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West Ham’s nightmare start to the season has continued as they lost 3-0 to Southampton at the London Stadium.
While the club’s move to the London 2012 Olympic stadium was supposed to dawn a bright new era for the Hammers, the reality has been anything but to-date, with another defeat at their new home making it three losses from five league and cup games there.
After Dmitri Payet’s 95th minute free-kick had given Slaven Bilic’s side a midweek victory over Accrington Stanley in the EFL Cup, hopes were high that the moment might have kickstarted their season.
However, the hosts produced another disjointed performance and were deservedly beaten by an impressive Saints display.
While a lot of the focus will be on the result which has left West Ham in 18th place with just three points and one win from their opening six Premier League games, huge credit must also go to the Saints whose has lifted them up to ninth in the table.
After grabbing four goals in his last three appearances, Southampton boss kept faith in Charlie Austin while dropping Shane Long to the bench and he was rewarded when Austin opened the scoring five minutes before the break when he sidefooted home a Ryan Bertrand cross from 12 yards.
The home side had created few chances of any note and they should have fallen further behind when Dusan Tadic should have buried the second after Cedric Soares had burst into the penalty area and found the Serb but his shot wasn’t clinical and allowed Adrian make a good save.
Tadic was not to be denied on 62 minutes though when Austin turned provider and Tadic collected his pass before rounding Adrian and shooting home into an empty net.
With Dmitri Payet moved into a more central role West Ham gradually began to create sustained pressure and the France international came close on 72 minutes when he jinked inside the box but his shot was blocked, substitute Sofiane Feghouli’s follow-up strike hit the arm of Ryan Bertrand but the referee decided not to point to the penalty spot.
Moments later Payet was presented with another chance which he may have done better with, the former Marseilles playmaker sidefooting wide from 18 yards.
The West Ham storm blew itself out however, and it was Southampton who looked the more dangerous in the final stages of the match, James Ward-Prowse getting their third deep in stoppage time when he fired into the corner of the net.
There weren’t enough fans remaining in the stadium to loudly boo their side off the pitch and the ones who remained wil be wondering why their side has begun the season so poorly.
It is Bilic who will have to resolve that problem but Southampton and Austin in particular won’t care as their own season looks like clicking into gear.
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