West Ham edged past Southampton in a scrappy encounter as the Hammers eased their relegation fears.
A first half header from Nayef Aguerd was enough for West Ham to secure the 1-0 win over their relegation rivals, as Southampton’s Paul Onuachu hit the crossbar late on in a tight, tense affair at London Stadium.
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The win moves David Moyes’ side out of the relegation zone and on to 27 points, while Southampton remain bottom of the table and on 23 points as they are three points from safety with nine games to go.
Cagey encounter proves just how tight relegation scrap is
This was not a classic. And there may be plenty of Premier League games like this between now and the end of the season because are so many teams involved in the relegation scramble. They can be slugfests which see teams go toe-to-toe and deliver hugely entertaining games but this game showed off the understandable nerves teams have about being relegated. West Ham were slightly better with their quality in the final third and that is why they won. However, as the Premier League table suggests, there is very little between the bottom nine teams this season. That gives hope to anybody down there, including Southampton, that they can get out of this.
Stars of the show; West Ham vs Southampton player ratings
Lukasz Fabianski: Made some smart stops down low on his return from injury. A calming influence.
Romeo Lavia: Won the ball back often and tried his best to get Saints moving forward from midfield.
The Hammers host Newcastle on Wednesday, April 5. Southampton host Manchester City on Saturday, April 8.
How to watch West Ham vs Southampton live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 9am ET, Sunday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
FULL TIME: West Ham 1-0 Southampton – A nervy win but a hugely important one for the Hammers. They move out of the bottom three and Saints remain bottom. It is still so tight around the relegation zone.
CROSSBAR! Paul Onuachu flicks a header against the bar. The first cross Saints have whipped into the box and the sub was so close to scoring his first Premier League goal.
CLOSE! Bowen’s cross into the box is deflected towards goal by Caleta-Car but Bazunu does really well to tip it over. From the resulting corner Lucas Paqueta lifts a shot over the bar.
Just over 15 minutes to go. It is very sleepy.
SAVE! Fabianski with a low save as Romeo Lavia picked up the loose ball from a corner and drilled an effort in. Moments later Carlos Alcaraz has a shot from distance saved by Fabianski.
West Ham are inviting a lot of pressure on themselves here. Sat back so deep.
Sulemana wins the ball back, drives forward and drills a shot wide. Good stuff from the sub. Saints need to get him the ball as much as they can.
Carlos Alcaraz and Kamaldeen Sulemana are both coming on for Southampton. Can this duo spark Saints’ sluggish attack into life? They are really missing the injured Che Adams today.
We are back underway in the second half. No subs at half time. The bubbles are still drifting across the pitch. Southampton are pretty good at second half comebacks, as their 3-3 draw against Tottenham last time out proved. Just going to leave that there…
HALF TIME: West Ham 1-0 Southampton – Really strange first 45 minutes. The Hammers scored with a set piece goal as Aguerd headed home but that was very subdued for a relegation scrap.
CROSSBAR! Jarrod Bowen curls a beauty which beats Gavin Bazunu but hits the bar and comes back out. Almost a second for West Ham just before half time after a lovely counter attack.
It is all very easy for West Ham now. Southampton haven’t been able to connect any passes in the final third consistently.
SAVE! Romain Perraud’s low show is brilliantly pushed wide by Lukasz Fabianski. Almost an immediate response from Saints.
GOALLL! West Ham 1-0 Southampton. After a lengthy VAR check, Nayef Aguerd’s header counts. It was given offside on the pitch but VAR checked it and he was just onside. West Ham score with the first real chance of the game as a free kick was swung in and Southampton failed to switch on. Really poor defensively from Saints.
Nayef Aguerd scores his first West Ham goal in a PIVOTAL match for the Hammers as they move out of the relegation zone!
📺: @USANetwork#MyPLMorning | #WHUSOU pic.twitter.com/jCdVZxjKme
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) April 2, 2023
Very quiet around the London Stadium as Southampton have had the better chances so far and have pressed West Ham high. Not the start the home fans would have wanted and they are starting to get on the back of their players a little. Lot of passes back and sideways from the Hammers.
A very even start so far. Both teams just feeling their way into this and understandably looking a little nervous.
We are underway in east London! What an atmosphere. Both teams have to go for it but West Ham are under more pressure.
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
Declan Rice is the main man for West Ham and he is doing his best to dig in and drive them forward. Other than that, Michail Antonio, Jarrod Bowen, Gianluca Scamacca and Danny Ings all need to find some form, and fast, if they’re going to drag West Ham up the table and away from this relegation battle they were never supposed to be anywhere near.
Southampton’s main man James Ward-Prowse is also dragging Saints through games and an unlikely resurgence from the fit-again Theo Walcott has played a big role in them picking up plenty of points since Selles took charge. The young duo of Romeo Lavia and Armel Bella-Kotchap continue to progress nicely in midfield and defense respectively and Saints now feel like they have a chance of getting out of the bottom three.
West Ham team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Gianluca Scamacca (knee)
Our side to face the Saints ⚒️ pic.twitter.com/GX1DlGlKAL
— West Ham United (@WestHam) April 2, 2023
Southampton team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Juan Larios (thigh), Armel Bella-Kotchap (shoulder), Valentino Livramento (hamstring), Che Adams (calf), Mohammed Salisu (knock)
COME ON YOU REDS 🔴⚪️
Your #SaintsFC side to take on #WHUFC: pic.twitter.com/EQvEP6sJCy
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) April 2, 2023