All week there has been speculation that Roberto Mancini was waiting in the wings for Slaven Bilic’s job.
Bilic rubbished reports pre-match and his Hammers then showed great character after the midweek mauling by Man City.
After four draws and three defeats previously at St Mary’s, history looked like repeating itself when Manolo Gabbiandini scored a stunning – albeit offside – 12th-minute opener.
Instead of dropping their heads and producing another performance like midweek, the complete opposite happened. Within two minutes, a lovely weighed defence-splitting pass from Pedro Obiang found then in-form Andy Carroll to make it 1-1.
Obiang then got himself on the scoresheet in injury time of the first half as West Ham went in 2-1 up at the break.
A free kick early in the second half from captain Mark Noble flew past every Saints player on the pitch including the nervy Fraser Forster in goal. Southampton from here on dominated possession as expected, but West Ham dug deep and held on for the three points.
The result saw West Ham climb to ninth place, into the top half for the first time this season.
Here are my player ratings:
Darren Randolph – 7
Made a couple of great saves during the game, yet again proving Bilic is right to pick him over Adrian.
Jose Fonte – 6
An emotional day for the former Saints captain, who played well in only his second start for West Ham. Looks a good bit of January business.
Winston Reid – 6
Solid all season and another sound game. Judged the pace of the Saints attacking players well. Brilliant in the air, as ever. Booked for a forceful challenge.
Aaron Cresswell – 7
After his performance against City he needed a good game. Playing in his preferred wing-back position he got up and down the left well. Booked for time wasting.
Cheikhou Kouyate – 5
Chucked in at right wing-back. Only back from African Cup of Nations duty this week. Took a knock early in the first half but in true Kouyate style ran it off. Did look fatigued in the second half and was subbed off.
Mark Noble (c) – 7
Many West Ham fans feel the club captain has had his day. Today, however, he played superbly. His passing looked a lot better than in previous games and he got stuck in, as well as getting himself on the scoresheet.
Pedro Obiang (MOTM) – 9
Fantastic assist for the equaliser. Got his first goal for the club with a 30-yard strike. Was everywhere on the pitch. Improves every time I see him play.
Pedro Obiang vs Southampton:
Man of the Match. pic.twitter.com/scAz4AzU21
— West Ham Central (@WestHam_Central) February 5, 2017
Sofiane Feghouli – 6
Had a quiet game again but this is still his first year in English football. Looks positive with his runs but gives away the ball far to often. Subbed off in injury time.
Robert Snodgrass – 7
The Scottish international made his first start for the Hammers and ran his socks off, chasing every ball. Played some beautifully-weighted balls towards the attackers. Fouled on edge of box which led to Noble’s goal. Impressive display overall.
Michail Antonio – 7
Free role up top. Linked up well with Carroll. Drifted out wide and tracked back when needed. Looked dangerous running at the Southampton defence.
Andy Carroll – 7
Another start, another goal for the big man. He took it wonderfully too. Bullied the Saints defence, who must have been relieved when his shirt number was shown by the fourth official in the 56th minute. No injury concern, was just withdraw as a precaution.
Andy Carroll has 20 Premier League goals in his last 33 starts.
Amazing form ? pic.twitter.com/VVf2EfGnkK
— West Ham News (@WHUFC_News) February 4, 2017
Manuel Lanzini (sub on 56 mins) – 5
Left on the bench as he was suffering with a virus midweek. Kept the ball well when he came on.
James Collins (sub on 71 mins) – 5
Ginger Pele came on for the tired Kouyate and got his body in the way well. Was strong in the air as always.
Jonathan Calleri (sub on 90+1 mins) – n/a
The young loanee came on with seconds to go as a time-wasting tactic.