West Ham 3-0 Southampton
The three week break certainly seemed to do West Ham good, as they blew Southampton away in this relegation six pointer at the London stadium.
The fans got right behind the home team from the start, with the demonstrations of the previous encounter with Burnley but a distant memory.
Star of the show was West Ham striker Marko Arnautovic, who scored twice and harassed the Southampton rearguard all afternoon.
The former Stoke striker even seemed to have time to cast a few comments in the direction of his former manager, now in charge of Southampton, Mark Hughes. Though Hughes later denied any verbals between the two.
West Ham certainly came into this game on the front foot, taking the lead after 12 minutes, when Cheikhou Kouyate was put away down the right by Mark Noble. The midfielder whipped in a low cross which Joao Mario controlled before crashing into the roof of the net from just outside the penalty area.
A couple of minutes later Noble put Arnautovic through but with the goal at his mercy the Austrian clipped the ball wide of the post.
Arnaoutovic though was not to be denied when a couple of minutes later he saw his header, from a Mario cross, bounce back off the keeper, leaving him an easy tap in.
The rout was complete a couple of minutes into injury time, when Arnautovic sweetly volleyed home, a teasing cross from Arthur Masuaku.
The second half was something of an anti-climax as Southampton huffed and puffed but could not get back in the game. The one sided nature of the encounter was underlined by the fact that West Ham keeper Joe Hart was not called on to make a save all afternoon.
West Ham manager David Moyes was pleased that everyone came together on and off the pitch for the match. “The players made it clear how they felt. They said we’ll show you what we can do,” said Moyes, who drew parallels with the previous game against Burnley, pointing out that this time his team took their chances.
“We’ve had some good times and some bad times. It’s Stoke next and we need a couple of wins more to make sure we are ok,” said a clearly relieved manager.
Moyes praised Arnautovic’s performance, though, felt he should have scored four goals.
A shell shocked Southampton manager Mark Hughes seemed to be realising the size of the task he now faces to keep his team in the top flight. “It wasn’t what we anticipated in terms of a performance. We gave away some very poor goals, we need to do better next time out,” said Hughes, who felt Southampton made it easy for West Ham on the day.