EPL

Kalvin Phillips makes costly debut error as West Ham draw with Bournemouth

By Sports Desk February 01, 2024

Kalvin Phillips endured a nightmare West Ham debut after gifting Bournemouth a goal with almost his first touch in claret and blue.

The England midfielder, whose loan switch from Manchester City was arguably the most high-profile deal in this transfer window, inadvertently set up Dominic Solanke to score with less than three minutes gone.

Fortunately for West Ham, a James Ward-Prowse penalty in the second-half was enough to secure a 1-1 draw.

But Phillips, making a first Premier League start of the season having been reduced to less than a bit-part player at City, will not remember the opening moments of his debut fondly.

Kurt Zouma’s pass to him on the edge of the area was not great, admittedly, and Phillips was quickly closed down by Ryan Christie.

The Cherries midfielder appeared to have got a touch as the ball rolled to Solanke, who was clearly offside as he completed the simplest of finishes.

However, a VAR check showed it was Phillips who had actually played the ball to Solanke, and the offside decision was duly overturned.

It was Solanke’s second goal against the Hammers this season following a late equaliser on the south coast in August – soon before West Ham failed in a big-money bid to sign the striker.

The arrival of Phillips left boss David Moyes with a selection dilemma of which three of his four central midfielders should start.

His answer was all of them, with Phillips alongside Edson Alvarez in the middle, Ward-Prowse stationed out on the left and, most curiously of all, Tomas Soucek lumbering around alongside Jarrod Bowen in attack.

For 40 minutes it plainly did not work, with an understandably off-the-pace Phillips conceding cheap free-kicks and Bournemouth attacking whenever they pleased.

Their best chance came when Alvarez gave the ball away to Christie, who found Solanke on the edge of the box.

Solanke could have shot but instead squared the ball to Antoine Semenya, who was free on the right but drove too close to Alphonse Areola.

It was a huge let-off for West Ham and they twice came close to equalising late in the first half, with Bowen glancing a Ward-Prowse delivery straight at Neto and Soucek heading Mohammed Kudus’ cross wide.

West Ham re-emerged with a slight reshuffle, Ward-Prowse now playing as the second striker, and they were thrown a lifeline when Kudus was clumsily brought down in the area by Lloyd Kelly.

Referee Tim Robinson did not award the spot-kick on the pitch, but he had little choice once he had checked the replay.

Ward-Prowse stepped up to blast the penalty down the middle as Neto dived right to earn a point for the hosts.

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