Kalvin Phillips did not have the perfect start, but West Ham managed to earn a valuable point. Despite giving up an early goal by Dominic Solanke due to a mistake from newcomer James Ward-Prowse, their second-half penalty from Ward-Prowse himself was enough to salvage a draw.
Before the start of the game, both teams were determined to break their two-game losing streak in the league. The visitors had a tougher situation as they had suffered two consecutive defeats, while the hosts were hoping to bounce back from two draws, although Bournemouth had managed to make it through two rounds of the FA Cup in between. Andoni Iraola’s team has been inconsistent this season, starting off slow, finding their form, and then facing tough challenges against Tottenham and Liverpool. They seemed on track for another win, but West Ham had different plans.
After finalizing his loan from Manchester City last week, David Moyes wasted no time in giving Phillips his first start for West Ham. Due to his extended period of inactivity at City, it was expected that Phillips would need some time to adjust and shake off any rust. However, what was not expected was the early goal scored by Solanke after only three minutes. Phillips was caught off guard by Ryan Christie, who dispossessed him on the edge of the area, leaving him unable to stop Solanke from scoring his 15th goal of the season. “It’s not a goal we typically concede,” stated Moyes afterwards. “We gave them an advantage right away and it meant we had to step up and show our level of performance, which unfortunately we were not able to do tonight.”
Following their elimination from the FA Cup, West Ham was inactive for 10 days and had difficulty finding their rhythm. They experienced slips, missed passes, and attacks that fizzled out, with only one shot on goal in the first 30 minutes. Phillips’ curling shot was easily saved by Neto.
Iraola’s Bournemouth displayed their signature aggressive pressing style, disrupting their opponent’s passing game. They missed a chance to score their second goal in the 35th minute when Christie won the ball in a high position and passed it to Solanke. However, Areola quickly came off his line to make a crucial save as Semenyo had been set up on the right.
Jarrod Bowen had an opportunity to rectify things after being set up by Ward-Prowse, but he was unable to get past Neto from a short distance. As West Ham pushed for an equalizer before halftime, the game became more open. Solanke made a strong run from deep and found Semenyo, but his shot was deflected and went over the goal. The home team was under pressure at halftime, with Moyes walking off without looking back. He was not pleased with what he had witnessed and made a change in midfield during the break, with Edson Álvarez dropping back while Phillips and Tomas Soucek moved up the field.
In the second half, West Ham regained their focus and energy. Soucek attempted a powerful header but missed after a usual free-kick from Ward-Prowse. Mohammed Kudus, who returned from a disappointing Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana, changed the atmosphere. He skillfully got past Lloyd Kelly on the wing and was fouled.
After playing for a short time, Tim Robinson, the referee, was asked to review the video footage and ultimately gave a penalty. Ward-Prowse, known for his accuracy from long distances, scored without error from 12 yards. Iraola commented, “I believe it was a penalty, but I disagree with the procedure.” He also added, “In this type of situation, the referee makes a decision based on the live contact he sees. Typically, VAR does not intervene in these types of plays.”
Despite West Ham gaining momentum, Bournemouth did not allow themselves to be overpowered. Christie narrowly missed from outside the box, and Areola had to stay on guard as the opposing team sent in crosses from both sides. Both teams had opportunities, but neither could secure a victory. Iraola can be satisfied with his team’s high-intensity play, while Moyes will be proud of his players for their determined comeback. Phillips, who received a supportive reception when he was substituted in the second half, will be relieved that his debut with the new club did not result in a demoralizing loss.