West Ham United returned to winning ways on Thursday night after they got the better of Southampton by a 2-1 scoreline on the road. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side opened the scoring with a bit of luck through Nathan Redmond’s hand from close range in the 50th minute but they were pegged back thereafter with Felipe Anderson bagging a sublime brace before the hour mark. The victory was the Hammers’ fifth from the previous six matches while Southampton suffered their first defeat after two successive triumphs under their new head coach.
Two things we learned:
Felipe Anderson showing his best form: Anderson had a slow start to the proceedings with the Hammers after contributing just one goal until the end of October. However, he has since picked up his form extensively with several counter-attacking displays and his brace against Burnley produced his sixth and seventh goal respectively in the past nine matches. With injuries hampering the Hammers, Anderson has been the player, who has picked up his performance levels and hopefully, he can continue the good run of form heading into the New Year to enhance the club’s pursuit of finishing in the European qualification positions. West Ham, who began the season with four successive defeats, are currently within five points off sixth-placed Manchester United at the halfway stage of the campaign.
Southampton’s defensive concerns remain intact: Southampton may have found their scoring mojo under their new manager but their defensive concerns don’t seem to cease. The ex-Leipzig boss has preferred to go with a three-man backline to curb the tendency to concede but this has not quite worked out with the team yet to keep a shutout under his management. Moreover, summer signing Jannik Vestergaard has been a disappointment trying to fill up the huge boots of ex-player Virgil van Dijk and his lack of pace, in particular, appears a downside to his prospects of establishing himself as a league regular. It will be interesting to see whether the Saints bolster their backline at the turn of the year to enhance their chances of jumping clear of the drop zone. They are currently just three points off the bottom three.
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