Hammers Hammers Turn Up Heat on Stoke
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 17 Dec 2017 15:02:00
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West Ham United picked up their first away win of the season as they beat Stoke City 3-0 at the bet 365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

One change was made to the side that drew with Arsenal on Wednesday, as David Moyes replaced the suspended Winston Reid with James Collins.

Despite kick-off being delayed by an hour, it certainly didn't deter the visitors who started brightly.

With just four minutes gone, Arthur Masuaku had a chance to put his side ahead but sent the ball wide after doing all the hard work.

The home side have had their problems recently and West Ham were looking to take advantage. Michail Antonio was next to try his luck but his shot was no trouble for goalkeeper Jack Butland who gathered easily.

After fifteen minutes, Mark Hughes then saw Xherdan Shaqiri's freekick headed on by captain Ryan Shawcross but the Irons survived when the ball came back off the post.

Soon after, the Hammers went back on the attack and Manuel Lanzini went down in the area following slight contact with Erik Pieters and Referee Graham Scott awarded a penalty.

Captain Mark Noble stepped-up and he was able to celebrate making his 300th Premier League appearance for the club as he beat Butland to give his side the advantage.

However, that is as good as it got for the skipper who was taken off after 35 minutes with a hamstring injury. Moyes then replaced him with Declan Rice.

The visitors were looking to earn a second win inside a week after putting Chelsea to the sword and started to pile on the pressure. They could have gone further in front but both Marko Arnautovic and Lanzini were guilty of wasting their efforts.

Arnautovic was desperate to score against his former club and had another chance just before the break. Aaron Cresswell and Masuaku played him in but with only Butland to beat, the winger ended up sending the chance wide of the target from close range.

Whilst the visitors would have been pleased to head to the dressing rooms in front, they must have been wondering how it wasn't more comfortable.

The Irons were again on top when the second-half started and the former Stoke player was by now really in the thick of the action. He had another chance to get on the scoresheet when he got his head to Creswell's cross but the luck still wasn't with him, as he saw this effort go over.

A further nine minutes had passed and he still couldn't find a way through.
Despite Masuaku playing him in, his latest shot was deflected wide.

Chances kept coming for Arnautovic and he was getting closer each time.

On this occasion, Lanzini found him in the box and he sent a left footed effort towards goal but it smacked the crossbar.

Just after the hour mark, Hughes brought on Charlie Adam in place of skipper Darren Fletcher and the Scotsman almost made an instant impact when his wicked cross was met by Shawcross who squeezed in between Collins and Angelo Ogbonna but he could only head over.

Six minutes later, Moyes made his second change of the afternoon when Diafra Sakho took the place of Antonio.

West Ham should have added a second a minute later but when Arnautovic turned provider for Sakho, the striker seemed odds-on to score but he panicked and sent his effort past the post.

For so long it seemed as if the Hammers were going to hang on to their slender advantage but with 75 minutes gone, they broke Stoke's resistance and Arnautovic finally got his goal. After being booed by the majority inside the stadium all afternoon, the Austrian calmly slotted beyond Butland after swapping passes with Lanzini.

Four minutes later, Moyes decided to replace the villain of the piece with Javier Hernández.

The visitors clinched the points with a third goal on 86 minutes, as Lanzini set up Sakho and this time, he beat Butland with ease.

The stadium was half empty when referee Scott blew the final whistle but the travelling contingent stayed behind to congratulate the team on a win that sees them move out of the relegation zone and up to 15th.

It's another meeting with Arsenal next up for the Irons as they head to The Emirates Stadium on Tuesday with a place in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup up for grabs.

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