West Ham United defender Kurt Zouma’s headed goal and a Said Benrahma penalty in stoppage time sealed a 2-0 win over Bournemouth in a scrappy Premier League tussle that was marked by VAR controversy at the London Stadium on Monday.
Frenchman Zouma glanced the ball in from close range on the stroke of half-time after a goalmouth scramble with the effort being allowed after a VAR check despite a suspicion of handball by his defensive partner Thilo Kehrer in the melee.
There was precious little else for either set of fans to get excited about as West Ham held onto their lead despite some nervy moments as Bournemouth finished strongly.
The Hammers could breathe more easily when Jordan Zemura was harshly penalised for handball after another VAR check went against the visitors and Benrahma thumped in his first goal of the season past substitute goalkeeper Mark Travers.
Bournemouth could feel justifiably frustrated that decisions went against them but West Ham took advantage to claim a fifth home win in succession in all competitions to move up seven places in the congested table from 17th to 10th with 14 points.
Bournemouth are 14th with 13 points from 12 games.
The main talking point was the impact of VAR in both goals and Bournemouth’s caretaker manager Gary O’Neil was so angry about the first one that he was booked for comments made to the officials at halftime.
West Ham got their noses in front in the 45th minute as Zouma nodded home from in front of goal but the ball had been propelled forward by Kehrer’s hands seconds earlier.
After a check by VAR it was deemed that the accidental handball had not directly led to the goal.
“There was a foul in the build-up and it’s a blatant handball, his hands move towards the ball and change the flight of it,” O’Neil said.
“I’m not surprised because it’s getting ridiculous. We’ve had 10 VAR checks since I took charge and not one has gone our way.”
Bournemouth were not helped by injuries during the first half to striker Dominic Solanke and goalkeeper Neto, who made one great save to tip over Aaron Cresswell’s shot.
West Ham were unable to make the game safe, however, until another contentious decision went their way.
Attempting to block a cross, a sliding Zemura inadvertently blocked the ball with his arm from close range.
Initially referee David Coote did not award a penalty but after being asked to check the VAR screen he changed his mind.
Bournemouth did not really offer much in the way of attacking threat and, while West Ham had some breaks, manager David Moyes said his side deserved the points.
“I thought we were good for periods, I didn’t think we were as good in the final third,” Moyes said.
“I think our performance deserved more than a scruffy set-piece goal and a penalty.”
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