A day of emotional contrasts for the West Ham United fans, whose rage against the owners soon turned into joy and relief at the team’s performance. Thousands had marched to the ground in peaceful protest before the game, and their issues with the club’s ownership will not be solved by one victory, but a first win in eight matches at least provides them with a sense of optimism.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appIt was not just the final result, but the performance too. West Ham were excellent in large spells, with their attacking players combining to devastating effect against a Southampton side who did not always help themselves, especially in defence.
Not for a long time have West Ham been as exciting as they were in stages here, with new signing Jarrod Bowen delivering an exceptional individual performance on his first start since his £22 million move from Hull. Bowen attacked with menace, scoring West Ham’s first, and defended responsibly. “That is the way it went in my dreams last night,” he said.
Alongside him, record signing Sebastien Haller and Michail Antonio struck their first goals since New Year’s Day and November respectively. They were supported by Pablo Fornals, another expensive addition, whose two assists were key to West Ham’s success.
“They did a great job,” David Moyes, the West Ham manager, said. “All of them contributed. I don’t want Jarrod to come here and have to be the one to perform in a difficult situation. He is someone who scores and he knows how to score from the position he plays. There will be games that suit him and games that perhaps don’t.”
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appNot even Michael Obafemi’s first-half goal for Southampton could knock Moyes’ side out of their stride, although their quick response owed much to a dreadful error from visiting goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team were rightly praised for their form over the festive period, but they were flat here and have now won just once in six matches in all competitions. If they were looking to build on the pre-match agitation among the home supporters, then they failed completely.
“I think we conceded goals that were an absolute joke,” Hasenhuttl said. “It is simply not enough. Not aggressive enough, not committed enough. Play like this against a team in a relegation battle, then you may also be in a relegation battle again. If anybody believes we are safe, they have a problem. We have to fight for every point.”
The estimates from the protest were that around 3,000 West Ham supporters were in attendance, which was much more than a similar march earlier this year. The team’s dreadful results have naturally played their part in that, so the hope from the club will be that this victory eases some of the anger. It will help, no doubt, that Bowen was such a pivotal figure, given the size of their investment in the 23-year-old.
Bowen was more than deserving of his first goal for the club after a sparky, imaginative start on his full debut. He darted into the penalty box after 15 minutes, through the Southampton bodies, and clipped a delicate finish into the corner from Fornals’s pass.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appBowen had already gone close to an opener, being denied only by a sliding James Ward-Prowse block, and he was soon nipping past defenders and firing at goal again. A nutmeg on the touchline underlined his confidence, while on the other flank Antonio was causing no end of problems with his speed.
It felt typical of West Ham’s season that it was at this point of enthusiasm, with the sun shining and the attackers purring, that they conceded the equaliser. Ward-Prowse overlapped down the right and picked out Obafemi, whose finish looped into the far corner.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appAfter such a setback, it was credit to West Ham’s mentality that they reacted so quickly. There had been urgency to their attacking, and Haller restored their lead within nine minutes of the Southampton leveller.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appMcCarthy had no one to blame but himself. Antonio’s mis-hit cross had flown into the air and the Southampton goalkeeper was simply outjumped by Haller. The ball fell down, just a yard from goal, and West Ham’s record signing promptly slid home his seventh goal of the season.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“Alex is expected to catch a ball that a player was jumping for,” said Hasenhuttl. “It tells you everything about the defending. Punch it away, outside the box, and nothing happens.”
West Ham’s forward players were all pulling their weight and Antonio deserved his goal, which arrived a few minutes after the break. Haller’s flick found Fornals, whose lofted pass allowed Antonio to fire a powerful finish past the exposed McCarthy.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appAntonio could have had another a few minutes later, when Haller produced a sensational “rabona” pass from the halfway line, but this time McCarthy stood firm. The miss was not to matter for West Ham, who withstood some late pressure from the visitors without ever looking in real trouble.