Hammers News player ratings as West Ham edge to an absolutely crucial win over Saints in Premier League basement battle.
It was billed a must win for both teams as West Ham took on survival rivals Southampton in a crunch Premier League clash at the London Stadium.
And West Ham were the ones who emerged with those precious three points in their pockets thanks to Nayef Aguerd’s first half goal.
Every single one of us would have taken any kind of win. So it would be hypocritical to sit here and complain having got it by hook or by crook – and with VAR finally going in West Ham’s favour.
The Hammers had slipped to second bottom as a result of Bournemouth’s 2-1 win over Fulham on Saturday.
That only served to heighten the pressure in this big stakes match against rock bottom Saints.
The result means David Moyes’ West Ham jump four places up to 14th and effectively put a five-point gap between them and Southampton given the Hammers’ vastly superior goal difference.
A four-minute VAR check followed man of the match Aguerd’s headed goal after a whipped free-kick. Like there wasn’t enough tension inside the London Stadium already.
You could probably hear the cheers of relief as far away as the south coast when the goal was given.
The Hammers – as has been typical of their season – were profligate for the rest of the game, squandering a host of fantastic opportunities to score.
And they nearly paid the price when the Saints hit the bar near the end.
But the win is all that matters at this stage of the season.
Attentions now turn to what becomes a massive opportunity for West Ham when Newcastle come to town on Wednesday night.
This represents one of the two games in hand the Hammers have on most teams in and around them.
Win and Moyes’ men could move up to 12th above Palace and probably within two wins of safety with another winnable game against an Aleksandar Mitrovic-less Fulham next weekend.
Here are our Hammers News player ratings as West Ham edge to an absolutely crucial win over Saints.
Some are possibly a bit kind – fuelled by the huge sense of relief – but all aboard the positive train.
Lukasz Fabianski: Flawless on his somewhat surprise return to the side but kicking struggles evident – 8.
Thilo Kehrer: Clearly targeted as a weak link by Saints but stood up to it well in fairness and was solid enough – 7.
Kurt Zouma: Pretty faultless besides a couple of hashed clearances in the second half – 7.
Nayef Aguerd: Hands down man of the match and got the winner – 9.
Emerson Palmieri: Excellent display from the ever improving left-back, was a constant threat going forward too – 8.
Declan Rice: Got the better of the midfield battle with James Ward-Prowse and forced him back for most of the game – 8.
Tomas Soucek: Worked hard for the team but passing was poor and took too long on the ball, subbed – 5.
Lucas Paqueta: Flashes of neat play and worked really hard for the team. Squandered a great chance to make it 2-0 – 7.
Said Benrahma: Always probing and combined well with Emerson. End product needs to be better when he has so much time. Nearly scored from a free-kick – 7.
Jarrod Bowen: Worked tirelessly and was an outlet for West Ham throughout – 8.
Danny ings: Did ok in patches but didn’t really get a sniff and made a mess of big chance when one on one with Saints defender. Ironically West Ham created three or four chances that would have been perfect for him after he was subbed – 6.
Flynn Downes: Put himself about and made some important interceptions – 6.
Michail Antonio: Needs to work much harder and close down when he comes on as a sub. Did ok and used his strength well to help see the game out – 6.
Aaron Cresswell and Pablo Fornals: Only on for a few minutes, Cresswell made crucial clearance before final whistle.