First Half Recap
GET IN A beautiful goal for West Ham! pic.twitter.com/mfMEU33nmV— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) March 31, 2018
From the “Oh nos” of Michail Antonio’s latest hamstring injury bringing a sense of dread once again, to this Joao Mario strike, in amazing fashion as only West Ham can do, it went from grimly bad to dramatically delightful for the home side in just an instance.
Two more goals from Arnautovic, including his terrific second, capped off a phenomenal transformation for the club, just like that.
Can they keep this going? We shall see.
It was always going to be a tension filled day, when the team just out of the relegation zone facing the team just in it. But for West Ham United against Southampton here at London Stadium, the tension for the home side has only increased a bit further with the team news.
Manuel Lanzini did not pass a late fitness test for this crucial contest and Javier Hernandez has some illness from his long travel back after international break. But Arthur Masuaku has returned to the lineup after his six-match ban, a major boost with Andy Carroll still unavailable and James Collins also out. The bench is once again so undermanned for West Ham today that youngsters Grady Diangana and Josh Pask are on the bench.
For Southampton and new manager Mark Hughes, they turn up in this potentially season defining contest with tremendous health, as Charlie Austin was their only injury concern. And he is actually fit enough to start and play for the Saints.
17th vs 18th place is always a dramatic contest this late in the season, and it will be a real mental test today for both sides. Despite the Hammers being up by three points in the standings, the feelings of the club after the debacle three weeks ago will put more pressure on them to win this match.
Many fans have arrived on the grounds already angry at the London Stadium. The security will be tested, the players will be tested. Will the Hammers past this test today?
We shall see.