West Ham kept their Champions League hopes alive with a crucial 2-1 win at Burnley on Monday.
It was the Clarets who started off on the front foot as Chris Wood got his obligatory goal against West Ham from the penalty spot, but that was quickly cancelled out when Michail Antonio marked his return to the team by powering a header past Nick Pope.
West Ham initially looked unsure of themselves in a new 4-2-3-1 formation but they grew in confidence with the equaliser, and took the lead just six minutes later when Said Benrahma’s wonderful delivery was touched into the far corner by Antonio.
The second half was wide open and Burnley had a real go at getting back into it. Substitute Jay Rodriguez had the best chance, but he somehow sent his effort wide when it seemed easier to tap it in from close range.
But West Ham weathered the flurry, and held on for a win that could be massive in their pursuit of Champions League football next season. They now sit just three points from Chelsea, and with four games left to go, it is all to play for.
Let’s get into some player ratings!
Nick Pope (GK) – 6/10 – Couple of simple stops kept West Ham at bay but nothing remarkable from the Burnley stopper.
Matthew Lowton (RB) – 5/10 – Would love to never see Benrahma again. Torn asunder by the Algerian in the first half and that decimated his will to get forward or take any risks.
James Tarkowski (CB) – 5/10 – Struggled to keep tabs on Antonio whose pace and power was too much to handle at times.
Ben Mee (CB) – 6/10 – Couple of important blocks kept West Ham at bay early on.
Charlie Taylor (LB) – 5/10 – Did a decent job of keeping Pablo Fornals quiet but gave the ball away with alarming regularity.
Josh Brownhill (RM) – 5/10 – Spent the entire first-half doubling up with Lowton on Benrahma to absolutely no avail. Got forward a bit more after the break and nearly equalised.
Ashley Westwood (CM) – 7/10 – Great industrious run to instigate the first goal. Vital at the heart of the Burnley engine room.
Jack Cork (CM) – 6/10 – Kept things neat and tidy in midfield without making any actual impact on the game.
Dwight McNeil (LM) – 6/10 – Gave the ball away far too easily on the West Ham equaliser. Otherwise one of Burnley’s brighter performers.
Matej Vydra (CF) – 5/10 – One or two lively moments but struggled to really impose himself on the game. Subbed for Jay Rodriguez on the hour.
Chris Wood (CF) – 7/10 – Streetwise play to win the penalty. Streetwise execution to convert it. Not so streetwise when he decided to play as an auxiliary centre-half for a few minutes in the first half and got in Tarkowski’s way for Antonio’s second.
Jay Rodriguez (Vydra, 61) – 5/10
Johan Berg Gudmundsson (McNeil, 74) – 5/10
Ashley Barnes (Wood, 85) – N/A
Lukasz Fabianski (GK) – 6/10 – Hardly got a sniff of the ball, penalty aside.
Vladimir Coufal (RB) – 7/10 – Simple but effective delivery to pick out Antonio for West Ham’s equaliser. Grew into the game as an attacking threat and frequently got beyond Fornals.
Issa Diop (CB) – 5/10 – One or two hairy moments particularly in the first half but benefited from the experience of Dawson beside him.
Craig Dawson (CB) – 6/10 – Was sharp to deny the crafty Vydra on the line to keep his team in the lead. His importance to the West Ham side is only growing.
Aaron Cresswell (LB) – 6/10 – Sharp with his defensive play but didn’t let the formation change hamper his attacking involvement.
Tomas Soucek (CM) – 5/10 – Clumsy to concede an early penalty. Seemed uneasy without either of his regular partners beside him but recovered well from a shaky start.
Manuel Lanzini (CM) – 6/10 – Asked to play central midfield in the absence of Declan Rice and Mark Noble. Didn’t look particularly comfortable but did the job admirably in the circumstances.
Jesse Lingard (AM) – 6/10 – Didn’t seem to enjoy playing in a slightly deeper role than usual and only showed flashes of the form that has established him as one of West Ham’s players of the season. But still had a hand in the equaliser.
Pablo Fornals (RW) – 6/10 – It’s not exactly clear what his best position is…but right wing probably isn’t it. Quietest of West Ham’s attackers by a distance.
Michail Antonio (CF) – 8/10 – You know that player at five-a-side who you really want to kick but can’t actually get close enough to them to do it? Yeah. Back in the team with a thumping header and the slightest of touches to nudge in Benrahma’s cross.
Said Benrahma (LW) – 8/10 – Glorious delivery created West Ham’s second and seemed to fill him with confidence. Kept Lowton very busy indeed, not that the right-back could get near him.
Jarrod Bowen (Benrahma, 79) – 5/10