By Gursimran Hans
A disappointing West Ham performance saw them slump to a deserved 2-0 defeat at the DW Stadium to League One Wigan.
West Ham showed some good forward play in the opening stages but quickly found themselves behind, Nathan Byrne’s cross being headed home by Will Grigg, the Northern Ireland striker towering above Reece Burke and heading past Joe Hart’s near post, though the England stopper really should’ve done better.
Moments later and Chey Dunkley stopped a header low in the same corner, but it was ruled out for offside.
West Ham failed to recover after that and Nick Powell caused plenty of problems down West Ham’s right-hand side, getting down the by-line to whip in several crosses.
Despite the best attempts of Josh Cullen to control the game, West Ham were under par, with Wigan winning the lions share of duels and West Ham’s only chance in the second half came after Toni Martinez ran down a supposedly loose ball, tackling his opponent and squaring, the ball eventually fell to Reece Oxford (on after Pedro Obiang came out worse in a 50-50 with Max Power) blazed over the bar.
The second half saw the introduction of new signing Joao Mario and the side looked a bit more positive. That changed when Arthur Masuaku was sent off. Having looked reasonably dangerous, Masuaku ran down the left wing, he was tackled by Nick Powell who also seemed to dig his elbows and as Masuaku went to take the throw-in, Powell appears to have said something to Masuaku, which was met with spitting.
Masuaku was immediately given his marching orders and had little complaints. He will deservedly be met with a considerable ban, a scummy moment that has cost his reputation and his teammates’ chances of salvaging a result.
Mario had shown some good touches but an attempt to play a cross-field pass was sent straight to an opponent, the ball was played in for Grigg who chipped the ball onto Burke’s arm before dispatching the resultant penalty.
West Ham occasionally went forward, with Hernandez starting a good move before Cullen eventually played in Mario who let the ball run past him despite being onside.
Massey and Powell continued to cause problems as Wigan looked to add a third, despite being under considerable pressure – Angelo Ogbonna and Reece Burke just about managed to do their jobs.
Sead Haksabanovic came on and looked bright but ultimately Oxford’s speculative blast was the only shot West Ham had. The DW bought out a chorus of “You’re getting sacked int he morning” which was responded to with “Sack the board” through the away end emptied out rather quickly as West Ham played out another uninspiring defeat in which they were outclassed and outfought.
The young boys actually tried rather hard but were let down by the system in operation, using Hernandez as a target man with two rigid banks of four and sub-par performances from the experienced heads.
Wigan Athletic – Walton, Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, Elder (James ’86), Power, Morsy (c), Massey (Colclough ’76), Powell, Jacobs, Grigg (Roberts ’88).
Unused Subs – Jones, Perkins, Bruce, Fulton.
Goalscorer – Will Grigg ‘7, ’62.
West Ham United – Hart (c), Zabaleta (Mario ’45), Collins, Burke, Cresswell, Byram, Cullen, Obiang (Oxford ’36), Masuaku, Martinez (Haksabanovic ’81), Hernandez.
Unused Subs – Adrian, Collins, Quina, Diangana.