The Runner Sports

Cruise Control: West Ham 3-0 Bolton Wanderers

Well, with Hammer loanees in the lineup or not, Bolton was in for a rude awakening in their 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Marko Arnautovic and West Ham United. From the opening whistle, there was a certain atmosphere that surrounded the Hammers’, separating them from the Championship side from Bolton. The Carabao League Cup is supposed to provide lower level English clubs the opportunity to play and even beat Premier League clubs, however, that was not the case on this occasion. West Ham dominated early and maintained throughout the game as expected.

Starting early, West Ham capitalized on a 4th-minute free kick just outside of the penalty box which was tactfully scooped over the wall and absolutely blasted through the keeper in the net. Center back Angelo Ogbonna seemingly ran from 18 yards out and launched the ball viciously passed a flailing goalie, nabbing the first goal of the game and setting the tone for West Ham. Marko Arnautovic took the free kick which he sent high and curled it away from the keeper, propping it up for the towering center back to smash it in.

Later in the second half, Arnautovic assisted on Diafra Sakho’s 31st-minute goal, which he passed far side on the net, out of the keeper’s reach and into the far corner. This was Sakho’s second Cup goal this season and it appears he has created a personal position for himself on the Cup team as starting striker. Arnautovic was spotted and supplied the ball on a deep run on the left side. It was Arnautovic’s second assist of the game and the last stat that solidified his Man of the Match accreditation. The Austrian international, who is aptly built like a mountain, was simply of another class on the pitch today. He could have scored at least two goals in the first half alone, and was constantly slicing the back five Bolton ran on the pitch for this match. It is a hopeful sign after his three-match ban after an intentional elbow against Southampton.

The second half lacked in similar quality to the¬†first as West Ham dictated all facets by infusing youth in the lineup with their three substitutions. Sead Haksabonovic, the young newcomer who has spent time on the Under-23 squad, played an hour and started for West Ham. His substitution was not needed, as he played terrific in an attacking midfield role, however, his substitution made way for Nathan Holland’s West Ham debut. He was decisive in attack and nearly scored on a nice run that saw him one-on-one with the keeper. Domingos Quina also came on in the 77th minute, replacing captain Mark Noble. Quina, a highly touted skilled prospect, will get more time going forward and is poised to make more of an impact moving.

Chicharito subbed on in the 70th minute for Sakho but was almost immediately involved in a collision that saw him leave the pitch for treatment. Luckily, he returned, but quickly squared up with a Bolton defender for a challenge the opposition deemed too intense for a game this far gone. Hopefully, this instance shows Slaven Bilic that he needs to manage Chicharito’s minutes a bit better in these League Cup games. Youth striker Toni Martinez, who was left off the squad, would have been better suited to come on in a game of this quality for developmental time.

West Ham emphatically ended the game on a worldy screamer from outside the box in the 93rd-minute. Andre Ayew found Masuaku who crept in from his leftback position to hammer home the shot. Masuaku took full advantage of his time on the pitch today, linking up with Arnautovic on the left side and impressing with his playmaking ability. He is looking to rebound from his early season poor play which saw him lose his starting job to Aaron Cresswell. With Cresswell struggling to impress against West Brom, Masuaku may have won himself a start or some time on the field against Tottenham Hotspur this upcoming weekend.

West Ham cruised through this match and will see their Carabao Cup opponent drawn after the upcoming matches September 20. The competition will only get more challenging moving forward but West Ham is playing like a team on a mission in their last stretch of games. In all competitions, the Hammers have two wins and one draw with a goal differential of +5 and three clean sheets. Team defense has certainly been tightened up to the credit of manager Slaven Bilic and the team is capitalizing on scoring chances with more regularity. Sure, it was only lowly Bolton who West Ham defeated, but the class at which they did it, and with the squad used, it is worth celebrating. Tottenham offers more stiff competition in Premier League play in the upcoming weekend, and West Ham look to shut down their attack while springing a few goals on the second place Prem team from a year ago.

Adam Smith
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Adam Smith

West Ham United Writer at The Runner Sports
Proud supporter of the Claret and Blue, West Ham United!
Actively interested in transfer news, match reports, developing story lines, and all things West Ham United!
Adam Smith
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