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Premier League
Saturday, 31st March 2018

West Ham United 3
Southampton 0

by Staff Writer


West Ham moved five points clear of the relegation zone with a thoroughly convincing 3-0 win against fellow strugglers Southampton at the Olympic Stadium this afternoon.

On a day when several hundred of supporters took place in two separate anti-Board protests took place before the match, the team showed that they can still perform and compete even with a hint of revolution in the air.

An early goal never hurts in such delicate circumstances and Joao Mario got the Hammers off to a perfect start when he scored his first goal for the club with an absolute thunderbolt following a clever centre from Cheik Kouyate after 13 minutes.

And the Hammers were in dreamland four minutes later when Marko Arnautovic - around who much of the pre-match talk had been based due to his previous spat with new Saints boss Mark Hughes - doubled West Ham's lead from a rebound, before celebrating in front of his nemesis.

West Ham, who produced one of their best 45 minutes of the season ahead of the half time interval had pretty much wrapped the game up by the break courtesy of a second from Arnautovic, who produced an exquisite volley to divert the returning Arthur Masuaku's cross beyond a helpless McCarthy.

In stark contrast to the first half, the second was almost entirely devoid of goalmouth excitement - although that suited David Moyes side who were coasting throughout the final 45 having secured an unassailable lead.

The only black spot on a wonderful afternoon for West Ham was what looked to be like a fairly innocuous injury to Michail Antonio just six minutes into the game - yet one that required his immediate transfer to hospital.

However his replacement - Edimilson Fernandes - produced an excellent performance in what was his first appearance for the first team in more than four months, following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The win takes West Ham above Crystal Palace (beaten 2-1 by Liverpool), Huddersfield (1-0 defeat at Newcastle) and Swansea (lost 2-0 at Man Utd) into 14th place in the table - some five points clear of today's opponents who stay 18th.



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Player Ratings

Joe Hart
Made some good, albeit comfortable saves. Tremendous distribution all afternoon and expertly covered for his defence with balls in behind.


Pablo Zabaleta
Very lively all afternoon in attack and in defence. Much more comfortable as a wing back as opposed to a central midfield role that he has been playing in recent games.


Aaron Cresswell
Was allowed some freedom to go forward despite his position as a centre-back. Carried out a more defensive role in the second half.


Angelo Ogbonna
Partnered up decently with Collins and Cresswell. Very composed on the ball when pressured.


James Collins
Kept tabs on the Watford attacking three very well, in spite of not matching them in speed.


Mark Noble
Significantly lacked pace going forward and wasn't too convincing in defence either.


Cheikhou Kouyate
Recovered well following his poor performance the week before. A force to be dealt with going forward and a sturdy figure in defence.


Joao Mario
Played an important part in West Ham's atacking spree in the first half, but gradually fell away as they sat back in the second half.


Michail Antonio
Terrorised Daryl Janmaat down the left with his sheer pace and strength, despite being in an unfavoured wing-back position.


Marko Arnautovic
Had the opposing defence on their toes. Full of confidence and very able to beat a player. Made up for his poor miss in the first half with a goal in the second.


Javier Hernandez
Excellent work rate coming up trumps with the goal to give his side the lead. Good to see him enjoying his football again following the uncertainty about his future at the Club.


Substitutes


Sam Byram
(Replaced Mario) Didn't pose the same threat as Antonio and was very isolated up front.


Declan Rice
(Replaced Arnautovic) Saw the game out for a little more first team experience.


Jordan Hugill
(Replaced Hernandez) Ran his socks off in his brief spell on the field, proving a point to the manager and to the fans who appreciated the effort.


Joe Hart
Did not play.


Patrice Evra
Did not play.


Jose Fonte
Did not play.


Josh Cullen
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee:  Jonathan Moss.

Attendance: 56,882.

Man of the Match: Marko Arnautovic.

West Ham United

Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Aaron Cresswell, Angelo Ogbonna, James Collins, Mark Noble, Cheikhou Kouyate, Joao Mario, Michail Antonio, Marko Arnautovic, Javier Hernandez.

Goals: Javier Hernandez 38 Marko Arnautovic 78                .

Booked: Pablo Zabaleta           .

Sent off: None.

Southampton

McCarthy, Cedric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand, Redmond (Boufal 67), Hojbjerg, Lemina, Tadic, Austin (Carrillo 83), Gabbiaddini (Long 46).

Substitutes: .

Subs not used: Forster, Yoshida, Romeu, Ward-Prowse.

Goals: .

Booked: Lemina, Bertrand, Tadic.

Sent Off: .

 
Staff Writer's Man of the Match: Marko Arnautovic


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