David Hautzig's Match Report

Such a shame that we can only enjoy the remarkable accomplishment of our board and their new floor covering for two matches this season. Maybe that was always the intention? I mean, isn’t the carpet like a new signing? I’m sure we will see the best of it next year after a full pre season.

Woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Petty rant over.

There are players in this league who succeed almost in spite of themselves. In what other universe do players like Danny Ings and Shane Long keep playing and scoring goals as the world around them moves a lot faster than them. Yet they do. And in the fifth minute we could easily have fallen behind when Ings played a ball to Long on the right side of the West Ham eighteen yard box. Thankfully for the hosts his shot went over the bar.

The only supporter I know that has been virtually 100% supportive of Mark Noble has been Shedman. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say anything critical of the captain. Me? I’ve called for his head dozens of times, probably. But time and time again, he wills himself to be anywhere from useful to invaluable. Last week at Spurs he utterly dominated the midfield. In the 16th minute, he intercepted an errant pass and within a second saw Arnautovic find space in between the Saints center backs. A perfectly weighted ball followed, capped off by Marko’s first goal in months.

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West Ham 1
Southampton 0

Even before the goal, Arnautovic seemed to be coming out of his January induced funk. He made runs, he looked involved. Balbuena sent a long ball around the 20th minuted that Arnautovic just couldn’t bring down properly, but the positioning was there. I still think we should have taken the money and sent him off to China, but if he has to stay I could cope based on what we saw last week and today.

In the 35th minute, Lanzini went on a long run with Antonio and Arnautovic ahead of him in support. The Jewel was eventually stopped before he could find either of his partners. So why mention it? Because Lanzini was launched from the top of the West Ham penalty area by a truly sublime little pass from Noble. It was a thing of beauty, and I wanted to acknowledge it.

As the opening forty five minutes wound down, Southampton looked better. They pressed higher up the pitch, and forced West Ham to look for long balls to relieve the pressure. Noble, Fredericks, and Balbuena all had moments of stress. But the visitors couldn’t find the final ball, and Fabianski wasn’t asked to do much.

The final seconds of the first half almost brought a second West Ham goal, against the run of play. Obiang and Antonio worked the ball on the left side of the Saints penalty area, culminating in Antonio letting go with a low shot that Foster had to dive down to stop.

Halftime
West Ham 1
Southampton 0

Southampton made one change to start the second half, with Redmond coming on for Ings and immediately the change looked to be a good one. Redmond had a point blank shot blocked by Diop, and then Southampton won a corner. Fredericks got the ball near the corner flag, and even though he had time he chose to lob the ball downfield to give West Ham a breather. Southampton came right back down and won two corners in quick succession, the second coming from a crucial block by Antonio in the box. Warning shots had been fired, and how the Hammers responded would dictate the second half and ultimately the match itself.

Diangana has had a good first season in the Premier League. He has shown glimpses of quality, but he has also shown glimpses of youthful indiscretion. Runs into the abyss, passes to black holes. Which, I guess, is understandable. He’s a kid. Without dampening his creativity and guile, I hope Pellegrini works on his composure next season. If he had that today, based on some runs he was able to start but not finish, the game might have been out of reach by the hour mark.

Southampton came inches away from an equalizer in the 64th minute when Redmond sent a volley off of a corner that Fabianski had to palm over the bar at the last moment. The hosts handled the ensuing set piece, but seconds later Long was sent in on goal but for some reason he didn’t shoot. Instead, he ran into Fredericks and hoped for a penalty. What he got was time to look at the sky while West Ham came down and won a corner of their own after Foster got down low to stop a shot from Lanzini.

I have always been superstitious. If I watch us win on a certain television, I make sure to watch the next game in the same room on the same TV. I watched the match today in my basement. However, I was needed by my son in the opening half for a few minutes so I put the game on my IPad. That’s when we scored. So when I was needed again for something in the second half, I grabbed the Ipad again. And that’s when Masuaku sent the cross into the box that Foster made a mess of and Arnautovic headed home.

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Dave’s IPad 2
Southampton 0

When talk started that West Ham would release Wilshere and pay half of his contract rather than give him another season, I scratched my head. He certainly was a bad investment this season, and you could argue that a three year deal was daft. But to my way of thinking, another season was a better choice. And if we see the kind of play from him next year, even in half the matches, that we saw today we will all be happy he is a Hammer. A little back heel to Fredericks sent the right back in for his first league goal of the year.

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Dave’s IPad 2
West Ham 1
Southampton 0

Arnautovic came ohhhhh sooooo close to the hat trick after Perez made a good run down the right and rolled a pass to Marko at the top of the box. When he set himself up for a right footed curler it looked like a third goal was in the books. Alas, it went wide.

Can I say something unpopular? I think keeping Perez might be a good idea. His goals per minute ratio is the best in the side, and I doubt we could get more than 4 million for him. So despite the wages he might be better value for money than a new signing.

Final Score
West Ham 3
Southampton 0

“We should be one point out of 7th” was the text I got from my best mate, Jon in a clear dig at the awful refereeing decisions we have seen of late. I understood the point. I’m usually the one that says such things, and Jon is the one who usually points out that such things are rarely that clear cut. What was clear today was that we treated the final home match of the season with the respect it deserved and turned out the home lights with a good performance and three points.

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