Hammers Strike Gold Against Saints
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 05 May 2019 15:42:00
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West Ham United started May by following up their away win at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend with a first home success since 16 March, thanks to a 3-0 victory against Southampton on Saturday afternoon.

Felipe Anderson and Declan Rice were missing through illness, while the one-match ban given to Robert Snodgrass for a training ground incident in March finally took effect. In came Pedro Obiang and Grady Diangana. Manuel Lanzini, who had recovered from the groin strain he picked up in the teams' last defeat at Manchester United on 13 April, slotted into midfield.

There was a surprising inclusion on the bench however, as Carlos Sánchez was included in the matchday eighteen for the first time since the goalless draw at home to Chelsea on 23 September.

Ralph Hasenhüttl had also made a number of changes to his starting line-up but it was the Hammers who started the brighter of the two sides.

They took control and went ahead inside sixteen minutes when captain Mark Noble Capitalised on a defensive mistake from Yan Valery and played in Marko Arnautovic for the Austrian to claim his first goal since the FA Cup third round victory over Birmingham City on 5 January.

The home side were definitely piling on the pressure and six minutes later, forced returning Saints' goalkeeper Fraser Forster into a couple of decent saves; firstly from Lanzini, followed shortly after by Michail Antonio.

Once they had gone in front, West Ham completely dominated and they went into the half-time break with a deserved advantage.

In last season's corresponding fixture, the Irons were 3-0 up before me break and they were obviously in the mood for more goals but Southampton were not out of the game by a long way so in an effort to give West Ham something to think about, Nathan Redmond came on to replace Danny Ings.

The change certainly made an impact as the striker began causing problems. Antonio had to block his initial effort but a first real sight of goal was to follow. Fortunately though, Fabianski tipped his shot over after he'd been picked out from a corner.

Both managers made substitutions with 68 minutes gone. Pellegrini sent on Jack Wilshire for Diangana, while the visitors introduced James Ward-Prowse for Stuart Armstrong.

West Ham survived that scare from the Saints and it spurred them on to get a second goal and having not scored for a while, Arnautovic bagged a brace when he took advantage of a mistake from Forster after the goalkeeper could only parry Arthur Masuaku's cross into his path to present the former Stoke City player with the easiest of finishes.

Three minutes later, the hosts wrapped up the points. Great play saw Wilshire set up Ryan Fredericks for his first West Ham league goal. The defender raced onto the ball and thumped home, bringing loud cheers from the loyal fan base.

Pellegrini introduced both Sánchez and Lucas Pérez into the action before Arnautovic went close to securing his hat-trick but unfortunately, he was unable to beat Forster for a third time.

Referee Stuart Attwell's final whistle was greeted by even more cheers as the East Londoners are now only two points away from a top half finish.

West Ham could be set for a hat-trick of victories to and the 2018/19 campaign as they head to Watford on Sunday afternoon, hoping that they have one eye on their FA Cup final date with Manchester City at Wembley on 18 May.

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