West Ham get away with a draw but so many questions still needing answers
PUBLISHED: 13:30 19 August 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
Our West Ham Correspondent Dave Evans gives his verdict on the draw against Brighton at the Amex
Football is a results business so when you look at this game in the cold light of day a draw at bogey-boys at Brighton was a decent one.
But there are still some very worrying signs from this performance. There is the defensive frailty; the lack of firepower when the main striker doesn't play and the lack of balance in the line-up.
Brighton began the season with a thumping 3-0 away win and played with confidence under a new manager and in truth they really should have won this game.
The Seagulls had a goal disallowed by VAR, they missed a couple of absolute sitters and they controlled for long periods, so to say West Ham were happy to get away with a draw is an understatement.
"I think it's a good point," said manager Manuel Pellegrini afterwards. "They are a difficult team who played with a lot of confidence after their win at Watford last week."
They did and the Hammers certainly rode their luck at times, especially when Brighton seemed to have opened the scoring in the first half.
It was only the microscopic interpretation of VAR that denied Leandro Trossard and it just seemed unnecessary.
Saying all that it was West Ham who took the lead just after the hour as the team improved immeasurably after the break.
"In the second half it was a good game for both teams," said the boss. "In the first half, it wasn't only a physical presence, we didn't have good technical work in attack either.
"After the break our play improved. Antonio gave us power up front and we played with two strikers and that was better."
How many times Pellegrini has to be told that Javier Hernandez can't play up front on his own is a mystery.
With two up front he is so much more comfortable and he latched on to Manuel Lanzini's through ball to coolly finish like the ace marksman he is.
But the lead lasted just a few minutes and though Brighton deserved an equaliser, it was another defensive disaster.
Diop was outmuscled by Glenn Murray and Angelo Ogbonna stood and watched as Trossard fired in from just inside the box to make it 1-1.
"We improved in defending without any doubt, although Brighton did create a couple of dangerous chances in our box," said the manager.
"But we need to have more possession and create more chances ourselves, making better balls in those areas.
"Of course we improved from last week and it's important not to lose when you play away."
You have to question Pellegrini's selection policy. He made five changes from game one and though two were enforced, that is surely too many from one game to another.
"We need to find the best way to play with new players," said Pellegrini.
"We have a lot of different options now and we must try to integrate them into our.
True enough, but in the end they got the result. They lost last season at Brighton so this is an improvement, but we would like to see some improved performances too.
Perhaps the trip to pointless Watford can provide just that.
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