West Ham end turbulent Premier League season on a high at Burnley
West Ham finished the season in 11th place following a creditable final day 2-1 win over Burnley at Turf Moor.
Goals from Sofiane Feghouli and Andre Ayew were enough to claim all three points on a ground where the home side have been difficult opponents all season. The Hammers played well and kept the home side's strikers quiet.
The win was a welcome farewell to fans who have followed their club with great passion all season and deserved something to sing about at the end of a difficult campaign. A few more victories like this and some more enterprising football next season and the cloud left over from the Upton Park move and the Dimitri Payer fall-out might at last be lifted.
The win boosted the Hammers up the table and in halting Burnley from leap-frogging them, was worth £4 million in terms of where they started the day.
Another point would have seen the Hammers finish in the top half but there was a huge gap from there to Everton in seventh place. It's hard to see at the moment how a team like West Ham can close that gap.
Manager rating out of 10:
6 -- Slaven Bilic's comment that "Just when we've looked to be in trouble we've got some good results," pretty much sums up West Ham's season. The manager has had a tough time with the move to Stratford, injuries and the disruption caused by the Payet situation. He has come out of it with some credit. This final day win suggests that, with the right backing and more astute work in the transfer market, the Croatian boss can still continue to be a fan favourite.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Adrian, 6 -- Little to do but did that well.
DF Sam Byram, 7 -- Another good display from the former Leeds defender. If he could improve his final ball and make more from some shooting opportunities, Bilic may find his right-back problem has already been solved.
DF Jose Fonte, 6 -- Struggled against Andre Gray at times but stuck to the task and came out on top.
DF James Collins, 6 -- Like his centre-back colleagues, it was a case of sticking to the plan as Burnley's defenders worried with their pace.
DF Angelo Ogbonna, 6 -- A late and totally surprising return for the Italian defender who'd been expected to be out all summer with a knee injury. Replaced the injured Winston Reid to good effect, despite his obvious lack of match sharpness. There's little doubt the former Juventus centre-back has been missed, but the need to rush a player back for just one game suggests there are issues in the squad that need addressing. Perhaps some of those pointless loans could be reviewed next season?
MF Aaron Cresswell, 7 -- Defended well and got forward often although the final ball was missing.
MF Edimilson Fernandes, 8 -- Had an excellent game with some crisp passing and a shot that resulted in Ayew's winning goal. An Encouraging performance.
MF Sofiane Feghouli, 8 -- Continued from his good showing when coming on against Liverpool last week. Scored the opening goal and looked generally bright. After an awful start with the club, there's enough about the Algerian now to suggest he could become a good squad player for next season.
MF Manuel Lanzini, 6 -- A bit of an off day for Lanzini, who didn't dictate the play as he has recently. Fans will forgive him though.
MF Robert Snodgrass, 5 -- Given a start, Snodgrass showed why he has been passed over recently. The player has looked inept since signing from Hull in January. Perhaps he's having trouble settling in London, but the Scottish International looks woefully short of what is required on this form.
FW Andre Ayew, 8 -- An assist for the opener and a winning goal that sliced off a large part of the £20m paid for his transfer, Ayew will be happy with his day. He still seems too inconsistent to enable Bilic to totally rely on him however.
FW Ashley Fletcher, N/R -- Replaced Snodgrass on 84 minutes to little effect.
DF Declan Rice, N/R -- Good to see an academy player get an opportunity even if it was just to waste a bit of time.
Peter Thorne, aka Billy Blagg (@BillyBlaggEsq), is ESPN FC's West Ham blogger.