Premier League round-up: Dismal return for Big Sam as West Ham rally
Meanwhile Sunderland slipped further into relegation mire as Hull picked up three points
West Ham United’s Andy Carroll scores a sensational overhead kick in their Premier League win over Crystal Palace. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters
West Ham 3 Crystal Palace 0
West Ham shrugged off Dimitri Payet’s absence as an Andy Carroll wonder-strike helped secure a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Payet this week rocked the Hammers by asking to leave the club and refused to play against the Eagles.
But Sofiane Feghouli’s first Premier League goal, Carroll’s stunning bicycle kick and a stylish late third from Manuel Lanzini ensured the France star was not missed.
Indeed, West Ham actually put in their finest display of the season while their so-called talisman kicked his heels elsewhere.
West Ham’s fans certainly made their feelings about their former favourite abundantly clear with a less complimentary take on their ‘We’ve got Payet’ terrace chant.
He may have been West Ham’s poster boy, but the club even stationed a steward in front of Payet’s image on the outer wall of the London Stadium to prevent it being vandalised.
Nevertheless joint-owner David Sullivan vowed he would not let the player leave this month in his programme notes.
West Ham needed a win to end a depressing week on a high as well as halt a run of three straight defeats, and they did just that against former boss Sam Allardyce, who is still without a victory since taking over at Palace last month.
The only downside was police having to help deal with a disturbance between rival fans during the match.
The hosts should have taken the lead in the 26th minute when Mark Noble scampered past Joel Ward down the right and pinged his cross towards Carroll.
Unfortunately for the powerful striker his fierce volley from 14 yards out fizzed inches over Wayne Hennessey’s crossbar.
Although Payet was absent, there was another mercurial Frenchman on the field and Yohan Cabaye almost marked his 31st birthday with a goal, only to see Darren Randolph keep out his fierce volley.
Moments later West Ham old boy James Tomkins came up with an awful miss from two yards out when he side-footed Andros Townsend’s free-kick across goal and wide.
It was the sort of clearance the defender would have been proud of had he still been in a claret and blue shirt, and it meant the sides went in level at the interval.
But West Ham kept knocking at the door after the break and were rewarded in the 68th minute when Michail Antonio rounded Hennessey and slipped the ball across goal for Feghouli to slide in.
Ten minutes later Antonio whipped in a cross from the left and Carroll launched himself into the air to lash home a special goal with his left foot.
Lanzini ensured it was a case of ‘Dimitri who?’ five minutes from time when he collected Antonio’s pass on the halfway line, raced clear and chipped Hennessey to wrap up a much-needed win.
Marko Arnautovic tore Sunderland to shreds as Stoke powered their way to their first win at the Stadium of Light.
The Austria international fired the Potters into a 2-0 lead with just 22 minutes gone and Peter Crouch added a third — his 50th for the club — on a bad afternoon for Black Cats keeper Vito Mannone to secure Premier League victory on Wearside for the first time since 1994.
Jermain Defoe pulled one back for the home side before half-time to spark an improved second-half display, but manager David Moyes could only look on helplessly as chants of “Are you watching, Ellis Short?” rang around the stadium amid a 3-1 Stoke victory.
Injuries — in particular to England Under-21s keeper Jordan Pickford — and African Nations Cup call-ups have severely depleted Moyes’ squad and with little cash available to strengthen this month, the outlook on Wearside appears bleaker than ever.
At the end of a week which saw Sunderland rebuff a bid from Crystal Palace for full-back Patrick van Aanholt days after having to fend off West Ham’s interest in Defoe, the Scot might have been relieved to be able top focus on football once again.
However, his best-laid plans were left in tatters inside 34 disastrous first-half minutes as Stoke capitalised on shambolic defending with Mannone particularly culpable.
The Italian managed to block Arnautovic’s initial 15th-minute shot with his foot, but could only return the ball to the Austrian, who gleefully thumped it into the roof of the net at the second time of asking.
Mannone was beaten for the second time seven minutes later, but this time he was left helpless as Arnautovic carved a swathe through the home defence with a little help from his friends.
The winger exchanged passes with first Xherdan Shaqiri and then Crouch before beating the keeper at his near post to make it 2-0, and worse was to follow.
Mannone, who had fumbled a Shaqiri shot on to the post seconds earlier, decided to come for Charlie Adam’s steepling 34th-minute cross, but appeared to think better of it halfway there and allowed the striker to climb above him and head into the empty net.
Sections of the home crowd voiced their frustration at owner Short’s running of the club, although the edge was taken off their anger five minutes before the break when Defoe ran on to Donald Love’s ball over the top to slot his 12th goal of the season past keeper Lee Grant.
Sunderland returned in much more positive mood and Grant had to produce a solid save to keep out Fabio Borini’s 47th-minute drive, although Adam curled a free-kick just wide at the other end two minutes later.
Arnautovic came within inches of completing a fine hat-trick when he ran on to Shaqiri’s superb pass and sent a shot just wide of the far post with Mannone beaten once again, but Jack Rodwell scuffed horribly wide after the ball had ricocheted to him inside the box with 61 minutes gone.
Both sides repeatedly surrendered possession cheaply as the game opened up, but Stoke coasted their way to the final whistle.
Abel Hernandez struck twice as Hull beat Bournemouth 3-1 to secure their first Premier League win since early November and climb off the foot of the table.
Uruguay international Hernandez scored in each half after Junior Stanislas’ early penalty had given Bournemouth the lead, while Tyrone Mings’ own goal in the second period gave Hull a two-goal cushion.
Hull registered their first top-flight win in 10 matches in head coach Marco Silva’s first league game in charge and exacted sweet revenge on Bournemouth, having been thrashed 6-1 by the visitors on the south coast in October.
Hull received clearance in time for new signings Oumar Niasse and Evandro to make their debuts off the bench in the second period, while Hernandez was making his first start since recently returning from a two-month lay-off due to hernia surgery.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, criticised by a section of Cherries fans for making 11 changes for last week’s FA Cup defeat at Millwall, made nine more in reverting back to his regular line-up and handed goalkeeper Artur Boruc his 100th Premier League appearance.
Hull, whose last league success had been a 2-1 home win against Southampton on November 6, made a wretched start, falling behind in the third minute to Stanislas’ penalty after Harry Maguire bundled over Ryan Fraser in the area.
Referee Martin Atkinson did not hesitate in pointing to the spot and Stanislas lashed his spot-kick into the roof of the net for his first goal since firing a brace in Bournemouth’s autumn thrashing of the Tigers.
Hull were lucky not to have fallen 2-0 down in the 22nd minute when Benik Afobe failed to capitalise after Michael Dawson misjudged the bounce of a ball over the top.
The home side had not had one effort at goal before Robert Snodgrass volleyed over from 30 yards just after the half-hour mark, but having played second fiddle they turned the game around with a 32nd-minute equaliser.
Andrew Robertson swung over a brilliant cross to the far post and Hernandez, also on target in last week’s FA Cup win against Swansea, headed home his first league goal since August.
Momentum quickly swung Hull’s way and they could have gone in at the break in front, but Ryan Mason’s shot was blocked by Ryan Fraser and Sam Clucas pulled his effort wide.
Five minutes into the second half though, the Tigers went ahead. Snodgrass fed Hernandez on the right edge of the area and the striker jinked inside before unleashing a thumping left-footed shot beyond Boruc and inside the far post.
Mason went close with a rising 25-yard effort as Hull continued to dominate and their enterprise was further rewarded in the 62nd minute when Tom Huddlestone’s shot from the edge of the area was inadvertently turned home by Mings.
Bournemouth gathered themselves and Jack Wilshere was denied twice in quick succession by Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic, who kept out shots from just inside the box, the second at full stretch.
Hull’s new Brazilian signing Evandro replaced Snodgrass to make his debut midway through the second half before Bournemouth right-back Adam Smith spurned another chance for the visitors after being played in by Wilshere.
Two-goal hero Hernandez was given a rousing send-off when replaced by Everton loanee Niasse in the closing stages as Hull held on for victory and kept their survival hopes alive.
Burnley 1 Southampton 0
Joey Barton announced his return to the Premier League with a 78th-minute winner as Burnley moved into the Premier League’s top half with a 1-0 victory over Southampton.
The 34-year-old agreed to rejoin the Clarets earlier this month following an ill-fated spell with Rangers and 601 days after his previous appearance in England’s top flight, when his QPR team were beaten 5-1 by Leicester, Barton came off the bench to place home a late free-kick.
Sean Dyche has taken a risk in reacquiring Barton, not least because he faces a possible Football Association ban for breaching betting regulations, but his popularity at Turf Moor has endured, and the admiration was reciprocated as the midfielder fist pumped in front of the crowd after netting.
Turf Moor had been the venue for each of Burnley’s previous seven top-flight wins this season and it was on their home form alone that they entered this contest with a chance to move into the top half.
Away from east Lancashire it has been a different story, with just a solitary point returned from their travels, and the 3-1 loss in this reverse fixture back in October had seen Saints rain in 34 shots at Tom Heaton’s goal.
The England international was less busy in the opening 45 minutes here, even if Southampton spent much of the half on top.
Dusan Tadic steered one attempt wide from the left-hand side of the box before lashing in a full volley from a similar region that Ben Mee had to clear on the back post.
Mee was an unlikely threat at the other end having headed a corner wide and fired another try off target from the edge of the area, but he was caught out in his defensive duties as Saints launched a 40th-minute counter.
Shane Long lost Mee down the right and his cross was met by the oncoming James Ward-Prowse, whose downward header was beaten away by Heaton. Tadic seized upon the loose ball and managed to pivot to shoot only for Michael Keane to hack away.
Saints’ problems surrounded their lack of an attacking spark and they came into this fixture with only Hull and Middlesbrough having scored fewer league goals this term.
Their 20th of the season might have arrived had Nathan Redmond tried to convert Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s left-wing cross with his left foot rather than tamely side-footing into the ground with his right from 15 yards out.
Steven Defour tested Fraser Forster from range while Long headed a Cedric Soares cross into the side netting, but it seemed if anyone was going to get a winner, it might be either of two substitutes — returning Burnley-born forward Jay Rodriguez, or the Clarets’ Barton.
The latter’s first act was to clear away inside his own box from Long as Virgil van Dijk’s header back across from a free-kick caused panic in the Clarets box.
Then, just five minutes after coming on, Barton was presented with a free-kick after Oriel Romeu fouled George Boyd. From around 25 yards away from Forster’s goal, Barton deceived the Saints stopper by planting the set piece low, around the wall and into the net.
Ryan Bertrand and Van Dijk were both denied equalisers by Heaton, who then made a terrific double save to thwart Rodriguez and Josh Sims, the latter somehow stopped when Heaton dove down to his left on the line.
However, it was Barton who would grab the headlines, as has so often been the case in his colourful career.
Watford 0 Middlesbrough 0
Watford were held to a goalless draw by Middlesbrough on an emotionally-charged afternoon at Vicarage Road following the recent death of Graham Taylor.
Taylor, the former Watford manager and chairman who is hailed by the club as the greatest manager in their history, died on Thursday following a suspected heart attack.
Watford paid a glowing tribute to their former manager throughout Saturday’s match with Taylor’s widow Rita among those to join in on a one-minute applause ahead of the Premier League clash.
She, along with a number of the home fans, had been reduced to tears as Taylor’s name echoed around all four corners of Vicarage Road. There was another applause in the 72nd minute. Taylor was 72 at the time of his sudden death.
Prior to the match, Watford fans gathered at the club’s ground to lay flowers, scarves and shirts, while both sets of players wore black armbands in tribute to the former England manager.
Supporters in the Rookery Stand, the one adjacent to the terrace renamed after Taylor in 2014, held aloft gold and black placards which spelt out “GT” accompanied with a red heart.
A montage of Taylor’s best moments in charge of Watford — during which he took them from the Fourth Division to the top flight, and their first and only FA Cup final — were also played on the big screen before the start of match.
The glorious footage was a long way from the tepid affair witnessed between two teams struggling for form, and results, in the wrong half of the Premier League table.
Heading into the fixture, Watford had lost four of their last five league matches in the league while Boro were winless from their last three.
Watford had the better of the match, but spurned a number of good chances. In the opening period, Etienne Capoue was guilty of failing to test Victor Valdes after he charged down a Middlesbrough clearance with nine minutes gone. Abdoulaye Doucoure’s half volley on the edge of the box was parried away by Valdes.
After the interval Stefano Okaka’s header from Capoue’s set piece was well held by Valdes before Heurelho Gomes was called into action for the first time after he saved from Fabio Da Silva. It proved to be his final contribution when he limped off shortly after the hour mark with a back problem.
Capoue’s effort shaved Valdes’ post before Doucoure then headed wide from Christian Kabasale’s cross. Okaka was booked for diving by referee Jon Moss as he appealed for a penalty.
Tom Cleverley made his second debut for the club after the midfielder, on loan from Everton, replaced Valon Behrami with 14 minutes remaining, and he almost had an immediate effect.
The former Manchester United midfielder pounced on a loose clearance in the Boro box, but his effort came back off the post. Capoue blazed the follow-up over Valdes’ bar.
Captain Troy Deeney then had the chance to win the match in the closing minutes but his effort trickled agonisingly wide of Valdes’ post.
That would be as good as it got for the Hornets as a chorus of boos greeted the final whistle.