Norwich City 0 West Ham United 4
Saturday, 11th July 2020
by Chris Wilkerson
West Ham took a huge step towards safety after a dominant away victory over a very sorry Norwich City side.Michail Antonio was the star, the forward scoring all four goals as his side brushed the Canaries aside for their best win of the season, the 4-0 easily as much as they deserved.
It leaves David Moyes?EUR(TM) side six points clear of Bournemouth in 18th and feeling on the brink of safety, especially with such a comfortable distance in goal difference.
The result never really seemed to be in doubt, this Norwich side having their relegation confirmed on the back of display lacking in any confidence, motivation or fight.
There was a little discontent in the fanbase as lineups were announced, some unsure of a return to the starting eleven for the captain Mark Noble, the midfielder replacing wide-man Andriy Yarmolenko.
They were left to eat their words as Noble put in a fantastic performance, the Norwich midfield often allowing him far too much time and space to pick out a considered pass. With Bowen and Antonio both troubling the Norwich defence with their movement and energy, Noble always had options to get the forward line threatening goal.
West Ham started at a good tempo, looking like a team who knew what was on the line and what could be achieved against a side with only one Premier League goal and no points since the season?EUR(TM)s restart.
Soucek will feel disappointed not to have scored in the opening ten minutes, making one chance from an Antonio shot and then guiding it wide when beautifully set on the edge of the area moments later.
The first goal came after 12 minutes. After a beautiful Cresswell cross gave Antonio a chance that was well saved, a pair of corners troubled the hosts.
Whilst the first only led to another, the second was wonderfully worked.
Bowen curled in towards goal and Diop moved at the front post to flick it on softly. It fell right to Antonio, who stepped away from the goalline and volleyed in from three yards to give his side the lead.
Half chances for Bowen after combining with Antonio, as well as one wasted effort blazed wide in the area after a lovely Noble pass, gave West Ham confidence that they could score more.
Soucek had a fantastic volley saved not long before half time, but they only had to wait a few minutes more for the second goal and some breathing room.
A floaty Noble cross from a freekick on the left found the head of Antonio, who needed only to flick it on and down into the bottom corner. It was a simple and really easy goal, a sign of just how poor this Norwich team are playing.
2-0 at half time felt a luxury, but it was a well deserved. The second half was a walk in the park.
The tempo really dropped, Norwich seemingly giving up and West Ham just taking advantage without breaking much of a sweat. Even Masuaku made it onto the pitch.
It took ten minutes for Antonio to grab his first West Ham hat trick, West Ham first away league hat trick since a Tony Cottee trio in 1987.
Noble picked the ball up halfway into the West Ham half and again had all the time in the world to look forward and pick his spot.
Antonio made the run, kept onside by a lazy Norwich defender, and burst through the middle to run one-on-one with Krul. His first shot was saved, but the rebound flew up in the air and back to the forward, who nodded at goal then followed his effort in to make sure of a first Premier League hat trick.
The game slowed down, both sides either demotivated or content with what they had.
With 15 minutes remaining, Antonio finished it up, a slow and ponderous build eventually leading to a lovely slide-rule pass from Noble to get Fredericks in behind, the right back getting to the line then turning inside and pass straight to Antonio in the six yard box, the forward flicking it in and beyond Krul from a matter of metres to become only the ninth man in Premier League history to score four goals in a game away from home.
Antonio doubled his tally for the season, coming off the field as time ticked away having moved onto eight goals for the season in an injury-hit campaign. He may be 30, but if ever there was a performance to earn a new contract, this was surely it. It may have earned him Hammer of the Year too.
There were minutes for Wilshere, Yarmolenko, Masuaku, Haller and Balbuena as Moyes made all five changes, the game ending as softly as it had really been contested.
The six point gap to the bottom three looks big with games ticking away, especially with such a healthy goal difference.
It could be a job well done come Watford on Friday, a match where both teams will be looking to really finalise safety, Watford coming from behind to beat Newcastle and also move onto 34 points.
For Moyes, it may well be a match that sees him earning more time at the helm, David Sullivan surely the type to be swayed by a cavalier display on the way to what looks like safety for the Hammers.
That is a debate that may very well rage on for some time, but for today, the task at hand was managed quite perfectly.
This is what relief feels like.
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Player RatingsLukasz Fabianski
It feels almost harsh to score him low, but he was rarely threatened and it?EUR(TM)s a rating that shows just how easy this game was.
A good assist and a comfortable defensive display. Still seems to be holding back a little with attacking runs, but showed himself to be far better than what Norwich had to offer.
His first half crossing was scaring Norwich. A game like this shows that our full backs are above Championship standard, and would do very well if we were to go down.
Pukki got nothing from Issa, who did very well to deftly flick on the corner for Antonio?EUR(TM)s first. Easy game.
A nice workout for Angelo, who did his job and will be delighted to mark five years at the club with such a big win.
Showed off his passing range and had an easy time in midfield, where no Norwich player is on his level.
There are some games where Noble can show what he?EUR(TM)s about. With Norwich a shell of a Premier League team, Mark took advantage, finding space and time to pick out some great passes. Involved in three of the goals, two assists and the perfect pass for Fredericks on the last, making the skilful play look very easy.
Early on, he looked desperate to get forward and score. Then, as the game looked to be ours, Soucek dropped off and did good work deeper in midfield. Unlucky not to score with a great volley, could have had a couple on another day.
Quiet, maybe a game where his hustle and bustle was less necessary, such was the ease of it. Didn't need to be at his best, linking between midfield and attack, always busy and ready.
Good deliveries from corners are making him very important, whilst the understanding he is building with Antonio is great to see. However, he was a little wasteful with some chances on goal, which was no problem today but could have been.
What can you say about that? Two headed goals, all four goals in the area, taken like a real striker - even if the hat trick goal was a little lucky. It was probably the least he had to work as a striker, but the game he controlled with ease. The Norwich defence couldn?EUR(TM)t live with him. A quite unforgettable individual performance in a largely forgettable season; Antonio is keeping this side up.
(Replaced Noble) Not a lot to say about the subs, they were all barely stretched and all did much the same as each other.. Came on, kept the ball ticking over, saw out the game without incident.
(Replaced Antonio) Nice to get some more minutes in his legs.
(Replaced Fornals) Played left wing, which might be a sign of what Moyes thinks of him.
(Replaced Bowen) Played like a man who knew there was no challenge, doing tricks and trying things out.
(Replaced Ogbonna) Came on for a few minutes, saw the job over the line. Clean sheet.
Did not play.
Did not play. * Other unused subs: Manuel Lanzini, Albian Ajeti.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks, Aaron Cresswell, Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna, Declan Rice, Mark Noble, Tomas Soucek , Pablo Fornals, Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio.
Goals: Michail Antonio 12 Michail Antonio 45 Michail Antonio 54 Michail Antonio 74 .
Sent off: None.
Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Klose, Godfrey, Lewis, Tettey, Vrancic, Buendia (Rupp 70), Stiepermann (Cantwell 70), Hernandez (Martin 70), Pukki (Idah 70).
Subs not used: McGovern, Trybull, Drmic, McLean, Duda.
Sent off: None.
Referee: Kevin Friend.
Man of the Match: Michail Antonio.