Wednesday 23 May 2018

Ayew comes back to haunt hapless Hammers

Swansea City 4 West Ham 1

Swansea City striker Andre Ayew applauds fans during yesterday’s win over West Ham Photo: Getty
Swansea City striker Andre Ayew applauds fans during yesterday’s win over West Ham Photo: Getty

Stuart James

By the end it had turned into an ordeal for just about everyone associated with West Ham as André Ayew, the player they sold to Swansea City in January, inspired Carlos Carvalhal's side to an emphatic victory that lifts the Welsh club up five places in the table, above David Moyes's side.

The £18m club-record signing was involved in three of Swansea's four goals as Carvalhal's team gave their survival hopes a huge boost with a performance full of intensity and belief.

Mike van der Hoorn of Swansea City scores his sides second goal Photo: Getty
Mike van der Hoorn of Swansea City scores his sides second goal Photo: Getty

Ki Sung-yueng, who was hugely impressive in centre midfield, opened the scoring, Mike van der Hoorn added the second and there was no way back for West Ham when Andy King marked his first Swansea start with a goal early in the second half.

André Ayew, who played like a man possessed against his former club, then won the penalty that led to Jordan, his brother, adding a fourth - his 10th goal of the season.

Although Michail Antonio pulled a goal back for the visitors 11 minutes from time, that was little consolation for Moyes on a hugely disappointing afternoon for the West Ham manager. The visitors were desperately poor for the majority of the game, and a miserable defeat was compounded by the sight of Winston Reid leaving the field on a stretcher early in the first half.

Swansea could scarcely have made a better start. They were ahead within eight minutes after Ki, picking up possession from André Ayew, drilled a low left-footed shot from 22 yards beyond Adrian and into the corner. It was a lovely dummy by the South Korean to create the space to shoot but questions will be asked about whether the West Ham goalkeeper could have done more to keep out an effort that carried little power.

Jordan Ayew of Swansea City scores a penalty for his sides fourth goal Photo: Getty
Jordan Ayew of Swansea City scores a penalty for his sides fourth goal Photo: Getty

The home team were buoyant and came close to adding a second moments later following an almighty skirmish in the West Ham penalty area. With Adrian beaten, Declan Rice ended up blocking Federico Fernández's attempt to toe-poke home on the line. It was a reprieve for West Ham but came at a cost. Reid fell awkwardly as Van der Hoorn tried to force the ball in just before it ran through to Fernández and the game was held up for the best part of 10 minutes while the West Ham central defender received treatment before leaving the pitch.

It was an injury the Hammers could ill afford. Angelo Ogbonna dropped out on the eve of the game with illness and James Collins was another late withdrawal through injury, leaving West Ham threadbare at the back.

The momentum was firmly with Swansea prior to Reid's injury, yet any doubts about whether the delay would disrupt their rhythm were quickly dispelled as Carvalhal's team doubled their lead shortly after the half-hour mark. Only 60 seconds after Adrian repelled André Ayew's left-footed shot, Van der Hoorn headed in Ki's corner with Rice, the Dutchman's marker, stood rooted to the spot.

Moyes made a change at half-time, replacing Patrice Evra with Antonio to try to give West Ham more of an attacking threat, yet it was Swansea who struck again and it was another set-piece that did the damage. Sam Clucas delivered a corner from the right that André Ayew met with a twisting header, forcing Adrian into an instinctive save. King, however, pounced on the loose ball and stabbed it over the line.

With the game just approaching the hour mark, West Ham finally registered a shot on target. It should have led to a goal, too, but only Marko Arnautovic knows why he felt the need to sit Van der Hoorn as well as Alfie Mawson on his backside, with the Austrian's decision to delay pulling the trigger giving Lukasz Fabianski the chance to make a routine save.

Moyes was apoplectic on the touchline, unable to conceal his dismay, yet worse was to come for West Ham.

Cheikhou Kouyaté brought down André Ayew and Martin Atkinson, the referee, had the straightforward decision to point to the spot. Jordan Ayew stepped forward, rather than his brother, and confidently dispatched the ball into the bottom corner, sending Adrian the wrong way.

Antonio drilled a low shot from 12 yards past Fabianski late on but it was not enough to prevent Swansea from leapfrogging West Ham in the table on goal difference.

Observer

 

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