It was a joyous post Boxing Day evening for West Ham United, as they closed out their first half of the 2018-19 Premier League with a comeback 2-1 victory over Southampton at St. Mary’s Park.
The victory on the road by Manuel Pellegrini’s side showcased the depth in the squad as well as the continued quality play in December, as the Hammers overcame the absences of many key squad regulars to secure a fine win.
A solid first half set the tone for West Ham, as they out energized a rejuvenated Saints side with better passing and the clear opportunities. The best chance for the Hammers fell to Lucas Perez after fine work from Felipe Anderson and Aaron Cresswell, but who completely blew the chance on his preferred left foot.
All the good vibes from the first half quickly evaporated for Pellegrini’s side in the beginning of the second 45, as Southampton took the lead off one of the scrappiest goals anyone would ever see with Nathan Redmond tapping home from two yards out.
But the Hammers would show the great team spirit and quality they have at the moment, as Felipe Anderson added another highlight reel goal of late with a stinging finish from outside the box that Alex McCarthy wasn’t expecting in the 53rd minute.
That equalizer spurred on the Hammers to take the lead just six minutes, when the versatile, energetic Michail Antonio provided his shining moment in another bright performance from him by starting a counterattack from a Southampton corner. Antonio, playing makeshift right back for the Hammers due to the injuries to Pablo Zabaleta and long-term absence Ryan Fredericks, delivered a perfect pass into the path of Anderson, who was wide open and slotted home to finish superbly again for another brace performance.
The Hammers would hold on to that lead and secure a third straight road win along with a finish inside the top half of the table at the midway mark in ninth place.
West Ham will hope to close out 2018 in fine style, as they face against struggling Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday.