West Ham produced a sensational display to beat Norwich 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday at the London Stadium, as goals from Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko saw them claim all three points.
Norwich had the better of the early exchanges, with Hammers forward Sebastien Haller unable to get involved. However, Manuel Pellegrini's men thought they had a penalty after 13 minutes, with Yarmolenko being clipped - but the referee and VAR denied the appeal. From that moment, the hosts began to dominate proceedings, with Felipe Anderson squandering a good chance.
Haller gave the home side the lead on 24 minutes with a tap-in, following a surging run down the wing from Arthur Masuaku. Todd Cantwell had the chance to equalise six minutes later, but he somehow missed his header from one yard out.
After half-time, the Hammers only needed ten minutes to extend their lead with Yarmolenko drilling home a lovely strike. The winger hit the post moments earlier, but was able to take his second chance.
The hosts dominated the rest of the match, with Lanzini, Haller and Anderson all having opportunities to score. It could have been much worse for the Canaries, but the game ended 2-0.
Key Talking Point
It will have been refreshing for Hammers fans to see the team remain unchanged from the victory over Watford last weekend. To that end, it was visible that the players had more confidence and were clearer over the roles they were operating.
The defence was marshalled well by Issa Diop, who did well to keep the lethal Teemu Pukki quiet. However, it was the impressive link-up play of the forwards that will have been most pleasing for the home fans. There was a fluidity in attack that saw Manuel Lanzini, Anderson, Yarmolenko and Haller constantly rotating positions.
Lanzini - after signing his new contract - was pulling the strings in midfield, with the Argentinian constantly looking to provide his attackers. It was an extremely accomplished performance from the whole team - and they will be confident they can push on after the international break.
Starting XI: Fabianski (6); Fredericks (6), Diop (7), Ogbonna (7), Masuaku (7); Rice (6), Noble (6); Yarmolenko (7), Lanzini (7), Anderson (9); Haller (8)
Substitutes: Snodgrass (6), C Sánchez (N/A), Fornals (N/A)
STAR PLAYER - Although Sebastien Haller was impressive once again, it was Felipe Anderson who was the standout performer. The link-up play between the two was sensational, with a clear connection beginning to be formed.
Anderson's perfectly weighted pass in the build up to Haller's goal was world-class - a perfectly weighted ball that sent Masuaku through, who didn't need to break his stride. The Brazilian continued to torment the Norwich defence with his close ball control and creativity.
The winger attempted to get himself on the scoresheet on a number of occasions, but Tim Krul pulled off a number of fine saves to keep him out. In the final moments, Anderson slid a sensational ball through for Haller, who could have won a penalty but the referee deemed it not to be. It was a phenomenal performance from the 26-year-old, and his form will be crucial for the Hammers this season.
Key Talking Point
Norwich started the half well, but the defence began to look penetrable as soon as the hosts began warmed to the task. The centre-backs were struggling to deal with the movement of the opposition - and it most certainly didn't help that they lost their captain Christoph Zimmermann to injury towards the end of the first half.
He was replaced by Ibrahim Amadou, who is primarily a defensive midfielder. This signifies the issue that exists - which is, squad depth. Ben Godfrey was left to marshal the defence and assume responsibility, but it is concerning that such pressure was placed on the 21-year-old's shoulders.
Further up the pitch, Teemu Pukki worked tirelessly to carve out opportunities for himself, but he was left isolated. When the ball was fed out wide, he would often be the only man in the box posing a threat - the lack of support from the midfield will be a major cause for concern.
Starting XI: Krul (7); Aarons (6), Zimmermann (4), Godfrey (5), Lewis (7); Trybull (4), Leitner (4); Buendía (5), Stiepermann (4), Cantwell (4); Pukki (4)
Substitutes: Amadou (5), McLean (5), Drmic (5)
STAR PLAYER - Norwich were disappointing, with not too many players giving reason to be cheerful. However, Jamal Lewis put in another accomplished performance at the London Stadium.
He was constantly looking to get forward and pose a threat at every opportunity possible. The 21-year-old was able to keep Yarmolenko quiet for the vast majority of the game and was communicating well throughout the match with the rest of the backline. Lewis is a very exciting youngster with a very bright future - and he showed that in an otherwise disappointing Norwich performance.
After the international break, West Ham will travel to face Aston Villa on Monday 16 September in the Premier League, before hosting Manchester United six days later.
Similarly, Norwich City will welcome the reigning champions Manchester City to Carrow Road in the league on Saturday 14 September. They then travel to Turf Moor to take on Burnley one week later.