Michail Antonio and Enner Valencia flop as West Ham lose to Chelsea
West Ham kicked off their campaign away at Stamford Bridge but unlike last season, there was to be no opening day joy for the Hammers. Chelsea deservedly ran out 2-1 winners with Diego Costa grabbing the winner in the 89th minute after James Collins had equalised for the East London side with 13 minutes remaining.
Although the score line suggests that it was a close game, in reality West Ham were second best for the majority of the encounter with Chelsea looking sharper throughout.
The worry for West Ham fans will be an injury to record-signing Andre Ayew who joins fellow newcomer Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini on the sidelines.
It is difficult to take positives when conceding an 89th minute goal which leads to a 2-1 defeat. Pair this with an inept performance and West Ham fans will struggle to take much from this loss.
Firstly, the issue at right-back has now reached boiling point. West Ham fans have been screaming since last season that Michail Antonio is not a full-back. This was only supposed to be a temporary fix until a permanent solution was found.
Antonio still at full-back has been a disaster waiting to happen. And happen it did as he inexplicably decided not to clear the ball in his own area and was caught in possession only to give away a penalty for a stupid foul.
Worryingly, things took a further twist as just moments later he was hauled off by Slaven Bilic with Sam Byram replacing him.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- Hammers fans love Bilic but there is no doubt he was at fault for a few things, namely the persistence in playing Antonio at right-back. To then take him off after conceding the penalty was harsh and it should have been Enner Valencia coming off to allow Antonio to move further forward.
Player Ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Adrian, 6 -- His sight for the winning goal seemed impeded by James Collins and tangling with Diego Costa after the striker put in a late challenge all culminated because of Adrian's silliness on the ball.
DF Michail Antonio, 2 -- Whether Antonio is a natural right-back or not, he should know when to clear the ball when the defence is under pressure. His mistake that led to the penalty was inexcusable.
DF James Collins, 7 -- Took his goal superbly and defensively, he had a solid game. He made countless tackles and interceptions and at points he seemed to be the thin line between Chelsea scoring or not.
DF Winston Reid, 5 -- Seemed to struggle to clear the ball and looked uneasy throughout the game. Made a couple of good interceptions but when he had the ball at his feet his distribution was dire.
DF Arthur Masuaku, 5 -- A difficult debut for the left-back who often wanted too much time on the ball and his reluctance to clear his lines quickly often resulted in a loss of possession.
MF Havard Nordtveit, 4 -- He was a surprise inclusion for me as from what I have seen of him so far I haven't been overly impressed. Looked a little out of his depth and his touch was poor on more than one occasion. The Norwegian international's passing was limited and rarely made it's intended target and he just put in a display that offered so very little.
MF Mark Noble, 4 -- The captain was lost throughout the majority of this game. He saw a lot of the ball but didn't seem to know what to do with it as he ran into trouble time and time again. The way he and the entire midfield gave the ball away was criminal.
MF Cheikhou Kouyate, 4 -- Kouyate was playing further forward than usual but he just couldn't get into the game and impose himself. Very disappointing.
FW Andre Ayew, 4 -- Taken off after 35 minutes with an injury. Hopefully it won't be too serious as West Ham are terribly short of attacking options. Before he came off he wasn't really involved in the game at all.
FW Enner Valencia, 2 -- His ball possession was atrocious. Work rate was fine but if West Ham are going to progress as a club, players like Valencia need to be as far away from the first team as possible.
FW Andy Carroll, 6 -- He worked his socks off for the entire game but was given nothing to go on. He kept winning headers and putting himself about but there was no support from midfield and his task was futile.
FW Gokhan Tore, 2 -- He probably didn't expect to have been involved as early as he was when he replaced Ayew but that really isn't an excuse to have been so anonymous. As debuts go, this was shockingly bad.
DF Sam Byram, 5 -- Replaced Antonio but most West Ham fans would argue that he should have been starting in the first place. Up against Eden Hazard he found it hard but he kept at the task and surely he will be starting the next league game.
MF Dmitri Payet, 7 -- The team looked better the moment the Frenchman came on. A positive impact and a glimpse of just how important he is to this West Ham team.