REUTERS - West Ham United continued their Premier League resurgence under new manager David Moyes with a 3-0 victory at Stoke City to move clear of the relegation places on Saturday, with Marko Arnautovic scoring against his old club.
The kickoff was delayed because of a power outage at the bet365 Stadium, and it was West Ham who switched on quicker and took the lead with Mark Noble’s penalty.
West Ham defended solidly thereafter and Arnautovic, who joined the London club in the summer, wrapped up the points in the 76th minute having twice been denied by the woodwork.
Diafra Sakho gave the scoreline a slightly flattering look with a third goal for the visitors in the 87th minute.
Stoke have managed only one win in eight games and their recent luck was summed up within the space of a minute in the first half.
Skipper Ryan Shawcross headed against the post from Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross and West Ham then broke with Manuel Lanzini drawing a foul in the box from Erik Pieters.
It appeared to be a harsh decision and Stoke boss Mark Hughes accused Lanzini of diving. Even Moyes felt the decision was dubious but Noble made no mistake from the spot, shortly before his 300th appearance was curtailed by injury.
“The defender gave the referee a decision to make. Manuel Lanzini ran about 70 yards so I think he went over with fatigue rather than a dive,” Moyes said. “I’d be disappointed to give away a penalty like that but sometimes that’s the way it goes.”
Stoke huffed and puffed but West Ham always looked likely to score again and Austria international Arnautovic, booed all game by the Stoke fans, combined with Lanzini in the 75th minute to score from close range.
With seven points from their last three games under Moyes, West Ham moved up to 15th with 17 points, above Stoke who are now only one point above the bottom three having conceded nine goals in three games.
“We’re in this position. Maybe we’ve got some clarity now. We’re better than what we’re doing at the moment. We need to get ourselves out of our situation,” Hughes said.
“I don’t want to be in a relegation battle. We need to recognise that and do something about it.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Clare Fallon