Tomas Soucek

West Ham earns massive win v. Watford

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A three-goal first half has likely secured West Ham United’s Premier League status for another year.

The Irons scored twice in the first 10 minutes and withstood anything Watford brought their way in a 3-1 win at the London Stadium on Friday.

Michail Antonio, Tomas Soucek, and Declan Rice scored for the Irons, with Troy Deeney getting the Hornets’ lone goal.

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West Ham moves to 37 points, level with Brighton and three more than the defeated Hornets. More importantly, the Irons are six points ahead of 18th-place Bournemouth and 19th-place Aston Villa with two matches to play.

Watford now has to hope for help out-of-town or memorable points against Arsenal or Man City.

West Ham meets Manchester United and Villa to finish their season, so it’s not 100 percent certain they’ll survive but Friday’s win was likely momentous given the club’s superior goal difference over all four clubs remaining with them in the relegation conversation.

WEST HAM – WATFORD FULL MATCH REPLAY


Three things we learned

1. Antonio remains the Irons savior: A man who had 2 goals and 2 assists before the coronavirus pause now is one goal away from his first 10-goal season in the Premier League. Five of his nine PL goals this season have come in the last week after the Irons relegated Norwich City a week ago and may have put Watford on that path on Friday. David Moyes should be buying this man dinner, because the early goal settled nerves in West Ham’s biggest match of the season.

2. Watford becomes supporters of the out-of-town scoreboard: Nigel Pearson’s men next meet Arsenal and Manchester City. While plenty of clubs have found points against those traditional powers during this weird season, you certainly wouldn’t bet on the Hornets to get it done.

3. Rice showcases shooting: Declan Rice is known for controlling the pace in the middle of the park and breaking up the other team’s possession. He’s definitely got goals in his locker, though, despite scoring just thrice in his Premier League career. The latest was a wondrous curler from outside the 18 which left Ben Foster looking like he’d been trying to deconstruct a complex theorem. Rice has now scored in a 1-0 win over Arsenal, a 2-0 defeat of Newcastle, and this 3-1 decision. So it’ll be four next time for the Irons.

Man of the Match

We’re going to go with Soucek, who has been critical to seemingly everything good not done by Antonio in West Ham’s run to safety. The Slavia Prague loanee should be back with the Irons next year if the Londoners have their wits about them.


West Ham – Watford recap

The Irons did not take long to strike, and it’s no surprise that Antonio was the scorer. The man who scored four against Norwich used a deft finish to make it 1-0 after six minutes.

Soucek’s become an offensive threat in recent weeks and got high to head a Jarrod Bowen cross home for 2-0 in the 10th minute.

The third goal was a beauty and could’ve been mistaken for a cross the way Ben Foster reacted to Rice’s tremendous curler from distance.

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Christian Kabasele headed just wide in the 48th minute as Watford fought to get back into the match.

They got the goal a minute later when Abdoulaye Doucoure drove into the box and saw his shot pushed off the post by Lukasz Fabianski. Deeney deposited the rebound for 3-1 with 41 minutes to play.

Kiko Femenia dragged a shot wide of the far post in the 59th minute, Watford still pressing for a second.

Newcastle comes back twice to draw West Ham

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Jonjo Shelvey and Miguel Almiron each scored equalizers as Newcastle continued its unbeaten Premier League run with a 2-2 draw against West Ham United at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

Tomas Soucek and Michail Antonio scored for the Irons, who move four points clear of the drop zone after its midweek win over Chelsea.

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The Newcastle point hampers its top eight hopes but runs its unbeaten league run to seven matches. The Magpies are 12th with 43 points.

NEWCASTLE – WEST HAM FULL MATCH REPLAY


Three things we learned

1. Almiron finds a home: Atlanta United fans will offer a “Well, duh?” when told that Newcastle playmaker Almiron is having a much better time finding goals and assists since a move from the wing to attack midfielder. The Paraguayan showed his nose for goal from close range in the first half on Sunday, giving him two goals and an assist since the restart. He also was often a left wing under Rafa Benitez last season, bright but without finish, and has been on the right an awful lot this season.

2. Few standouts for visitors: There’s no doubting the effort levels of West Ham’s opening scorer, and Antonio hassled the Magpies plenty on Sunday. The 30-year-old scored for the third time in his last six PL matches, his 30th goal in five Premier League seasons since a 2015 move from Nottingham Forest.

As for Soucek, the 25-year-old Slavia Prague loanee cleaned up a rebound off a corner kick when Declan Rice headed the service off the bar. Soucek’s been quite good, scoring against Chelsea at midweek and adding his second PL goal. Much of the Irons’ back line, however, was absent as were the three playmakers underneath Antonio (though that’s a bit harsh on Jarrod Bowen, who was dangerous very early in the match, and Aaron Cresswell grew into the game late).

3. Big Jonj delivers again: Forgetting for a moment that West Ham’s center backs allowed Shelvey and Gayle to work the 18 like a training routine on the second Newcastle goal, Shelvey is about to lead Newcastle in goals as a center midfielder. It’s Shelvey’s most productive offensive season in the PL since his first year at Swansea City and his six goals match a career-high despite

Man of the Match

Shelvey — The Magpies leading scorer (?!?) passed at 86 percent with three key passes and 8-of-15 long passes completed.

Newcastle - West Ham recap
Shelvey (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Newcastle – West Ham recap

A head-scratching play from Jamaal Lascelles allowed Antonio a back post goal in the fourth minute, West Ham getting off to a flying start from Jarrod Bowen’s cross.

Dwight Gayle stung a low free kick under the leaping wall that Lukasz Fabianski stifled in the 10th minute.

The Irons’ Declan Rice picked out Antonio at the back post a minute later, but Martin Dubravka caught the off-balance volley.

Almiron leveled the score line in the 17th minute, darting to the front post to convert an Emil Krafth pass following a dribble from Allan Saint-Maximin.

Fabianski was busy twice more in the next few minutes, a reaction save on a direct corner kick and a far less troubling effort from Saint-Maximin.

Bowen swept a great free kick into the mixer in front of Dubravka after the half-hour mark before forcing the keeper into a terrific save moments later.

Antonio put another header into Dubravka’s hands before halftime, Saint-Maximin answering with a shot saved by Fabianski.

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Little used, Krafth was busy again at the restart as Newcastle earned a corner.

The second half was sleepy, perhaps both sides ready to accept the point.

It sprung to life moments after we typed those words, West Ham taking a lead for barely over a minute through Soucek’s finish of a Rice rebound.

Newcastle needed even less time to answer the second Irons goal, Shelvey working a 1-2 with Gayle in the middle of the Irons box before calmly slotting home.

Yarmolenko the hero as West Ham stuns Chelsea

West Ham - Chelsea recap
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
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West Ham – Chelsea recap: West Ham moved out of the drop zone and how in a thrilling 3-2 win against Chelsea at the London Stadium on Wednesday.

Andriy Yarmolenko provided the late winner and Tomas Soucek and Michail Antonio also scored for the Irons, whose 30 points move them into 16th.

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They’re two points ahead of Watford and three clear of Aston Villa and Bournemouth.

Willian scored both of Chelsea’s goals as the Blues failed to pass third-place Leicester City and remain a point behind the Foxes.


Three things we learned

1. Huge Hammer blow: There’s no overlooking the fact that if you circled matches in which relegation sides would get points this season, you would’ve left this one alone. Getting the point would’ve been huge for the Irons. Three is unreal.

Yarmolenko is a huge talent and missed nearly three months with an adductor injury. He’s scored four times and added an assist this year, and West Ham has collected two wins and three draws from those outings. The Irons are 2W-2D-11L when he does not play.

2. Is Werner here yet? Chelsea has produced more chances than every Premier League team outside of Manchester City, but its fourth-highest goal total in the league is 22 behind City. They had 17 shots and six on target Wednesday. The goals came with a penalty and a free kick. Marcos Alonso and Christian Pulisic both missed chances in the first half. Neither is a center forward, but the addition of Timo Werner next season cannot come soon enough.

3. Willian is still money: The Brazilian’s goals were his third and fourth in his last four Premier League outings, giving him 62 to go with 60 assists in his Chelsea career. He is far-and-away Chelsea’s top performer this season via advanced stats site SofaScore and behind only Marcos Alonso on peer site WhoScored. Signing him is a decent idea.

Man of the Match

Soucek and Willian were both great but Antonio’s relentless effort produced a go-ahead goal and then a go-ahead assist. He deserves the nod.


West Ham – Chelsea recap

Chelsea spent the first dozen minutes on the front foot but West Ham should’ve been up 1-0 when Michail Antonio darted between Antonio Rudiger and Marcos Alonso before scuffing his shot across goal and wide of the post.

Pulisic nearly curled in a 17-yard opener off a Tammy Abraham dummy but he missed the top right corner of the goal.

Soucek put West Ham ahead in the 34th minute off an unholy goal mouth scramble, Antonio curling into a ball in the six-yard box as the midfielder scooped the ball over him and past Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Hold on! VAR ruled that the prone Antonio was offside in a wildly controversial call.

The script was flipped when Pulisic left his feet to win a penalty off a clumsy West Ham challenge, and Willian popped home the penalty.

Soucek got his goal before halftime to level the line for the final 45 minutes, rising high to pound home a corner kick.

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The Irons took the lead when Antonio side-footed home a Jarrod Bowen pass early in the second half.

Chelsea still had most of the ball, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek turned a cross wide of goal in the 64th.

Pulisic dribbled into a dangerous place and just missed a leaping Giroud with a chipped cross before the American’s header back across goal fell to the turf.

Fabianski rescued a Giroud header looping toward the upper 90 from Mason Mount’s free kick.

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Then came Willian’s free kick, but that was not the precursor to Chelsea glory. Antonio spotted Yarmolenko’s run with an incisive pass and the Ukrainian delivered the goods.