West Ham dish out a Boxing Day mauling
PUBLISHED: 16:59 26 December 2016 | UPDATED: 16:59 26 December 2016
PA Wire/PA Images
The Hammers slayed the Swans in convincing style at the Liberty
Swansea City 1 West Ham United 4
West Ham eased to their biggest win of the season with a dominant display against relegation-haunted Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
It proved a Boxing Day mauling for the Swans as a first-half goal from Andre Ayew, against his old club and then second-half strikes from Winston Reid, Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll gave the Hammers a storming victory with the home side having just Fernando Lloriente’s consolation to show for their efforts.
Manager Slaven Bilic made two changes from the team that scraped past Hull City last Wednesday with Havard Nordtveit coming in for the suspended Pedro Obiang and Andre Ayew starting against his old club as Manuel Lanzini stayed at home.
The boss also changed the formation as he went back to a flat back four with Nordtveit at right back, while Cheikhou Kouyate moved out of the defence to play in central midfield.
Under pressure Swansea, sitting in the relegation zone, started the brighter and Borja should have done better with a shot from the edge of the box which flew wide.
But it was West Ham who struck first just a couple of minutes later.
Nordtveit’s teasing cross to Andy Carroll at the far post and when he nodded down, Kouyate got a touch, Lukasz Fabianski spilled it and Ayew was on hand to tap in his first goal for the Hammers from close range.
They almost added a second five minutes later as Dimitri Payet crossed for Ayew and then Antonio to just fail to connect, though the iinesman had signalled for offside.
Payet tested the keeper with a stinging shot from the edge of the box which he held well as Swansea looked shocked by the early goal and were finding West Ham’s pressing difficult to cope with.
They did briefly threaten on 35 minutes when Angel Rangel was released down the right and delivered a low cross to Gylfi Sigurdsson, but the Icelander mishit his shot and it went out for a throw-in.
As the half wore on, Swansea were beginning to have more possession and the Hammers tended to sit too far back. They won a free kick after a scrappy melee just outside the box on 40 minutes and Sigurdsson’s goalbound effort was well saved by Darren Randolph in a similar way to his stop against Burnley the previous week.
At the other end, a quick West Ham break saw the ball played out to Antonio on the left and he cut inside and fired a curling shot which was inches wide of the far post.
Swansea threw on Jefferson Montero and Fernando Llorente for the second half as they looked to grab control and the thought of Montero up against Nordtveit was a scary one, but it was West Ham who doubled their score shortly after the break.
Carroll won a corner when his shot was deflected wide and when Payet delivered, Winston Reid got between two defenders to head West Ham further in front.
The home crowd showed their unrest by chanting at the Swansea owners and the team responded as Wayne Routledge forced a good save from Randolph as he headed towards the corner.
Llorente then jinked into the box and dinked a cross to the head of Sigurdsson who saw his effort tipped over the bar, but Swansea were already looking desaperate with 20 minutes still to go.
Goalscorer Ayew was replaced by Edimilson Fernandes as Bilic looked for fresh legs and West Ham then put the match out of sight with a third goal. Nordtveit let fly with a shot from the edge of the box that looked to be going wide, but the alert Antonio in the box diverted it into the net for his eighth goal of the season.
Randolph made another low save to keep Swansea at bay and this performance was reminiscent of some of their best away wins of last season and was their best display of the season.
Swansea did manage to puil one back in the last couple of minutes as Nathan Dyer crossed for Llorente to score, but West Ham simply rubbed salt into the Welsh wounds as Carroll thumped one in at the far post to make it 4-1.
The home crowd called for the bald head of manager Bob Bradley as well as the board, but it mattered little to rampant West Ham.
It made it three wins on the trot and with Leicester City to visit on New Year’s Eve, the Hammers will look to finish what has been an historic year on another high note.
West Ham: Randolph, Nordtveit, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Antonio Feghouli, 83), Payet, Ayew (Fernandes 74), Carroll (Fletcher 89).
Unused subs: Adrian, Quina, Rice, Pike.