Sebastien Haller's strike saw West Ham bag a tight 1-0 win over Southampton to ease some of the pressure on under-fire manager Manuel Pellegrini.
A poor run of results, barring a win at Chelsea, had seen Pellegrini as the favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave, but his side dug in a played hard for their manager to grind out a promising result.
Haller finished off the only real moment of quality in a hectic first half high in energy but low in technical excellence, as both sides looked a bit low on confidence and did not want to hold onto the ball for long enough to carve out any real opportunities.
The excellent Michail Antonio looked to have doubled the lead in the second half with a bulldozing run and emphatic finish, only for the goal to be rightly ruled out for a slight handball by the West Ham man in the build-up.
Danny Ings was denied by the crossbar and the post in quick succession as he set about on a one-man mission to drag Southampton back into the game.
Shane Long should have done better to the follow-up to the strike hitting the bar, before Ings then fired a low drive against the base of the right-hand upright as Southampton sensed they could take something from the game.
The flag was raised on Ings but replays showed he was well on side and the goal would have stood if a VAR review was used if Ings had found the back of the net.
The luckless Ings then lashed a stunning strike into the top corner, only to discover the whistle had already gone for a foul by Moussa Djenepo.
It was all Southampton in the closing stages as midfielder Pierre Hojbjerg put an effort wide, but West Ham managed to hold on.
The Hammers moved up into 15th and four points above the drop zone, where Southampton currently reside in the third relegation spot after back-to-back defeats.
Southampton 0-1 West Ham United Opta stats
- West Ham have won more Premier League games against Southampton than they have vs any other side (17), while only at Fulham (7) have they won more away games in the competition than against Saints (5).
- Southampton have conceded at least once in their last 14 Premier League home games, the longest run without a home clean sheet in the competition since Crystal Palace went 15 in May 2015.
- West Ham have won a league-high 63% of their Premier League points this season in away games (12/19).
- After having the first shot on target in this match after 13 minutes, Southampton didn’t muster another effort on target until the 90th minute of this match.
- West Ham’s Sébastien Haller scored his first goal in the Premier League since netting against Crystal Palace in October, ending a run of 636 minutes without scoring in the top-flight.
- West Ham’s Pablo Fornals has provided three assists in his last four Premier League games – as many as he had in his previous 48 appearances in the top five European leagues.
- West Ham have kept six clean sheets in 28 games away from home in the Premier League since the start of last season. Despite starting just 11% of these games (3), goalkeeper David Martin has kept 33% of those clean sheets (2).
- Of all permanent West Ham managers in the Premier League, only Alan Curbishley (37.1%) has a higher win ratio than Manuel Pellegrini (36.4%, won 20/55).
Southampton 0-1 West Ham - As it happened
🙌 FT Southampton 0-1 West Ham
Relief all round for Manuel Pellegrini as West Ham grab a welcome win to ease some of the huge pressure on the Hammers boss, still some worries at Southampton for Ralph Hasenhuttl after a mini-revivial has been crushed with back-to-back defeats.
🚑 90+1 Keeper down
West Hamkeeper David Martin is booked for time wasting, then goes down injured when he eventually boots the ball away. He's able to continue after brief treatment, surprise surprise.
👼87' Ings again!
He's everywhere! In the box this time trying to make something happen, and it ends with anotjher ball flashed across the face of the West Ham goal.
💥85' Ings shot
The former Liverpool is almost single-handedly trying to drag Southampton back into this game but he can't quite find a way.
⚒ 82' Hammers chance
Yarmelenko has a chance to settle it but stabs the ball over the bar, they're handy on the break but looking like they might need that second to kill the game off.
🙆♂️ 77' Ings goal ruled out
Danny Ings is trying everything! He's just curled in a wonderful 20-yarder but referee Martin Atkinson has pulled it back for a foul - hard to see why on the replay and very harsh if it's on Ings himself who won the ball pretty cleanly.
👼 73' Hit the post!
Ings again hits the woodwork, this time the post with a low shot after breaking free. he was flagged offside but he's miles on and, if it would have gone in, the goal would've been awarded - same as Jonjo Shelvey's effort at Sheffield United.
💥 69' Hit the bar!
Danny Ings comes mightly close to continuing his goalscoring run as he smacks the cross bar with a thunderous left-footed volley that came back off the woodwork. Long should've done better with the rebound even though it was at an awkward height.
⚒ 65' Hammers on the break
Southampton starting to creep further forward now and just a few more spaces opening up at the back, which is expecially dangerous with Antonio around.
🏃♀️💨 60' Antonio on fire
He's playing like a man possessed here as he takes the ball on half way, leathers it forward and speeds beyond Cedric to get on the end of it to put a cross in. Antonio has been the stand-out in this game by a mile.
👋 54' GOAL - NO GOAL!
Antonio bulldozer's his way through the middle and almost bursts the net with a thunderous finish, but the goal is quckly ruled out by VAR as the ball came off his hand in the buld up. It's only a slight touch but these days it's clearly not a goal - and good use of the technology this time with the big screen showing the replay for the crowd. It's tough after such hard work but rightly chalked off.
👼 50' Chance
More urgency from Saints with Long making some lung-busting runs in behind, one results in a dangerous cross that James Ward-Prowse headers at goal. You'd probably want someone a bit bigger and more used to heading than him in there.
⚡ 46' Save!
It's a stinging shot from Haller on the half volley but luckily for McCarthy it's close enough for him to palm it away for a corner. His hands will know about that though on this cold evening just after the break.
🔁 Second half
Saints have made a change, with Hasenhuttl bring off Redmond and bringing Romeu on in his place.
HT - Southampton 0-1 West Ham
Just the one goal, from the one real moment of quality in the game, with plenty of effort from both sides but little by the way of quality. There's a definite sense that it could get really hectic in the second half at least so worth hanging around for that!
👼 42' Header wide
Hojbjerg wastes a decent chance for Southampton as he plants a header well wide - they had a man over then and if the ball had gone deeper they'd have been in.
⚒ 40' Almost two!
West Ham almost double their lead immediately with yet again Antonio causing carnage, but there's an offside in there somewhere anyway. Saints need to settle.
📽 Haller opener
⚽ GOAL! Southampton 0-1 West Ham (Haller 37')
It's a Christmas miracle! Sebastien Haller scores his first goal for two months after what almost resembled a good flowing move. Antonio again the catalyst as he powers down the right, cuts it back for a cross and there's a back-post knockdown for Haller to fire a bobbler into the far corner.
🤦♂️ 35' Scrappy
It's a bit of an insult to a scrappy game to label this as such. There is plenty of effort so you can't fauly the players on that, but there's just no cohesion or confidence around either side. Nobody wants to get on the ball, slow things down and try and play from there, it's 100mph at the moment.
📲 Caption competition
Plenty of good answers coming in for this...As Manuel Pellegrini just checks what time the Strictly final is on.
⚒ 27' Corner
West Ham forcing the issue now, with Antonio a constant menace as his mere presence in the box forces Saints to give away a corner.
📺 25' VAR - pen?
Four players fall down in the box, two from each team, and we're looking for a penalty - pick the bones out of that? No penalty is given, unsurprisingly.
📷 Highlights so far...
It can only get better...
👋 17' Handball
Great chance wasted by West Ham as Michael Antonio looked to get in behind in a decent bit of space, but his control lets him down and the ball bobles up onto his hand.
👼 13' Long header
It's a looping, tame-looking effort but David Martin seems to boble it slightly in his hands, there's even a hint of it touching the crossbar but the keeper had it (mostly) all in hand.
👼 10' Saints response
Southampton are well in this game though, and they get a corner of their own a few minutes later. Nothing comes from either though and they'll have to up their delivery if either side wants to force some chances.
⚒ 7' Corner
West Ham force a corner as they look to threaten down the left, pretty even star to this game and a decent atmosphere on the south coast.
⚽ 2' GOAL-NO!
Declan Rice heads West ham ahead - except he doesn;t as he's offside from the free kick in the first place. Heart-in-mouths early for Saints.
Here we go, big game for both of these at St Mary's could be a bit nervy.
⚒ Team news West Ham
Depending on the result, this could well be Pellegrini's last teamsheet as West Ham boss.
📽 Martin's heroics
Who can forget David Martin's epic debut at Chelsea...
👼 Team news: Saints unchanged
Ralph Hasenhuttl goes for the same 11 that lost at Newcastle last time out.
📝 The stats
Two under pressure managers meet here desperate for points. In Sky Bet's next manager to leave market, Pellegrini is the odds-on favourite and it is, at the time of writing, a surprise to see him still in a job.
There has reportedly been talks about his position this week and their run of one win in their last 11 in all competitions has been dreadful. That win at Chelsea bought the Chilean time but now it appears to be a fluke rather than a reflection of the work being done by Pellegrini.
Hasenhuttl is the next in the list at 9/1 and the Saints were denied a point late on at Newcastle last week. Surely they will win this one at home.
While West Ham's record signing Sebastian Haller struggles in front of goal, Danny Ings is in red-hot form having scored in five successive games. The 11/8 available on him to score against a dodgy Hammers defence is not bad at all.
But due to both sides' unpredictability, there is not too much else that stands out here other than backing the hosts to win and under 3.5 total goals at 2/1. The Saints should win, but it is not one that fills you with confidence.
Prediction: Southampton 2-1 West Ham (Sky Bet odds: 8/1)
📊 Southampton v West Ham stats
- West Ham haven’t opened the scoring in any of their last 15 Premier League visits to Southampton, since a 1-1 draw in March 1995. Despite that, they’ve ended on the losing side in under half of those games (W3 D5 L7).
- After a run of eight successive home games without a win (D3 L5), Southampton have won their last two at home in the Premier League. They last won three consecutively at St Mary’s in the competition in May 2016 (a run of four).
- Southampton’s last 13 Premier League goals have been scored by English players – excluding own goals, the last team to have a longer run of English goalscorers in the competition was Swansea City between October 2011-January 2012 (14).
- Southampton’s Danny Ings has already scored in five Premier League defeats this season – the only Saint to score in more defeats in a single campaign in the competition was Matt Le Tissier in 1992-93 (7).
- West Ham have lost just one of their seven Premier League games with Lukasz Fabianski starting in goal this season (W3 D3), and have lost seven of nine when the Polish stopper hasn’t started (W1 D1).
Welcome to our live coverage of the game at St Mary's, and it's another big one for both of these sides. Southampton could just be turning a corner, albeit slowly, but manuel Pellegrini finds himself in all kinds of pressure as West Ham continue to disappoint.