A-level performance from Alphone Areola


Alphonse Areola post-match

Alphonse Areola nailed the first team position with a totally superb performance at Brighton but was far happier when he saw the ball carried to the other end of the pitch by some brilliant Hammers counter-attacking football.

And in the process of doing just that we showed that possession stats can be entirely misleading with Albion dominating us in the area .

The hosts had more chances than us but it’s about taking them rather than creating them and we certainly took ours whilst the south coast side struggled to break through our defence. Whenever they did Alphonse was on hand with some amazing saves.

Superb counter-attacking goals, netted by James Ward-Prowse, Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio, put the Seagulls to the sword on the south coast, scoring West Ham’s first-ever Premier League victory over the Sussex club.

Pascal Groß pulled one back late on, but that run of winless results against Brighton finally came to an end with at a lucky 13th attempt.

Afterwards the Hammers keeper told “It’s a good view when the lads are going away from me. If I can have a view like that, it’s absolutely fine. It means we are scoring a lot, so it is a good view. It was good that we showed we are not just a defensive team. We can score as well.

“The guys, all over the pitch, were brilliant. It’s just down to a lot of work from the team.”

My main focus is to not concede. Unfortunately we conceded one but, when we watch the game, the most important thing to talk about is the character of this team.
The No23 had to make a string of, quite simply, phenomenal saves. It is hard to pick just one or two. Even Areola himself struggled, but was particularly pleased with a pair he made to deny Evan Ferguson in the second-half.

He added: “It’s hard to choose just one. There was one just after half-time. It was a header, that bounced in front of me, and then the volley that came at me. I couldn’t see the ball and it was just pure reaction. I’m happy to perform like that and help the team to be top of the league!

“My main focus is to not concede. Unfortunately we conceded one but, when we watch the game, the most important thing to talk about is the character of this team. That energy we have.  We all leave everything out on the pitch, and this is the result of that. 

“Not everything I did today was quite right but yeah, I’m happy to help the team and I’m happy with our performance tonight. We’re going back to London with the three points!”

Areola said: “As I’ve said before, I’ve always been ready. I’ve been ready to perform and I think, in this game and in the game against Chelsea, I’ve been doing that and it’s a result of the hard work I’ve been doing every week. I’ve kept my focus and I hope we can keep going like that.”

A trip to face newly-promoted Luton Town comes next Friday for the Irons, before the first international break of the new season. After that, UEFA Europa League football returns to London Stadium.

“We finished last season very well and we’re starting here very well too,” Areola added . “We have to keep that focus.

“We want to be ready for every game and the big battles every weekend. Europe also starts again soon, so we have to be fit and ready to perform. That’s the main thing.”

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon