Lanzini And Arnautovic Put Huddersfield To The Sword As West Ham Romp To A 4-1 Win
West Ham United’s Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini combined to put Huddersfield Town to the sword with a second half display of prolific, inventive, and entertaining attacking play.
The pair had experienced a quiet and indifferent first half, but lit up a packed John Smith’s Stadium in the latter period with some great link up play and quality finishing as West Ham cruised to a 4-1 win.
Austrian maverick Arnautovic appears to have finally found someone on his wavelength, with his fifth goal in his last five Premier League games only telling half the story of his performance here.
The former Stoke City man went on to set up two goals for his strike partner, as David Moyes’ unlikely but effective attacking duo ran a game, the result of which will see their side leapfrog their opponents in the table.
The match began as a tactical battle befitting the Premier League's second tier, or third, if Manchester City are to be considered out on their own.
David Wagner had his wingers, Tom Ince and Rajiv van La Parra dropping into midfield in an attempt to flummox the wing-backs in Moyes' back five. This created a busy midfield area which made progress up the pitch tough, and space difficult to find.
Periods of possession and build-up play from both sides were regularly interrupted when they reached the attacking third where they were unable to maintain control. At this stage in proceedings Lanzini and Arnautovic looked lively on receiving possession, but were met by opposition traffic when it came to trying to do anything with it.
The hosts were left light up front as Ince and Val La Parra dropped deep, and it was often left to full backs Tommy Smith and Scott Malone to join Laurent Depoitre in the front line.
Attacking midfielder Joe Lolley was influential at both ends of the pitch for the Terriers, but he would no doubt rather forget his first key involvement of the game.
Dropping deep to receive the ball from goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, further crowding the midfield, he had his pocket picked by Mark Noble who then steered the ball inside the German goalkeeper’s near post in front of the travelling support.
It took this mistake to lift the fixture out from its unproductive period of cat and mouse, and Wagner’s team began to play more like a side with home advantage.
Crosses from Ince and Van La Parra, both from the left, narrowly missed their targets in the box, but Huddersfield eventually found their goal when Aaron Mooy fed Lolley on the right. The 25-year-old shuffled inside onto his left foot and curled the ball inside the far post past outstretched West Ham goalkeeper Adrian.
The fans in the John Smith’s Stadium had barely taken their seats when their team went behind again. Just two passes into the second half, Arnautovic was flicking the ball over the head of Tommy Smith and volleying past Lossl. The goal was greeted with celebrations and pleasant surprise by the visiting supporters, but most of the ground fell silent.
Lanzini and Arnautovic had the chance to link up again but the Argentine’s weak attempt at a rabona from the edge of the area left his team-mate frustrated. This would be the last time the pair would be on a different wavelength as they went on to end Huddersfield's hopes of getting anything from the game.
Arnautovic twice set up chances for his partner in crime and the No 10, Lanzini, who has recently been touted as the player to replace Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool, finished both with great poise and technique, putting his failed rabona behind him and opting for more orthodox and effective finishes.
One positive for Huddersfield late in the game was the promising display from Alex Pritchard. The new signing from Norwich looked to get himself involved whenever possible, and tested Adrian with a free kick which deflected off the wall on its way through but the goalkeeper reacted well.
Arnautovic ambled off the pitch with ten minutes remaining to be replaced by Andre Ayew, disappointed that he was no longer able to influence the action on the pitch, but no doubt happy with his contribution which was acknowledged by the Hammers’ fans as he trudged off. Lanzini was replaced by Declan Rice shortly after to similar acclaim, as he was reunited with his teammate on the bench where they were congratulated for their outstanding performances.
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