Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United via Getty Images

West Ham United are up to ninth after an impressive win over Southampton on Thursday night.

It was a fifth win from six games in December for the happy Hammers.

West Ham came from behind to win 2-1 thanks to a stunning brace from Felipe Anderson.

Here’s five things we learned about Manuel Pellegrini’s side from the game.

Antonio would be at Real Madrid IF…

On the face of it Michail Antonio has it all. Unrivalled power, immense pace, the ability to play in several positions and a knack for goals.

Yet he still takes a lot of stick from supporters, some of whom feel he hasn’t been the same player since signing a bumper new contract.

Photo by Michael Steele Getty Images

The truth though is that the former non-league star has always been something of a rough diamond.

At just £7.5 million Antonio is one of West Ham’s best buys in recent memory in terms of value for money.

Antonio can frustrate with his errant passing and decision-making. Back supporters must appreciate that if he got that right every time he would most likely be at Real Madrid so valuable are his other assets in the modern game.

Andy Carroll is the new Iniesta

Andres Iniesta is one of the greatest playmakers of all time. The World Cup winner is winding down on a glorious career over in Japan.

So who can fill the void of one-touch pass-threading genius back in Europe’s elite leagues? Come in number nine Andy Carroll.

It is doubtful Barcelona will be in for the big Hammers striker anytime soon. But Carroll showed there are more strings to his bow than heading and holding up the ball when he came on a second half substitute at St Marys.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United via Getty Images

Dropping deep Carroll acted as an auxiliary midfielder for the closing stages and picked out one of the passes of the game.

On the swivel and under pressure from the Saints press Carroll instigated a neat one-touch exchange in the middle of the park before expertly sending a beautiful first-time daisy-cutter through ball to Anderson who almost completed his hat-trick.

Pundits left red-faced by Pellegrini’s high line

When Pellegrini first took over at West Ham he was widely ridiculed by a host of pundits for implementing a high defensive line.

The Chilean stuck to his principles and the likes of Jamie Carragher, Jamie Redknapp and Gary Neville questioned whether his methods were out of touch in the modern Premier League.

 

But Pellegrini had only been in China for a couple years not living on the moon.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United via Getty Images

And now he and West Ham over the moon as his high line was repeatedly praised by commentators during the victory over the Saints and again by the likes of Matt Le Tissier, Craig Bellamy and Tim Sherwood in the post match analysis.

At least pundit Paul Merson was honest enough to admit he was too soon to judge when issuing an apology to Pellegrini recently, read the full article here.

West Ham’s travelling fans really are up there with the best

That won’t be groundbreaking news for anyone associated with the East Londoners of course.

But once again on Thursday night West Ham’s loyal away following were rewarded for making it feel like a home game.

Out-singing their rejuvenated opponents for 90 minutes, the Hammers faithful packed out the away end and roared their side on throughout.

Whether it was singing about virtually every player in the side, the manager, demanding a new contract for Declan Rice or ribbing Saints about being a small team in Portsmouth they sang it all.

A 2-1 win and a Anderson’s Braziliant goals were just reward.

Photo by GLYN KIRK AFP Getty Images

No case for the defence for Declan Rice

Everyone knows young Declan Rice is the future captain of West Ham. The 19-year-old plays beyond his years and looks like he has been marshalling Premier League midfield battles for two decades.

It is made all the more remarkable by the fact he started out as a centre back. In fact that is deemed his natural position.

Many feel he will drop back there in the future as West Ham strengthen their ranks.

But why would anyone do that when such brilliant, dominant central midfielders are so hard to find.

Especially ones that don’t cost you a penny in the first place.

Rice was many supporters’ man of the match against Southampton despite Anderson’s heroics.

And that tells you everything you need to know about a player who has everything in his armoury to emulate Roy Keane’s influence on football teams without all the unnecessary snarling.

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