WEST HAM 3
Haller 22, 26 Anderson 80
BY RICHARD CAWLEY AT LONDON STADIUM
There were no surprises on Tuesday night at an eerily-empty London Stadium.
West Ham United were, as expected, too strong for Charlton Athletic – despite the fact they made wholesale changes for this EFL Cup second round tie.
But you also knew that Lee Bowyer’s side, so desperately in need of some reinforcements to make the bread-and-butter League One campaign look more appetising, would not disgrace themselves.
At one stage it looked like it could be a painful watch as Sebastien Haller struck twice in the space of four first-half minutes. The French striker’s £45million transfer to the Hammers in July 2019 is only a little less than what Roland Duchatelet was demanding to own Charlton Athletic in its entirety.
We knew there were levels at play in midweek. But Charlton, pretty much an assortment of free transfers and loans, had their own moments.
With a little more conviction and quality, they could have worked their way back into the tie. Particularly in positive and confident spells either side of the interval. Both Jonny Williams, still waiting for his first goal in a Charlton shirt, and Chuks Aneke had opportunities but failed to beat Darren Randolph.
And Macauley Bonne ended up in the West Ham net – instead of the ball – as he tried to slide home a delicious low cross by Alfie Doughty.
Bowyer had warned that West Ham would be clinical. And although Andriy Yarmolenko produced a big miss, Felipe Anderson slotted past Ben Amos in the 80th minute. Those two players cost a combined fee of £52m.
Charlton haven’t even been able to sift through the bargain bin since they lost their Championship status due to their transfer embargo.
Dylan Levitt only arrived when Tom Lockyer’s defection to Luton opened up a slot under the EFL’s rules. The Manchester United loanee’s misplaced pass was punished for the Hammers’ second goal, but there was still a lot to like about the Welsh international.
On this showing – and it’s not fair to judge when you consider he is going to be up against less vaunted opposition most weeks – he showed an eye for a forward pass.
Charlton had a gentle introduction back to the third tier against newly-promoted Crewe. In October they face Sunderland, Ipswich, Wigan and Blackpool in succession – which will be far more of a thorough inspection of their promotion credentials.
Tuesday underlined that Bowyer already has something to work with – but the ownership situation has to be resolved to really boost their prospects.
Without a takeover the club’s future – not just promotion credentials – comes under threat.
Charlie Barker. Another big display from the teenager, who has made a hugely impressive start in senior football.
Combination play between Chuks Aneke and Jonny Williams which saw the latter test the reflexes of Randolph.
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