West Ham hold on for Brighton stalemate

West Ham United’s Algerian midfielder #22 Said Benrahma (C) in action against Brighton’s English midfielder #41 Jack Hinshelwood during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Brighton and Hove Albion at the London Stadium, in London, on January 2, 2024. AFP

West Ham missed the chance to close in on the Premier League’s top four as Brighton were denied victory at the London Stadium by Alphonse Areola in a 0-0 draw on Monday.

Despite being ravaged by defensive absences due to injury and suspension, the Seagulls held out for their first Premier League clean sheet of the season and deserved all three points on their second-half performance.

Brighton enjoyed nearly 70 percent of possession but were blighted by a familiar lack of cutting edge in the final third.

Areola had to be at his best to deny Danny Welbeck, Joao Pedro, Pascal Gross and Adam Lallana and maintain the Hammers’ unbeaten run.

David Moyes’ men have taken 10 points from a possible 12 over the festive season but are still six points adrift of the top four.

The home side’s threat was blunted without the injured Lucas Paqueta and Mohammed Kudus, who was denied the chance to feature in one final club game before the Africa Cup of Nations by the Ghanaian federation.

James Ward-Prowse had West Ham’s best effort that Jason Steele saved before the break.

A point is enough to edge Brighton above Manchester United into seventh, but they remain three points behind West Ham in sixth.

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