Hope everyone is safe and well.
Continuing my series of past games looks at the draw at home to Sheffield United. What a difference now compared to then.
West Ham came into this home game winless in their previous 5 matches with the buzz from beating Manchester United the previous month fading. This was a worrying performance with a team apparently packed with talent that made Manuel Pellegrini’s insistence the Hammers could have won this match hard to swallow. Although performing better than in their recent defeat against Everton and Crystal Palace the team failed to create chances for the £45m forward Sebastien Haller. “It is not easy to create chances against Sheffield United,” Pellegrini said. “He must play with some players near him.”
Memories of the bitter row between the clubs hung over proceedings with fans goading the visitors by holding up Tevez masks in the first league fixture between the teams since the 2007 season that saw Sheffield United relegated from the Premier League. The deal that brought Tevez, who scored against Manchester United to secure Premier League survival and sending the Blades down, and Javier Mascherano to East London 13 years previously still providing fuel to fierce rivalry between fans.
Robert Snodgrass, voted man of the match and returning to the side to make only his second league start of the season was the standout player offering a threat in the area and down the left throughout the game and deserved his goal. Snodgrass fired the Hammers ahead just before the break after Enda Stevens failed to deal with Jimenez’s goalkick allowing Felipe Anderson to set up Snodgrass and break the deadlock against a team with the joint second best defensive record in the league so far.
Snodgrass saw another effort come back off the post in the second half and Andriy Yarmolenko came close with a shot fractions wide in stoppage time. But the visitors had come out in the second half and ralied pushing on after Henderson had stopped Felipe Anderson doubling West Ham’s lead. In midfield the Blades out numbered Declan Rice and Mark Noble and Baldock spurned two excellent chances.
It was Lys Mousset, who was surprisingly dropped after netting the winner against Arsenal the previous week, was called from the bench in the 63rd minute. It proved a decisive substitution when on the 69th minute a header from Stevens teed up Mousset to volley beyond Roberto. West Ham did not do enough to win the game and despite those close chances from Snodgrass and Yarmolenko, the draw saw the Hammers climb briefly above Spurs to 9th, 2 places below the Blades on the same points separated by goal difference.