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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
August 17, 2013
• Boleyn Ground, London
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 34977
West Ham United
J. Cole 13'
K. Nolan 76'
And that's all from me, Tom McKeown, this afternoon. Thanks for joining me and remember to stick with Goal.com for all the reaction from today's games!
Plenty to consider then for Malky Mackay and Cardiff, who start life in the top flight with a defeat. West Ham, meanwhile, carry on where they left off after their fine 10th last season.
That's FULL-TIME at Upton Park and West Ham have registered a comfortable 2-0 win over Premier League new boys Cardiff City. A fine display from Allardyce's men is enough to see off a fairly disappointing Bluebirds performance.
90' + 5'
90' + 5'
After much fiddling around with the wall, Whittingham steps up and curls a delightful effort which zips just wide of the post, with Jaaskelainen at full stretch.
90' + 3'
Turner fires a diagonal ball forwards and it's nodded down for Campbell, who gets taken out by Noble and the visitors have a chance with a free kick around 25 yards from goal.
90' + 2'
Some more nice passing in midfield from the visitors, and it's lofted forward to Maynard, who tries to bring the ball down but slips over and it rolls behind. That's not a highlight he'll want to see.
Ricardo Vaz Te
Noble is in possession again, and looks to set Nolan free behind the defence, but his fellow midfielder is caught offside as the board goas up to show there will be five minutes added on.
We're back underway after that stoppage and Cardiff press forward, but are eventually forced to pass backwards, following the pattern of the afternoon.
Caulker is down receiving treatment at the moment after a clash with Maiga. The former Spurs man has looked reasonably solid on his debut today.
What a chance for the visitors! Connolly pulls it back and Whittingham has a shot which deflects into the path of Maynard, who spurns a superb opportunity, missing the target from close range when he really shouldn't have.
Cardiff have a shot on target! Connolly goes up in the box and loops a high header towards goal, with which Jaaskelainen takes no chances and tips over the bar.
Downing has looked really sharp since coming on, and he skips past John before floating in another right-footed cross which Nolan manages to meet but can only head over.
Alou Diarra comes on to replace the excellent Diame. We're within the final 10 minutes of the game now, and look to be heading towards a comfortable victory for Allardyce's men.
Substitute - and former Hammer - Rudy Gestede finds space in midfield for Cardiff, but drills a disappointing effort wide. Fellow sub Nicky Maynard is furious after yelling for the ball in space.
It's the all-important second goal for the hosts, who have been the better side overall today. Cardiff are deflated after showing some glimpses of improvement in a largely frustrating game.
Assist Mark Noble
Goal Kevin Nolan
NOLAN DOUBLES THE LEAD!! WEST HAM ARE TWO UP!! It's a wonderful pass-and-move attack from the hosts as Maiga finds Noble, who bursts forward before releasing Nolan in the box, and the midfielder slots a superb finish into the corner to give Marshall no chance.
Downing's corner is cleared but it's worked back to the winger, who crosses with his right foot again, and Nolan darts in at the far post only to see the ball cleared away at the last minute.
Downing swings in a dangerous cross with his right foot and Turner forces it behind for a corner. The visitors are now readying a couple of substitutes before the set piece.
Nice move forward from Cardiff as Whittingham spreads it wide to Campbell, and the striker tries to fire in a cross but it comes off a defender, sparking timid handball claims, and falls back into West Ham possession.
Jarvis comes off to much applause from the home crowd after a thoroughly impressive performance. A huge cheer goes up, though, as Stewart Downing enters the fray to make his West Ham debut.
Bellamy, desperate to instigate something, fights hard on the right flank but Diame uses all his strength to win the ball and clear. The talismanic Welshman has had a frustrating afternoon.
Nolan poaches the ball away from Kim with ease, and fires a delightful pass forward for Maiga, but the forward is caught offside despite being able to see all the way across the defensive line. He hasn't had the best of games...
West Ham get immediately back on the attack, but Demel can't find a pass on the right and the hosts are forced all the way back to the goalkeeper.
There's a break in play after a clash of heads between Ben Turner and Maiga. A chance for the visitors to regroup after a couple of minutes of pressure from the Hammers.
Great chance! Nolan steals the ball and finds Maiga, who drills it across goal from a tight angle, forcing a superb fingertip save from Marshall and it goes behind for a corner. Fantastic goalkeeping.
Cardiff are still seeing much more of the ball, but it's all in front of West Ham and they're failing to create chances for the likes of Campbell and Bellamy.
John fires a volleyed long ball forward looking for Campbell, but Reid is there to collect. Collins then hammers another superb diagonal ball forward for Cole, who can't quite keep the ball in and it's a goal kick.
The possession has just swung in favour of the visitors. There's much more energy from Mackay's men in this half, but no real clear-cut chances as yet.
Whittingham's ball in finds Connolly, who tries to head it across goal. There are appeals from behind the goal for handball as it ricochets of O'Brien, but the referee isn't interested.
Cardiff's improvement continues, though, and they're moving the ball around well inside the West Ham half. Reid brings down Campbell 40 yards from goal and the Bluebirds have a chance with a set piece.
There's plenty of noise from the Cardiff fans after that encouraging couple of minutes, but the hosts take control of possession again. Medel does well to clear a cross from the right; the new signing has looked impressive so far.
Cardiff win their first corner of the match and it causes all sorts of havoc, with West Ham eventually clearing from the ensuing goalmouth scramble. Jarvis has a superb chance at the other end, cutting on to his left foot but disappointingly firing his shot over the bar.
Bellamy's inswinger is easily cleared by the hosts, but Cole gives it straight away. The Wales international has another chance to cross, but overhits it and the ball flies harmlessly out for a goal kick.
Diame fires a shot way over the bar after good work from Maiga. Cardiff then string some passes together before Diame bundles Kim over, conceding a free kick halfway inside the West Ham half.
And we're back underway as West Ham get things rolling for the second half.
Looks like goals have been pretty hard to come by in the 3pm BST kick-offs this afternoon. It's Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa and everywhere else is goalless. More goals in the second half, please!
Liam Twomey is at the game, and here are his half-time thoughts: "Despite Modibo Maiga being pretty anonymous, West Ham can consider themselves unfortunate not to be further ahead. Matt Jarvis and Joe Cole have caused problems at every opportunity, while Jussi Jaaskelainen has been a glorified spectator. Perhaps the biggest indictment of Cardiff's performance, however, is that former Hammer Craig Bellamy has barely had the ball long enough for the home crowd to enjoy booing him. Much improvement needed after the break."
Perhaps surprisingly, the stats are all pretty even, except in the all-important shots department. The Hammers have already made 10 attempts at goal, with two on target, while Cardiff have had five efforts, all off target.
Jarvis, Diame and Cole have all looked in fine form so far today, while Kim has been the driving force behind the majority of Cardiff's breaks forward. It's still only 1-0, despite West Ham's dominance, so the visitors can still get something from the game.
And that is HALF-TIME at Upton Park, with West Ham leading Cardiff City 1-0. Sam Allardyce will be very happy with his side's display so far, while Malky Mackay will undoubtedly have some work to do to get his side back into their first ever Premier League game.
45' + 1'
Bellamy drills a cross-cum-shot wide of the post and it looks like the Bluebirds will be going in behind at the break.
The visitors are ending the half strongly, here, enjoying much more of the ball, but unable to make real inroads into the West Ham defence.
Cardiff win a free kick in the middle, around 35 yards out. Whittingham lofts it towards Caulker but Reid is there to power a header away. He was something of a clearance expert for the Hammers last season, and looks to be up to his old tricks again today.
The ball breaks nicely for Kim, who squares to Fraizer Campbell, and the striker lays off for Whittingham to shoot, but Nolan is on hand to block the midfielder's 25-yard effort.
Bellamy tries to get things going for Cardiff, linking up with Whittingham before seeing a shot blocked by Winston Reid. That's more like it, though, from the visitors.
The play is almosts exclusively in Cardiff's half again, with the hosts pressing hard. On today's display, it could be a long season for Mackay's men if it's going to be like this every week.
So close! Diame has just upped the tempo in the last few minutes, and the midfielder cuts inside from the left before unleashing a rasping right-footed strike which deflects off a defender and bends just around the wrong side of the far post.
Diame shows some beautiful skill to skip away from several Cardiff players before looking for Jarvis, but Caulker does well to come across and send the ball out for a throw.
West Ham win the first corner of the game but Cardiff clear and have a chance to break. Craig Bellamy makes a run forward but Kim misreads the run and plays it into open space. That's definitely a chance wasted for the visitors.
Caulker rises high to head away a long Collins free kick. A few groans of frustration as the Hammers defender gives it away at the second opportunity. There could be a chance for Cardiff to get back into this, here.
Cardiff are enjoying a brief spell of possession, here, but the hosts press high and force Mackay's men to go all the way back to the goalkeeper. It's fair to say the early quality of this game has diminished somewhat.
Shots of Vincent Tan in the directors' box appear on the screen. The Cardiff owner won't be too happy with the first half an hour of the Bluebirds' opening Premier League fixture.
Yellow Card Matthew Connolly
Jarvis gets clattered by Connolly but the referee plays on. Diame and Cole both try to get through a multitude of yellow shirts but to no avail, before the visitors push forward and win a throw, giving Howard Webb the chance to book Connolly for that challenge.
Kevin Nolan makes his presence felt in the Cardiff defence, charging down Caulker's clearance to deflect it behind for a goal kick.
Despite the Hammers' domination, possession is almost 50-50. There's no doubt the hosts look more threatening, though. Mark Noble overhits a pass and it runs for a goal kick, but the midfielder has been running the show so far.
Great chance for Cole as he beats the offside trap and tries to lift it over Marshall from distance, but doesn't make the best of the opportunity and Cardiff win the ball back.
The early sting has just drained out of the game, now. James Collins floats a long-range free kick into the box but Cardiff clear. Joey O'Brien's follow-up ball is header clear again, before Mohamed Diame scuffs a poor effort well wide from 20 yards out.
STAT ATTACK: This is quite incredible. Matt Jarvis made 218 crosses for West Ham last season, and failed to register an assist. Quite stunning, really.
Looking for his second, Cole sees a shot blocked by Steven Caulker. He's really in the mood today, by the look of it.
Cardiff look shellshocked. Overwhelmed by the occasion, perhaps? Whatever it is, Malky Mackay has some work to do because his side are being completely dominated here.
Assist Matt Jarvis
Goal Joe Cole
JOE COLE SCORES!!! WEST HAM LEAD!! It's a lovely goal for the hosts as the lively Jarvis drills a low ball in from the left, and Cole takes a touch with his back to goal, swivels round and fires it low into the corner. Excellent strike.
Cole plays a delightful ball through to Modibo Maiga, who checks back for Guy Demel to cross, and Matt Jarvis has a chance to shoot but is closed down by Connolly. The Bluebirds break up the other end straight away, and Bo-Kyung Kim fires a 25-yard effor just wide.
Youngster Declan John tries his luck, darting down the left wing, but Joe Cole stands firm to dispossess the 18-year-old. It's been a frenetic start to the game at Upton Park; promising signs.
Cardiff finally get some respite as they win a free kick on the right-hand corner of the box. Peter Whittingham fancies his chances, swinging a left-footed effort towards goal but it flies wide of Jussi Jaaskelainen's near post.
It's all West Ham as Collins fires a long ball forward and it's flicked on for Kevin Nolan, who heads wide, albeit from an offside position. Encouraging start for Sam Allardyce's men, though.
Slight scare for Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall as he picks the ball up on the edge of the box and almost steps out, but referee Howard Webb waves away the West Ham appeals.
Early pressure from the hosts as Joey O'Brien whips in a cross, but it is cleared by Gary Medel before Matt Jarvis finds Joe Cole in the box, but the West Ham man can't direct an effort on target.
Cardiff get the game going, in an all-yellow strip.
We're moments away from kick-off at Upton Park. Excited yet?
West Ham are strong favourites for victory today, and understandably so. New signing Stewart Downing will relish the chance to target Andy Carroll in the box, and the Hammers striker showed signs of returning to the form that prompted Liverpool to pay £35 million for his services.
These two met on the opening day two years ago, with Cardiff running out winners in the Championship curtain-raiser that day. The Bluebirds have won four and drawn one of their last five opening fixtures, but the Hammers have beaten the Welsh side in four of their last five meetings. Should be a very intriguing encounter, this one.
So, it's a familiar XI from Sam Allardyce, although Modibo Maiga starts despite rumours linking him with a move away from east London. As for the visitors, big-money signings Steven Caulker and Gary Medel make the side, but striker Andreas Cornelius misses out through injury.
CARDIFF CITY: Marshall, Connolly, Caulker, Turner, John, Medel, Gunnarsson, Whittingham, Kim, Bellamy, Campbell. // Subs: Lewis, Hudson, Mutch, Cowie, Maynard, Smith, Gestede.
WEST HAM: Jaaskelainen, Demel, O'Brien, Collins, Reid, Noble, Diame, Nolan, Jarvis, Cole, Maiga. // Subs: Adrian, Tomkins, Rat, Diarra, Morrison, Downing, Vaz Te.
Right, straight to business. The teams are in, so let's take a look, starting with the hosts...
Malky Mackay's men will be looking to kick off their first season in the Premier League with a good result today, but face strong opposition in the Hammers, who registered an impressive tenth-placed finish last term.
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE play-by-play coverage from Upton Park as West Ham open their 2013/14 Premier League campaign against new boys Cardiff City. I'm Tom McKeown and I'll be here to guide you through the action this afternoon. Yes, that's right, football is BACK!
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