West Ham in wonderland and Alisson in blunderland as Hammers stun Liverpool
Almost two years into his second coming at West Ham United, David Moyes has never had it so good.
This afternoon they ended Liverpool’s 25-match unbeaten run with a 3-2 victory that lifted them above the Reds into third place. No wonder Moyes was beaming amid the bubbles at full-time.
What’s equally impressive is the Hammers thoroughly deserved it for their excellence on the break and at set-pieces.
Pablo Fornals corners provided two goals – the opener, wafted into his own net by Alisson and Kurt Zouma’s header for 3-1 – while the Spaniard capped a fine counter-attack to restore West Ham’s advantage following a superb Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick.
With a Europa League campaign also flying, Champions League football now a tantalising possibility and serious investment expected, these are the happiest of times for Hammers and there seems no good reason to think they’re about to end.
Chalk this one down as an off-day for Liverpool and in particular their goalkeeper.
So often a standout performer, here Alisson was at fault to varying degrees for all three West Ham goals. The first, he flapped at horribly under entirely lawful pressure from Michail Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna; the second slipped through his grasp; and the third was a mixture of both.
It can’t all be the Brazilian’s fault, but this was the fifth time in the last 10 games that Liverpool have conceded two or more goals.
Hale End kids nudge Arsenal into top five
After Emile Smith Rowe scored the opener in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Spurs in September, Mikel Arteta said he expected more of the same from the young forward.
His goal in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat of Watford, swept home from the edge of the box via a slight deflection, shows he is more than making good on his manager’s challenge.
Smith Rowe, 21, has now scored in three consecutive Premier League games. With five in all competitions, he has already surpassed last season’s tally.
He may not have done enough yet in Gareth Southgate’s eyes to win a first senior England call-up, but for the time being the national team’s loss is Arsenal’s gain.
If Smith Rowe applied the finishing touch as Arsenal climbed to fifth in the table, then it was his fellow Hale End academy graduate Ainsley Maitland-Niles who did the dirty work.
Filling in for Thomas Partey in central midfield, he snapped into tackles and tracked back manfully, on one occasion chasing his opponent the width of the field to dispossess him.
And there was silk to go with the steel, such as his chipped pass for Alexandre Lacazette that led to Bukayo Saka finding the net in the opening minutes, only to be given offside.
This was a rare Premier League start – and in his favoured position – for Maitland-Niles, who almost left the club in the summer. So far, staying put is working out for all parties.
Conte draws a blank
The Antonio Conte revolution is under way at Tottenham Hotspur, although all concerned may need to be patient if his first Premier League game in charge is anything to go by.
Spurs, who lie ninth in that table, failed to register a shot on target at Goodison Park, extending an unwanted run that now stretches to three hours of top-flight football.
Giovani lo Celso did hit the woodwork late on, but Everton thought they had a penalty when Chris Kavanagh blew for a Hugo Lloris challenge on Richarlison, only to reconsider on review.
Some hallmarks of the former Chelsea, Inter Milan and Juventus coach were in evidence, such as a back three and advanced wing backs, but Conte must wait until after the current international break for lift-off to his Tottenham tenure.