Andriy Yarmolenko’s last-gasp winner settled an eventful London derby with Chelsea and delivered a huge boost to our hopes of avoiding relegation.
In a topsy-turvy game, which saw us infuriated when Tomas Soucek’s first-half goal was ruled out by VAR, substitute Yarmolenko made the decisive contribution when the finished off a superb counter attack with a classic left-foot finish.
It looked like both sides would have to settle for a point but that late twist now provides a huge morale lift and puts us three points clear of the relegation places.
Moyes was angry when Soucek saw a first-half goal ruled out because Michail Antonio was adjudged to be offside and in Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s line of vision. Chelsea then took the lead through Willian’s penalty but we levelled through Soucek’s header right on the stroke of half-time.
Man-of-the-match Antonio bundled us in front six minutes after the interval but this eventful affair looked to be heading for a draw when Willian’s superb free-kick with 18 minutes left drew Chelsea level.
And yet, with injury-time looming, West Ham broke and the tireless Antonio set up Yarmolenko for a crisp finish that gave us what could be a priceless three points.
On the VAR decision: “At that moment I thought everything was going against us. The first goal is vital and when you lose it you think here we go again but great credit to the players, they kept at it and I thought we got the reward. The equaliser was deserved.”David Moyes
It’s worth highlighting the performance of Antonio is this clash as he really did step up to the plate at a time when David Moyes needed a big performance to turn around our fortunes in our battle to avoid the drop.
Antonio was a potent mix of skill and power, a central figure as he was controversially adjudged to be in Kepa’s eyeline when West Ham’s first goal was disallowed, then scoring their equaliser before leading the counter that led to Yarmolenko’s winner.
We needed a reaction after losing at home to Wolves and away to Spurs since the Premier League kicked into action again – and there was no better tonic for than a win over our rivals from west London.
With a visit to Newcastle United and a home game against Burnley on the horizon, with both teams in form, it was vital we gained full reward and Antonio was the driving force behind this vital victory.
On the winning goal: “We had to counter because they had pinned us right back. We were always waiting for a moment or a chance. We hoped luck would change for us, we felt it had not been with us in some games, we worked harder and deserved that luck. We need him (Antonio) so much. He led the line really well. You have to win a game people have not been expecting. I think it was a shock after we saw the performance of Chelsea at Manchester City. Chelsea played a lot of good football. We’ve done well but our football has to get better.”David Moyes