West Ham: Bilic discusses last gasp victory; Chelsea next up; Boleyn Ground explosions
It took a last gasp Dimitri Payet winner to see West Ham through to the next round of the EFL Cup as they saw off Accrington Stanley with Payet’s free-kick one of the last kicks of the game. The Hammers fielded a strong starting line-up featuring the likes of Simone Zaza, Angelo Ogbonna and Sofiane Feghouli, but needed the introduction of Payet as a substitute, alongside Michail Antonio, to change the game late on and put them into the next round.
The result does not ease the pressure on under pressure boss Slaven Bilic, who openly admitted after the game that his side were far from their best in the display which saw them level with the League 2 outfit for much of the game, and even under pressure at times. He told the media:
“It wasn’t a great performance, but we are through. In the first half, we controlled the game but wasted a couple of opportunities. In the second half, we put three players on because we wanted to win, but their goalkeeper made three or four world-class saves… The most important thing is we won, and only with wins and clean sheets will we get the confidence back that we are missing.”
The draw for the EFL Cup has not been kind to the Hammers and has drawn them up against Chelsea, who will travel to the London Stadium for the first time in just over a month. The Irons have already been defeated by the Blues once this season, with Diego Costa scoring a late winner for Antonio Conte’s side on his Premier League debut in the first match of the season. With the team now lacking confidence and form, the last thing they’ll want is a tough tie against one of the best sides in the league.
The Blues came back from behind to see off reigning Premier League champions Leicester City in extra-time and will now welcome the trip from west London to east London. If still in charge, Slaven Bilic will also have to decide whether or not he will rotate his side as he did in last night’s victory, giving debuts to Alvaro Arbeloa and Edimilson Fernandes.
Demolition works and explosions have now begun at Upton Park as the Boleyn Ground was used for a Hollywood movie, with a film portraying a football stadium being taken hostage by criminals using explosives in one corner of the ground. The film. called “Final Score” will star Pierce Brosnan and has used a number of volunteers to fill the stands of the stadium as Hammers were given one last chance to see inside the stadium before it is knocked down.
Demolition work on the former ground will begin shortly as it will be replaced with housing, but many West Ham fans could be forgiven for longing to be back at their former home given the issues encountered in the opening weeks of the season at their new home of the London Stadium.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Benjamin McQuaid.