Fans' Opinion

Brighton v West Ham – A Retrospective

Author: . Published: at 7:57pm

Written by : Trevor Twohig

The first away day of the new season was to the Amex Stadium, a real appetite whetter no doubt for the 3000 traveling West Ham fans.

Of course, when we finally descended on the fair town of Brighton, it was clear that there were certainly more than a few thousand West Ham United fans in the town. The Wetherspoons, Yates, Old Ship Hotel and The Queen pub were taken over by the traveling support, excited by the prospect of Pellegrini’s new look team.

However, as 2pm rolled around the team news was somewhat surprising. No Haller or Anderson, Antonio installed on the bench – but the most surprising inclusion of all was that of Angelo Ogbonna…as captain.

After a few beverages to take the edge off what was a horrific journey down from the Kent Coast (four trains via South London, thanks to a tree on the line outside Rye) it was time to head to Falmer. Again, there were West Ham fans everywhere, trying to make a journey up the road that should have been easier than it was, to be honest. If I had one wish at Brighton it is that the ground was slightly more accessible to Brighton itself. Luckily, we managed to get a cab with a few other fans and were there in plenty of time.

It’s a great football ground and one of the things I personally enjoy is the effort made by Brighton for the travelling support. West Ham badges adorn the walls. Claret and blue lights up the wall; it’s a friendly club.

Friendly too was the West Ham start to the game. Woefully off the pace, West Ham were overrun in midfield and looked like a side that were not really match ready. Waves of Brighton attack led to the ever-reliable Fabianski pulling off a number of good  saves.

However, midway through the first half, the West Ham number one could not stop Trossard’s well-aimed drive into the corner of the West Ham net. Luckily for the traveling support, who celebrated duly, it seemed a Brighton player was offside and the goal was disallowed.

One issue that the Premier League will need to address is the fact that none of the fans in the ground seem to know why a goal is disallowed, they just know it is! Praise be for Match of the Day, which did confirm that a Brighton player did have part of his arm offside. A lucky escape for the hapless Hammers.

In the second half Wilshere was replaced by Antonio, who provided a bit more grunt upfront alongside Hernandez. However, it was Lanzini’s slide rule ball through to Chicha, who stayed on onside, and finished well past Ryan in the Brighton goal.

It was jubilation for the travelling support who, for the most part, had seen their side dominated by the home side. But it was not long before the hosts were back on level terms after another defensive error at the back, this time by Issa Diop, who lost the ball and slid in loosely as Trossard skipped past and finished sublimely once more.

It was nothing less than the hosts deserved; they had missed a series of excellent chances throughout the match.

West Ham did have opportunities to seal the match, particularly when Antonio certainly appeared to be clipped by the defender, in the box, but our protests were waved away.

Given the performance a point was a good result. West Ham were off the pace and disjointed. The defence is terrifying at times. Ogbonna is lazy and not good enough to be in the squad, let alone be made captain. Diop looks lost without Balbuena and the fullbacks are often seen out of position.

The positives were that Lanzini looked class at times. Jinking runs and perfect passes at times, so the news of his imminent contract saga being completed comes as a relief to West Ham fans. Hernandez took his chance well and Antonio provided his usual power and dynamism up front. Fornals looks out of place in the pace and aggression of the Premier League and certainly needs more time to acclimatise. Snoddy worked tirelessly and was the only layer to remind his teammates, halfway up the tunnel, of their duties and came and applauded the travelling fans. The Scottish Messi is truly one of our own.

Next week, we visit Vicarage Road where a few months ago, we ran out 4 -1 winners. The Hornets are pointless currently and this could be a good time to play them – but West Ham will need to be far better to get anything from the game.