Peter Crouch And Andy Carroll Trade Goals In 1-1 Draw Between West Ham And Stoke
Peter Crouch’s first goal since November appeared to be enough to give Stoke just a second victory under Paul Lambert at West Ham on Monday evening, but Andy Carroll struck late on his first appearance in four months to salvage a point.
The Hammers had dominated the play all evening, even having two goals disallowed for offside, but Crouch appeared to change the picture completely in the final ten minutes. It looked like being enough, only for Carroll to break Potters hearts in their battle against relegation.
Here are four talking points from the London Stadium.
West Ham exerted all the pressure, but were left frustrated by the officials
David Moyes wanted a win to ease the, admittedly minimal, threat of the drop and open the trap door a little more for Stoke. His side took the game by the scruff of the neck, even if clear-cut chances were at a premium in the first half; Marko Arnautovic lead the line, but the ammunition he had in reserve was enviable. Carroll and Manuel Lanzini returned to the squad, joining the hero at Chelsea, Javier Hernandez, on the substitutes bench. Their superior quality showed on the pitch in all ways but one, but it was the crucial one, even if it wasn’t for the want of trying.
Twice the linesman denied home goals for offside, and twice Arnautovic was the culprit. First, he nodded in an Aaron Cresswell cross, but he was marginally beyond the last defender; Edmilson Fernandes’ strike was then chalked off with the same man deemed to be interfering with play. Michael Oliver was returning to the spotlight for the first time after an eventful evening in Madrid last week, but there was nothing controversial about his team’s decisions this time. Everything then went wrong for West Ham when Crouch, a second half substitute, pounced on Joe Hart’s fumble from Xherdan Shaqiri’s shot. Carroll saved the day with a trademark turn and finish in the dying minutes.
Mark Noble helped West Ham dominate early but they were frustrated
When the teams were announced and Kurt Zouma had been named as Stoke’s only change, replacing Glen Johnson, it was easy to see how Lambert would be approaching this game. Given that winning the game was of the upmost importance, starting cautiously was unlikely to appease the already simmering travelling support; but nullifying the home side’s threat was clearly on the Scot’s mind, having only conceded one goal in the first half of matches since he took over in January. It could be argued it worked, but he will have hoped to see his side grow into the game as it went on.
West Ham dominated the ball and the chances created, but there wasn’t much to get fans off their seats. Moyes needed his side to stretch the play, meaning Arthur Masuaku and Pablo Zabaleta had a big night ahead; they each provided an outlet and did get in behind Moritz Bauer and Erik Pieters respectively. Mark Noble, the Hammers captain, was their unsung hero, though; he was constantly looking to play the ball forward, in the air and on the ground, freeing up Joao Mario and Arnautovic who, despite getting one-on-one with Ryan Shawcross a couple of times, found himself crowded out by Stoke’s scrambling defence.
Arnautovic was up for it against his former club
For reasons unbeknown to most outside of the deal that took Arnautovic from Stoke to West Ham last summer, there is clearly no love lost between the Austrian and his former club. His superb performance in December’s reverse fixture at the Bet365 Stadium yielded three crucial points and a real rollicking from his old boss Mark Hughes. He then scored against Hughes’ new side, Southampton, in a 3-0 win two weeks ago, and did little to hide the extra joy. Confidence has been flowing through his game since Moyes put him up front through necessity due to injuries to his other strikers; he has relished the role and wanted to grab the headlines again on Wednesday.
With every opportunity he got, he wanted to run at his ex-teammates, but Zouma, Shawcross and Bruno Martins-Indi stood tall. Mario was buzzing around and causing problems, particularly in the second half when Lambert changed his system, but Arnautovic became more and more important to West Ham’s play as the game matured. It was just frustrating for him that he was called offside twice.
Jack Butland may have got an advantage over Joe Hart in the England stakes
The most interesting subplot to this game was the meeting between two of Gareth Southgate’s goalkeeping hopefuls at the World Cup, so it was clear the England manager was going to be in attendance. Neither had much to do in the first half, but Jack Butland in particular was equal to a lot of what was thrown at him after the break.
Although he was beaten at the death, Hart will be more disappointed with his part in the first goal of the night. Shaqiri’s strike from the edge of the box should have been collected and Crouch was there to punish him. More pressing for Butland, though, will be the missed opportunity to grab some crucial points and close the gap on those above his Stoke side in the table.