West Ham United gave their fans little festive joy as an abject home loss to Southampton saw them lose ground in the race for a top-four finish.
David Moyes’s West Ham United have only themselves to blame as they failed to utilise home advantage to see off a struggling Southampton side.
In a result that could profoundly affect their chances of finishing in the top four, the Hammers made silly errors and looked off their game. The Boxing day affair got off to a great start when Mohamed Elyounoussi gave Southampton the lead in the eighth minute. It set the stage up for a cracking festive fixture.
The first half ended without any more standout moments, and the visitors took a one-goal lead into the break. However, the second half could not have been any more different as both sides attacked with abandon. Substitute Michail Antonio scored within three minutes of coming on to draw the home side level.
Declan Rice then flashed a strike wide as the Irons threatened to seize the advantage. Craig Dawson, who assisted Antonio’s equalizer, went from hero to villain as he brought down Armando Broja to hand the visitors a penalty. James Ward-Prowse made no mistake from the spot, giving his side the lead for the second time on the night.
23 – Since David Moyes' first game back in charge of West Ham in January 2020, no club has scored more @premierleague goals from corner situations than the Hammers (23, level with Liverpool). Angles. pic.twitter.com/y75tk6Cdc7
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 26, 2021
Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma combined to draw West Ham level once again, but Jan Bednarek’s 70th-minute strike made the difference on the night. The loss leaves West ham in the sixth spot, seven points off fourth-placed Arsenal, with a game in hand.
With the Gunners and a resurgent Tottenham Hotspur to contend with, Moyes’s side cannot afford to lose cheap points, especially at home if they are serious about finishing in the top four. The Hard Tackle looks at how the West Ham players fared on the night.
Lukasz Fabianski: 4/10
The Polish international enjoyed a busy night where he had to take the ball out of his net thrice. While it is debatable if he could have done better to prevent Elyounoussi’s opener, he could do little to stop the other two goals.
Vladimir Coufal: 4/10
The Czech Republic international was shaky all night and struggled against a Southampton side that showed more intent. He failed to get going both in attack and defence and was on par for his side’s overall performance on the night.
Craig Dawson: 4/10
The centre-back was aerially dominant and even set up Antonio for his side’s first equalizer on the night. However, he quickly went from hero to villain after bringing down Broja to concede a penalty. Ward-Prowse slotted home from the spot to hand his side the lead for the second time on the night.
Issa Diop: 4/10
Usually dependable, he struggled on the night and never got going. He was caught out several times and also looked unconvincing in possession. A forgettable night for the French defender.
Arthur Masuaku: 5/10
Masuaku was perhaps the pick of the Hammers’ defence, but it does little to redeem another abject performance. Since Aaron Cresswell was injured, the Hammers have struggled for any attacking impetus from the full-back spot. While Masuaku has his moments defensively, he has to do more going forward.
Tomas Soucek: 4/10
He was largely out of sorts on the night and looked jaded. Soucek struggled to make a mark on the game, and it can be argued that he could do with a pause.
This is not the way we want to play. We are frustrated. We have another game in 2 days. We need to win. We will do everything we can to handle it. Regeneration and preparation for extra important game is already beginning. Together for victory The hammers pic.twitter.com/4ICpPCQDJl
— Tomáš Souček (@tomassoucek28) December 26, 2021
Declan Rice: 5/10
The English international failed to grab the game by the scruff of the neck as he usually does. The warning he picked up on the night sees him suspended for West Ham’s game against Watford. In all honestly, it should allow him to catch a break and get some rest. Rice had an excellent chance to give his side the lead at the hour mark but saw his strike go wide.
Pablo Fornals: 3/10
Fornals cut an anonymous figure all night and was hauled off at half-time for Manuel Lanzini.
Nikola Vlasic: 4/10
Vlasic fashioned West Ham’s best chance of the first half. While he did manage to dribble his way past the Saints defence, the strike was straight at the goalkeeper and admittedly tame. He did do his best in what was an otherwise first 45 minutes lacking in inspiration, but it was not enough to change the game’s tide. He was taken off for Antonio at the break.
Jarrod Bowen: 5/10
The English ace started the game up front and never got going in that role. Antonio’s introduction at half-time saw him revert to the familiar winger’s role. Bowen did a much better job on the flank and grabbed himself an assist for Benrahma’s goal.
Said Benrahma: 5/10
The Algerian cut a sorry figure before Antonio’s arrival. He looked lost for ideas and a far cry from the player who terrorised defences while at Brentford. He, however, took his goal well.
Michail Antonio: 7/10
The Jamaican was once again West Ham United’s player of the night. Despite having been on the field for just 45 minutes, the Hammers’ dependence on him is staggering. He took the goal well and gave the home side something to aim for upfront. Antonio also linked up better with his teammates bringing them into the game more often.
Not the result we wanted at all today. It’s been a hard month but we’ve still got a lot to play for. We’ll keep fighting and get back to playing the way we know we can! ⚒ #COYI pic.twitter.com/KgQj0kOBsr
— Michail Antonio (@Michailantonio) December 26, 2021
Manuel Lanzini: 7/10
The Argentine star’s arrival added more impetus to a West Ham attack that looked static and unimaginative. However, he lacked enough support to make a concentrated effort at salvaging the game.
Andriy Yarmolenko: N/A
He did not do enough to warrant a rating.