Moyes makes huge goalkeeper call as West Ham open season with 1-1 Bournemouth draw

News Desk
West Ham manager David Moyes and Alphonse Areola after a match.
David Moyes and Alphonse Areola after a match.

Alphonse Areola will be West Ham’s first-choice goalkeeper this season, David Moyes confirmed on Saturday.

The France international, 30, has been the club’s cup keeper over the last two campaigns, helping the Hammers win the Europa Conference League in June.

Experienced former Poland keeper Lukasz Fabianski has been the Hammers’ regular number one since joining from Swansea in 2018, but the 38-year-old was on the bench for the opening-day 1-1 draw at Bournemouth, with Areola starting only his fourth Premier League match.

“I’ve got two goalkeepers who could easily be number one,” said manager David Moyes.

“Lukasz Fabianski has probably been the most consistent player at West Ham in the last three or four years. I just felt that we’ve also got to look towards the future and see what we’ve got.

“I want the competition; I want competition in more positions, but I’ve got really good competition in the goalkeeper’s spot. There’s not much room for error from any of the goalkeepers because they’ve got somebody breathing down their neck.”

Areola made fine saves to deny David Brooks and Dominic Solanke as West Ham tried to hold on to the lead given to them by Jarrod Bowen.

But he was beaten eight minutes from time when the ball dropped kindly for Solanke, who rounded the exposed Areola and tapped into an empty net.

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Bowen’s last kick of last season was the late goal which secured the Europa Conference League trophy against Fiorentina in Prague, 66 days ago.

This time he collected the ball off Tomas Soucek 20 yards out, cut onto his left foot and buried a superb, curling effort beyond the dive of Neto.

“It was a brilliant goal,” said Moyes, who previously successfully turned Marko Arnautovic from winger to striker at West Ham.

“Jarrod is becoming our major goalscorer. There’s a lot of talk about needing to buy a centre-forward but I’m going to see if Jarrod could do the job.

“He’s got the instincts and the sharpness. Hull played him at centre-forward so it’s not me trying to be a genius.”

West Ham were pegged back when Antoine Semenyo’s wayward shot fell at the feet of Solanke, who showed tremendous composure to slip the ball around Areola and tap into an empty net.

“The goal was really scruffy,” added Moyes. “I don’t know if the boy is crossing or shooting, it clipped Tomas Soucek’s heel and was bad fortune for us, but we probably brought it on ourselves.”

Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta put in an eye-catching display in a deep-lying midfield role, showing glimpses of why Manchester City made an approach to sign him.

Moyes, who has already lost Declan Rice this summer, does not want another of his best players to leave but is realistic enough to know he might not be able to stop him.

“There’s a price on everyone’s head somewhere,” he said. “We don’t want Lucas to go, it’s as simple as that. But sometimes it’s difficult to say to these boys you can’t join Manchester City, or Real Madrid, the biggest clubs in the world.

“We’ve had a bit of news on Lucas but we’ve had nothing that’s made us wobble.”

Bournemouth’s new boss Andoni Iraola enjoyed his first taste of Premier League football.

“It’s a good point, we wanted three,” said the Spaniard. “We were better at the end of both halves.

“After tying the game the momentum was with us and we finished better, but it was one point.

“We improved after the first half and second half we were a bit more direct. We have to improve, this was the first game of the season. We have to grow from this starting point.”

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