Arnautovic scores first goals since January in West Ham win
LONDON (AP) — Marko Arnautovic scored his first goals since January to lead West Ham to a 3-0 win over Southampton in the English Premier League on Saturday.
The Austrian forward, whose form had deserted him since a lucrative move to China failed to materialize during the transfer window, netted twice before Ryan Fredericks added the third at the Olympic Stadium.
It was West Ham’s biggest home win of the season in its final home game, and was achieved despite two of the team’s most influential players — Declan Rice and Felipe Anderson — being ill and unavailable.
Arnautovic put West Ham ahead in the 16th minute after Yan Valery gave the ball away with a loose pass in the center circle. Mark Noble gathered possession, charged forward and played the perfect through-ball to Arnautovic, who took a touch before drilling the ball left-footed past Fraser Forster.
It felt like a moment of redemption for the forward, who on occasions has been booed by the West Ham fans following his unseemly attempts to engineer a January move.
With Southampton having guaranteed its survival last week, Forster was brought out of the cold for a first appearance since Dec. 26, 2017.
The former Celtic goalkeeper got down well twice to keep out Michail Antonio efforts and also beat away a shot from Manuel Lanzini before halftime, before being beaten again in the 69th.
Forster could only palm Arthur Masuaku’s drilled cross into the body of Arnautovic, who scored with a simple header as the ball looped into the air.
Three minutes later, West Ham had its third when Fredericks combined with substitute Jack Wilshere to find an opening. He fired beyond Forster for his first Premier League goal.
Arnautovic almost completed a hat trick when he cut inside onto his right foot and curled the ball just wide.