Belfast Telegraph

Bilic on the brink as Seagulls make light work of Hammers

West Ham Utd 0 Brighton 3

By Andy Simms

Slaven Bilic suffered surely the worst defeat of his spell as West Ham boss as they were thrashed 3-0 at home to Brighton.

Two goals from Glenn Murray and a first Seagulls strike for Jose Izquierdo put the Croatian's future firmly back in the spotlight.

Joint-owner David Sullivan even backed his manager before kick-off, saying he would be given the opportunity to at least see out his contract until the end of the season.

But a clueless and shambolic performance, probably their most inept to date at the London Stadium, can only have set the alarm bells ringing.

Brighton, who had previously scored just once away this season, losing three matches and picking up one draw, simply could not believe their luck.

Pascal Gross had a hand in all six of Brighton's previous goals this season, but nobody seemed to have told West Ham's defenders. He promptly made it seven in the 10th minute when he floated a free-kick towards the head of Murray.

The striker, who hit 23 goals last term to help the Seagulls to promotion, capitalised on the non-existent marking to nod in.

West Ham briefly threatened to make a game of it but Brighton merely showed them how to defend.

Brighton, having weathered a mild storm, doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time.

Murray should have done the honours when he broke through on goal, but Joe Hart beat his effort away.

However, when the ball eventually reached Izquierdo, he cut inside on his right foot and unleashed a fierce curler which Hart got a hand to but could not keep out.

The Hammers were predictably booed off at half-time.

Their misery was complete in the 75th minute when defender Pablo Zabaleta tripped Murray in the area allowing the frontman to kill off West Ham from the penalty spot and pile the pressure back onto manager Bilic.

Belfast Telegraph

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