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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at the London Stadium

Much ado about nothing, nothing, as West Ham are content to sit tight in dull draw

Picture by: YTJourno

West Ham United (0) 0

Brighton & HA (0) 0

West Ham fans may still feel conflicted when it comes to whether David Moyes should get the new contract that is currently being discussed by the board - and this tepid draw will have done little to sway the undecided.

After the fun and frolics of the festive weekend in the Premier League, this was an altogether more humdrum affair, probably befitting the end of the Christmas and New Year fun.

This felt like a game too far for everyone and became only the fifth 0-0 draw in the top flight in what has been a madcap first half of the season.

Irons fans might have been hoping for better on the back of 2-0 wins against Man United and Arsenal in successive matches but judging by the subdued atmosphere from the start, they also probably expected a bit of an anti-climax.

Nine wins in the previous 12 games suggested the Scot has made an unanswerable case - especially after guiding the Hammers to the higher reaches of the Premier League in recent seasons and landed a European trophy - the fans may have mentioned that once or twice at games. His first ever win at the Emirates last week was a long overdue addition to the CV.

The flip side is that the two defeats in the past two months included the five-goal drubbings at Fulham and Liverpool - the latter a particularly galling because it was such a meek surrender in a match Moyes simply did not seem to prioritise.

The vibrancy which has characterised recent weeks has been down to several factors, but two of them were absent here, with Mohammed Kudus called up by Ghana for the Africa Cup of Nations and Lucas Paqueta sidelined by a knee injury. Vladimir Coufal - a contract dispute in the air - was also missing.

They were left to take comfort in a third clean sheet in a row as they retain sixth place in the table but it was not much fun watching them play as though they were the away team, sitting back and feeding on scraps.

The Irons still had James Ward-Prowse and his left foot volley almost beat Jason Steele - the Albion keeper saving well his his legs. They also had Tomas Soucek, who nearly celebrated signing a new contract until 2027 with a goal - stabbing wide after a ball rebounded to him off an Albion defender. But Jarrod Bowen was few real opportunities to get West Ham the win they wanted.

Alphonse Areola was called into action a couple of times - thwarting Jack Hinshelwood and Pascal Gross with a shot and header in each case directed straight at him.

The keeper also dealt well with Danny Welbeck's powerful shot from 12 yards in the second half and a Joao Pedro effort which was again fairly routine, although he had to hurry to prevent an edge of area thump from Adam Lallana finding the bottom corner.

Brighton were easily the better side and hogged the ball, having 68 per cent of the ball. But like Arsenal last week, they could not find a way to unlock a well-drilled defence.

They have enjoyed their visits to these parts though, and are now unbeaten in their past seven trips to the Hammers. The Seagulls have not lost in east London since April 2012, when Ricardo Vaz Te hit a hat-trick in a 6-0 win for the Irons.

Hammers: (4-2-3-1) Areola - Johnson, Mavropanos, Ogbonna, Emerson - Alvarez, Soucek - Benrahma (Mubama 73), Ward-Prowse, Fornals - Bowen

Seagulls: (4-3-1-2) Steele - Hinshelwood, van Hecke, Webster (Moder 74), Estupinian - Gross, Gilmour, Milner - Buonanotte (Lallana 74) - Welbeck (Ferguson 67), Joao Pedro


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