The West Ham manager’s future was once again plunged into major doubt, as his side crumbled to their fifth defeat in nine games this season – and their second in four games at the London Stadium.
The pressure seemed to have been eased after a run of only two defeats in six games, but it was cranked right up again by Chris Hughton’s team, as a Glenn Murray double and Jose Izquierdo strike did the damage.
West Ham were booed off by angry fans at half and full time. Bilic had said before the match that when there are these “hurricanes” around, things can change very quickly – and with a Carabao Cup game at Tottenham and then a trip to bottom of the table Crystal Palace looming, Bilic after this desperately needs a change of fortune.
There were question marks once again over the form of England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who could have done better with Izquierdo’s goal – and record £25 million signing Marko Arnuatovic, again anonymous.
With Andy Carroll banned after a sending off branded as “stupid” by Bilic, the Hammers boss opted to play Chicharito up front, backed up with runners.
The pressure seemed to have eased on Bilic after a run of only two defeats in their last six league games.
But it took Brighton only nine minutes to start the grumbling around the London Stadium again.
Pedro Obiang gave away an unnecessary free kick in midfield, and when Pascal Gross swung the free kick into the penalty area, it was the same Hammers midfielder who completely lost Glenn Murray, who was unmarked as he steered his header past Joe Hart for his first goal of the season.
Brighton had previously taken only one point away from home so far this season. In fact, their last away win in the top flight was as long ago as March 1983, a 2-1 victory at Swansea. Thirty four years is a long time to wait.
So understandably, the Albion fans were making all the noise at that point – singing: “It’s just like the Emirates!” In other words, quiet.
It was just what Bilic did not need.
The Hammers manager, in the wake of the Carroll sending off which cost his team a win at Burnley, had denied there was a discipline problem with his team. There certainly though seemed to be a marking problem.
West Ham pressed, and Winston Red saw his shot deflected wide, Chicharito went close, and then Obiang’s 30 yard drive was saved by Matt Ryan.
It was desperate stuff from Chris Hughton’s team at times, with all too often a last ditch boot or head averting disaster. When they did get the ball, Brighton simply could not hang on to it for long enough.
But West Ham lacked a cutting edge, even though Manuel Lanzini was busy and sharp in midfield.
Too few passes were finding their men – though Chicharito did turn neatly on Marko Arnautovic’s pass, only to shoot wide of the far post.
Hart then pulled off a good save from Murray as Brighton broke – but a minute later disaster really struck. Jose Izquierdo stepped inside a non existent challenge on the left and clipped in a looping shot that Hart got a hand to, but could only help into the corner of the net.
The boos rang out at half time as Bilic turned on his heels.
West Ham piled on the pressure, but Brighton’s defence, marshalled by Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy, were well organised and stubborn.
Bilic’s team, woefully lacking in any confidence, looked like a side treading water as the storm blew around them.
And Murray sealed the win in the 75th minute when he picked himself up after being brought down by Pablo Zabaleta to beat heart from the penalty spot.
Source : EXPRESS