When Michail Antonio suffered another devastating hamstring injury that left him in tears coming off, it appeared it was going to be another stressful, negative day for West Ham United at the London Stadium.
And then, Joao Mario scored, and the exact opposite happened.
The Hammers secured a remarkable three goals in the first half and finished 3-0 victors over Southampton in a crucial relegation zone battle Saturday at the London Stadium.
It was quite the pleasantly shocking and much welcomed turnaround for the Hammers, not only from the debacle to Burnley three weeks ago, but also just from the moment a disconsolate Antonio exited the pitch to the hospital for further evaluation.
And how Mario scored the opener came from a worrying moment itself, when Cheikhou Kouyate poorly conceded a corner to the visitors. But Mario Lemina disastrously provided a turnover that lead to the Senegal captain redeeming himself instantly with perfect counterattacking play, providing a terrific run and pass that allowed Mario a great chance. And did the Portuguese international ever so take it, shooting brilliantly past Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy in the 13th minute.
Buoyed by that wonderful moment, West Ham secured a second goal just four minutes later. After squandering a full chance, Marko Arnautovic made sure to not miss his opportunity for another productive afternoon by following his rebound from McCarthy’s denial to tap in.
Mark Hughes’ side were left in deep woe matching their lack of quality, and the Hammers continued to seize on their first half control to finish it off in sublime fashion. The returning Arthur Masuaku delivered a wonderful cross that Arnautovic sweetly volleyed home for another brace for him seconds before referee Jonathan Moss blew the whistle for halftime.
The Saints were only a fraction better in the second half, or rather, less worse would be the accurate phrase. There was no real save Joe Hart had to make in the game, and provided a thankfully stress free afternoon for the Hammers.
It maybe the win that propels West Ham to the safety they always should achieve, and David Moyes will hope his side can continue from this terrific day when they face off against Chelsea next Sunday.