West Ham United boss Manuel Pellegrini says striker Sebastien Haller is a “complete player” after he scored a third goal in two games during their win against Norwich City. The Frenchman had scored twice against Watford leading into the game against the Canaries and struck midway through the first half on Saturday.
Haller gave the Hammers the lead with an easy finish from close range after a low cross from the left wing by Arthur Masuaku before Andriy Yarmolenko wrapped up the win in the second half. “He scores goals but works a lot for the team as well. He will continue improving in every game.” Pellegrini said following the match. Sebastien is a complete player.”
West Ham’s victory lifted them to fifth while Norwich suffered a third defeat in four league games and have now conceded more goals (10) than anyone else in the Premier League this season. Despite going in 1-0 down at the break, Norwich fared well against an organised West Ham side, with Todd Cantwell coming closest to inspiring a quick equaliser.
After Max Aarons put a fine run into the box, beating several West Ham markers in the process, he delivered a chipped ball to Cantwell who headed over the bar from close range. The visitors’ task was made harder on 36 minutes when captain Christoph Zimmermann was forced off through injury following a robust tackle from Haller.
Ibrahim Amadou replaced him, having only made his debut in their midweek Carabao Cup defeat by Crawley Town, and the inexperience showed as the hosts dominated the second half. Yarmolenko went on to double West Ham’s advantage as he found the net with a left-footed volley after Norwich failed to clear.
Despite the visitors’ best efforts, the Hammers did well to cancel out Norwich’s prolific goalscorer Teemu Pukki to complete what was ultimately a routine win against the newly promoted side. West Ham’s win marks a change in fortunes from last season for Manuel Pellegrini’s side, who might have anticipated another tough start to a campaign after their heavy defeat by Manchester City on the opening day.
At this point last season, the Hammers were bottom of the Premier League without a point and had conceded 10 goals in four league games. But since that opening 5-0 loss to the champions, Pellegrini has guided his side to a draw at Brighton, a win against Watford and a midweek Carabao Cup victory over Newport County, before seeing off the Canaries in some comfort.
Norwich did well to dictate the flow of the game in the early stages of both halves, but Haller’s 24th-minute goal shifted the game in favour of the hosts. The Frenchman, who signed from Eintracht Frankfurt for a club record £45m in the summer, got on the scoresheet again after his double against Watford as he linked up with Masuaku to poke home.
The Hammers fielded pressure from Norwich afterwards, but they rarely looked in danger even before Yarmolenko’s impressive second-half volley doubled their lead. This was a performance to inspire confidence in front of West Ham’s vociferous home support and their side now look in better shape than they did this time just 12 months ago.
Norwich have had a week to forget. After home defeat by Chelsea last Saturday and an EFL Cup exit at Crawley in midweek, they struggled to find an answer to the hosts’ fine defensive performance. That loss to Chelsea followed a comfortable 3-1 win over Newcastle, but the promise shown in that game appears to be quickly wearing thin.
Pukki, who came into the game with five goals in three games, had an uncharacteristically quiet match and Norwich were short of answers once the hosts took the lead. And the loss of Zimmermann left a hole in defence that the Hammers easily exploited through the match.
In the end, the loss could have been heavier, goalkeeper Tim Krul saving Manuel Lanzini’s close-range header before making a fine save from Anderson soon after.