Brighton & Hove Albion nail the Hammers ………again
Brighton & Hove Albion 4 West Ham United 0
Albion beat West Ham again with goals from Alexis Mac Allister, Joel Veltman, Kaoru Mitoma and a late effort from Danny Welbeck.
The away fans turned on manager David Moyes after the visitors were routed at the Amex.
The big surprise was the inclusion of goalkeeper Jason Steele who was preferred to Robert Sanchez.
Steele kept a clean sheet against Stoke in mid-week as Albion progressed to the sixth round of the FA Cup.
The Hammers are now winless in 11 away matches in the Premier League and still perilously close to the relegation zone after a feeble display.
It was another case of the curse of Brighton for West Ham – Moyes’s side have never beaten the Seagulls in the Premier League and left Falmer empty-handed, yet again, at the 12th attempt.
But this was far from unlucky. A penalty from Mac Allister, tap-ins for Veltman and Mitoma and a late strike from Welbeck did the damage as the fans’ patience with Moyes wore thin.
The usually supportive away following were singing his name in the first half, but he faced chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” and “sacked in the morning” in the second.
Moyes look crest fallen at he slumped back in his seat all the good work against Forest last week seemingly undone
Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi has no such problems, watching from the stands with his feet up while he served a touchline ban for his red card in the tunnel against Fulham a fortnight ago.
The Italian’s absence certainly did not knock his in-form side out of their stride.
Albion were gifted the lead in the 18th minute when the ever-dangerous Mitoma darted into the penalty area and was shoved to the ground by Jarrod Bowen.
Argentina World Cup-winner Mac Allister stepped up to place the spot-kick over Alphonse Areola’s dive and high into the net.
Mac Allister’s penalty was really expertly taken and gave the Hammers keeper no chance.
Bowen had an immediate chance to make amends when he raced through one-on-one with Jason Steele but his shot was too close to the keeper.
Steele, who at 32 was making only the second Premier League appearance of his career, justified his selection ahead of Robert Sanchez again moments later when he stuck out a leg to deny Tomas Soucek.
Each save was applauded by Danny Welbeck and Deniz Undav from the bench
Moyes brought off the erratic Said Benrahma at half-time, with the away fans immediately voicing their displeasure at the decision.
Six minutes into the second half Brighton doubled their lead through right-back Veltman, who was only on the field after an early injury to Tariq Lamptey.
Mac Allister flicked on a Pascal Gross corner and Veltman was all alone at the far post to guide the ball in with his chest.
It could have been three moments later when Evan Ferguson bulldozed his way through but Areola made a fine save to push his shot over.
Things were going from bad to worse for West Ham and their desperation was clear when Bowen was booked for a blatant dive in the area.
In the 69th minute, Mitoma ended any forlorn hope of a comeback from the visitors with a far-post tap-in from Gross’s cross.
Welbeck and Facundo Baunanotte were introduced for Pervis Estupinan and Solly March, although Ferguson for some reason thought he was being replaced and reluctantly wandered off the pitch only to be urged back on to it by the Albion bench.
Areola tipped a shot from Julio Enciso on to the crossbar but the hammering was complete with two minutes left through substitute Welbeck’s 20-yard drive.
Just before the end as oh so many blue seats were visible in the away end, Pascal Gross made space for himself and saw an effort go flashing wide.
That would have been Albion’s biggest ever top flight winning margin. In the last calendar year the Seagulls have beaten Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea 4-1, Leicester 5-2 and now West Ham 4-0
Right at the end Ings hit his best shot of the day, in sheer frustration straight into the lower West Stand.
Albion have three games in hand on Tottenham, win two of them against Crystal Palace at home and Bournemouth away, then effectively if they also beat Leeds at Elland Road they could be in the Champions League places by early April.
Albion could have to play rearranged matches against Manchester City and Manchester United both at hone and Newcastle away in April.
Albion travel to take on Leeds next Saturday and face Palace at the Amex the following Wednesday. Then a much anticipated FA Cup Qtr final against league 2 Grimsby Town. The Mariners dropping to 17th in the bottom EFL division today.
So in early March, Albion are competing on two fronts. Closing in on an FA Cup Semi Final place and also closing in on a Champions League place.
Are you pinching your self ?
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