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West Ham Utd 3-1 Cardiff City

Filed: Tuesday, 4th December 2018
By: Staff Writer

West Ham recorded back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since January 2017 when overcoming struggling Cardiff City in Stratford tonight.

A 15-minute spell at the beginning of the second half did for the Bluebirds, who spurned their own chances to tip the balance in their favour prior to collapsing in spectacular style; most notably when midfielder Joe Ralls saw his penalty brilliantly saved by Lukasz Fabianski, nine minutes before the break.

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That shock - and the loss of Marko Arnautovic to what appeared to be a hamstring injury - were exactly the kind of circumstances that some recent West Ham teams would have failed to recover and then prosper from.

However there was a degree of added determination about Manuel Pellegrini's West Ham as they re-entered the fray for the second period, something that manifested itself in that 15-minute spell of dominance from which Cardiff were never likely to recover.

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And key to that was the presence of Lucas Perez, who scored his first Premier League goal for the club when firing home from ten yards with a shot that was too strong for City's busy goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

The Spanish forward doubled his tally for the night just five minutes later when latching on to a pass from Arthur Masuaku before striking across Etheridge to make it 2-0.

And when Michail Antonio, deployed in a defensive role on the night as a temporary replacement for Pablo Zabaleta added a third for West Ham on the hour mark with a header from a Robert Snodgrass corner, the game was all but over.

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Cardiff, reeling from conceding three goals in 12 minute did manage to finally put the ball in the net in the fifth and final minute of added-on time with a bizarre goal that was eventually bundled over the line by Josh Murphy, who earned himself a goal bonus at the expense of Fabianski's clean sheet commission.

Ultimately it was a comfortable win for West Ham, albeit one not without a few frights along the way. Still, the greatest concern from an otherwise positive and productive night's work will be the potential loss of Arnautovic over the busy festive period - and possibly beyond.

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West Ham Utd: Fabianski, Antonio, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Rice, Noble, Snodgrass (Diangana 76), Anderson, Arnautovic (Perez 39), Hernandez (Carroll 63).

Subs not used: Adrian, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Obiang.

Goals: Perez (49, 54), Antonio (61).

Cardiff City: Etheridge, Bennett, Morrison, Bamba, Ecuele Manga, Camarasa, Ralls (Mendez-Laing 64), Gunnarsson, Arter, Hoilett (Murphy 64), Paterson (Harris 73).

Subs not used: Smithies, Peltier, Madine, Reid.

Goals: Murphy (90+5).

Referee: Graham Scott.

Tickets Sold: 56,811.

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