West Ham recovered from a poor first half to put Hull to the sword in a 3-0 victory at Upton Park, with the Tigers losing yet another player in James Chester, who came off injured with a suspected dislocated shoulder.
Hull were perhaps the better side in the first half, carving out chances and keeping West Ham at bay. However goals from Andy Carroll, Morgan Amalfitano and Stewart Downing gave the Hammers a win and gives Hull manager Steve Bruce a lot to think about.
It was the visitors who started the game the brighter side. Sone Aluko in particular was impressing in the capital, with the Nigerian having two chances in the first three minutes, but the West Ham defence held strong. The Tigers were doing well, they were holding possession and playing incredibly well considering they had around six first team players out.
With someone like Andy Carroll up front, West Ham may be forgiven for taking the direct approach, but Hull were reacting to these tactics well. Hull skipper Curtis Davies was cutting out many of the attempts of supplying Carroll with the ball over the top. As the first half went on, both sides had chances, but it was the defences which were best during he half.
Hull's defensive comtingent of Chester, Michael Dawson, Davies and Alex Bruce were coping with the real threat of Stewart Downing, Enner Valencia and Carroll well, while James Collins and James Tomkins were resisting Aluko and the game was goalless at the interval. Chester was brought off just before the whistle, his shoulder likely to be dislocated and wasn't too dissimilar to the injury Matthieu Debuchy suffered for Arsenal last week, he was replaced by Maynor Figueroa.
Bruce reacted at half time by bringing off son Alex for Harry Maguire, who can pose a more attacking threat. However the Hammers were a different sode after half time, and with only three minutes of the half played, Carroll managed to break the deadlock. Valencia's shot was parried by Hull 'keeper Allan McGregor right into the path of the tall striker, who continues his fine goalscoring form.
West Ham were significantly different in the second half with Hull somewhat going into their shell after Carroll's goal. The visitors needed a goal and quick, however they didn't look like carving out a chance. So Bruce sent Maguire up front alongside Aluko despite having a designated striker in Yannick Sagbo sitting on the bench.
Midway through the second half Alex Song played in Valencia, with substitute Amalfitano beating the offside trap and latching onto Valencia's ball, before chipping the ball over an on rushing McGregor. West Ham were firmly in control now and Hull were sinking, with no real threat going forward, Bruce brought on Sagbo for Davies but his input was very little.
Three minutes later it was three as Song again played the creator as he played in Downing, who managed to waltz through the weak Hull defence and slotted past a poor McGregor, the winger was very impressive and could play a key part in West Ham's European push.
So with another injury to contend with, Bruce may need to be a busy man in the transfer window, with a striker and a possible loan for a defender surely being his key priorities right now. Counterpart Sam Allardyce however will be re-evaluating West Ham's expectations after a strong start to the season.
|West Ham (3)||Hull City (0)|
|Tomkins (3)||6||Bruce (2)||6|
|Reid (1)||6||Figueroa (1)||6|
|Amalfitano (2)||7||Maguire (2)||6|
|O'Brien (3)||6||Sagbo (3)||5|