma and Adam Smith booked amid a ragged second-half display.

“It doesn’t get any easier for the Cherries before the World Cup with Tottenham next up at the Vitality Stadium. O’Neil will have to patch up his squad and go again. There was a bit of spirit shown to keep the contest alive until the last minute, before we were all mercifully put out of our misery by Benrahma’s emphatic penalty.”

Man of the match – Said Benrahma

Said Benrahma celebrates his well-taken penalty
Said Benrahma celebrates his well-taken penalty

In the absence of Lucas Paqueta – expected to be out for another two weeks – and Maxwel Cornet again missing, tonight was a golden opportunity for Benrahma to stake a claim to a regular berth.

The winger – signed for £30m – has struggled to nail down a starting spot since joining two years ago and the club were open to offers for him last summer. I was here when the former Brentford player produced a vibrant display against Anderlecht a fortnight ago, but inconsistency has been his main issue.

So often he indulges himself too much on the ball instead of taking the obvious option. Sometimes, less is more, and the Algerian showed he is ready to simplify his game in order to increase his end product. The penalty converted capped a fine display.

Benrahma scored his first Premier League goal of the season, while his penalty goal was his eighth shot of the match, three more than Bournemouth had as a team (5) and his most in a single Premier League game.

Moyes said: “He’s a dribbler and he wants to take people on. I’m really pleased for him. It’s all about his final product but what he does do is supply us with goals. He plays a big part. His form has been in and out so we’re looking for more consistency from him and he played really well tonight.”

FPL stats: West Ham 2-0 Bournemouth

Goals Zouma, Benrahma
Assists Soucek, Coufal
Bonus points Zouma (3pts) | Cresswell (2pts) | Fabianski (1pt)

England World Cup watch

Jarrod Bowen failed to add to his goal tally
Jarrod Bowen failed to add to his goal tally

Alongside Soucek, Declan Rice is the only West Ham player to have featured in every Premier League minute so far this season. Given he hasn’t always been rested in the Europa Conference League, it is something Gareth Southgate will be very aware of as he keeps all his fingers and toes crossed for no further injury disruptions over the next three weeks.

He wasn’t unduly troubled in midfield as he completed 70 passes – more than any other player – against a Bournemouth that retreated into their shell after the restart. Rice also won possession 12 times – a game high – so there is nothing to suggest on this evidence he needs a rest.

Jarrod Bowen, however, was on the edge of this game and was hauled off before the end. Given his appetite for goals, you would’ve thought he’d have wanted the opportunity to score from the spot barely minutes after he was replaced following his missed penalty at Liverpool.

But he revealed afterwards: “No chance of me taking the penalty, I’m off them after my miss last week! But it was a great pen from Said and he has that quality. I see it in training every day. He was great tonight.”

It was just one of those nights for Bowen, and time is running out for him to emerge as Southgate’s wildcard pick.

Zouma’s landmark night – Opta stats

Kurt Zouma celebrates giving West Ham the lead
Kurt Zouma celebrates giving West Ham the lead

  • West Ham United have won their last four home Premier League matches against newly promoted clubs and lost just one of their last 13 such matches at the London Stadium (W10 D2).
  • Bournemouth have failed to score in seven Premier League matches this season, the joint most of any side along with Wolves.
  • West Ham have won five consecutive home games in all competitions as a top-flight club for the first time since October 1999, with the fifth win in that run coming against Bournemouth in a League Cup tie.
  • West Ham defender Kurt Zouma became the second player to score on his 200th Premier League appearance this season, with Virgil van Dijk also doing so in August against Bournemouth.
  • Among players with at least 10 Premier League goals, West Ham’s Kurt Zouma has scored the highest percentage with his head (91%, 10 out of 11).

What’s next?

West Ham return to Europa Conference League action on Thursday when they welcome Danish side Silkeborg to the London Stadium (kick-off 8pm). Bournemouth host Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

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