LONDON — Thirty years after Diego Maradona’s goal of the century, West Ham winger Dimitri Payet wound back the clock with a brilliantly executed solo goal on Saturday evoking memories of the Argentina great.
Unlike Maradona’s 1986 World Cup strike , after charging through brittle English resistance, Payet’s mazy run through Middlesbrough’s defense came on a far less significant occasion. But the English Premier League point it secured might just have saved Slaven Bilic’s job, with the 1-1 draw preventing West Ham from crashing to a fifth successive loss.
Payet lit up a drab game about an hour in at the Olympic Stadium, with home fans restless after Cristhian Stuani’s header six minutes earlier. The France international dropped a shoulder to turn past Antonio Barragan on the left touchline, jinked around Marten de Roon, and skipped past Calum Chambers and Ben Gibson. After cutting through the defense with ease, Payet provided the perfect finish to score his first goal of the league.
One that evoked memories for Payet’s manager of Argentina’s current star rather than Maradona.
“It reminded me of Lionel Messi’s goals,” Bilic said. “It was a brilliant moment of magic.”
But West Ham remains winless since the opening day of the season, lodged in the relegation zone with four points from seven games.
Problems keep cropping up off the pitch, too, with the enhanced policing operation around West Ham’s new stadium failing to prevent another outbreak of unrest following disorder in the opening weeks of the season.
Two men were arrested for fighting outside the stadium on suspicion of affray, and a third was held on suspicion of assaulting an officer.
“During the match officers were also deployed inside the stadium following a separate disturbance. The matter was quickly dealt with and no arrests were made,” police said. “Only a small minority (was) intent on causing disruption.”
Here’s the rest of the on-field action in the Premier League:
After a miserable September yielded one point from three games, Chelsea started the new month in style thanks to Diego Costa’s second-half contribution. First, Costa picked out William, who turned Markus Henriksen and David Meyler before curling a shot into the top of the net. Then Costa curled in his own strike from a similar position.
The response to last week’s 3-0 loss at Arsenal was manager Antonio Conte dropping Branislav Ivanovic and switching to a three-man defense. It produced a second clean sheet of the season.
“It is very important for the confidence,” Conte said. “It was a big change in the tactical aspect but we feel we must find the right solution to be more compact. We must trust in the work we are doing and it is important to understand we must play this way.”
Chelsea is sixth, while Hull is in 15th place.
With Liverpool trailing at halftime to Leroy Fer’s tap-in, Juergen Klopp entered the dressing room in a rage.
“I was very angry,” the Liverpool manager said. “We were not ready and it is my responsibility. It was not good. The buildup was too static, no movement.
“We were never compact enough and we lost a lot of balls … the second half was better, but still not brilliant.”
Crucially for Klopp there were two goals — Roberto Firmino’s header and James Milner’s penalty — which were enough to take Liverpool up to second.
Swansea, though, is on a six-game winless run since making a triumphant start to the season. Francesco Guidolin’s future as manager is looking increasingly precarious, with former Manchester United assistant Ryan Giggs linked with the Italian’s job.
“I am worried for the table, not my position,” Guidolin said. “I am sure in the future this team can turn the situation around.”
Watford twice fought back to ensure manager Walter Mazzarri didn’t endure a miserable 55th birthday. Both teams, though, remain in the bottom half of the standings.
Callum Wilson’s downward header was canceled out by Troy Deeney. Josh King restored Bournemouth’s lead but Isaac Success scored his first goal since joining in the summer transfer window to secure a point.
David Moyes remains winless as Sunderland manager but the northeast team did capture its first point in more than a month.
Patrick van Aanholt, who was forced out of the Sunderland team last month on the advice of a cardiologist, came off the bench to wipe out Nacer Chadli’s goal.