Norwich City's relegation from the Premier League was confirmed on Saturday as they fell to a miserable 4-0 defeat to West Ham, with Michail Antonio scoring all four.
It was the away side who started the brighter of the two, with Antonio forcing Tim Krul into an early save. And they made their dominance count on 11 minutes as Antonio fired home from close range following a corner.
The Canaries grew into the contest, but the Hammers almost doubled their lead through Jarrod Bowen just after the half hour mark. David Moyes' men did make it 2-0 just before half time, with Antonio grabbing his second of the game with a wonderful header.
The second half saw West Ham continue to assert their dominance on the contest, and Antonio grabbed his hat-trick with a delicate header after Krul saved his initial effort. The striker went on to inflict yet more pain on Norwich as he made it 4-0 with a deft flick on 74 minutes.
Key Talking Point
It was the same old story again for Norwich. The build up play was actually promising at points, with the midfielders looking to break the lines and link up with the forwards and supply them. However, the final end product simply wasn't good enough.
The final pass or shot was wasteful and this eased any kind of pressure on the West Ham defence. As for the defence, well, the same problems persisted, with the Hammers' attackers easily finding space time and time again, allowing them to dominate the game. There was a lack of hunger and desire to win the ball back - instead they would simply back off and let West Ham play their football.
It has looked likely for a while that Norwich would be going down, but Saturday's game was a chance to delay it. And if they were to lose on Saturday, Daniel Farke will at least have wanted to see them put up a fight - but this wasn't the case.
Surely Norwich can go down wit some sort of pride ??♂️ #NORWHU— Diced Pineapple (@ThomasBlazin) July 11, 2020
You could park a bus between each of Norwich’ back four. Embarrassing defending #NORWHU— Chris Scott (@christtocs) July 11, 2020
Starting XI: Krul (5); Aarons (4), Godfrey (3), Klose (3), Lewis (4); Vrancic (3), Tettey (3); Buendía (6), Stiepermann (4), Hernández (4); Pukki (3).
Substitutes: Cantwell (4), Martin (4), Idah (5), Rupp (4)
Norwich's Best Player - Emiliano Buendia
No Norwich player was really worthy of the star player award, but at least Emiliano Buendia actually looked fairly dangerous when he was on the ball. He struggled to really ever get into the game as his side were unable to retain possession for long, but when he did receive the ball, he looked to make things happen.
He's a very talented player who doesn't deserve to play Championship football next season, and a number of Premier League sides should be considering making a move.
Key Talking Point
The clash with Norwich represented a very big opportunity for West Ham and Moyes to take a major stride away from the relegation zone - moving six points clear with three more for them to play.
The win was there for the taking, but it was up to the Hammers' players to show the right attitude to go and get the vital three points. And this is exactly what they did.
From the off, they settled straight into their rhythm and it was clear to see the importance of Saturday's game to them.
The movement of the midfielders and attackers was particularly impressive, and the Norwich defence weren't sure how to deal with them. The result could - and perhaps should - have been much more favourable, and that highlights just how dominant they were.
It was a very impressive victory and a very important one, as well.
Westham and Antonio have taken this Game by storm. David Moyes badly wants to stay in the PL.#NORWHU— Guru Mwafriqa™ ⚪ (@ItsDanson) July 11, 2020
Starting XI: Fabianksi (6); Frdericks (7), Diop (6), Ogbonna (7), Cresswell (7); Rice (7), Noble (7), Soucek (8); Bowen (7), Fornals (7), Antonio (10*).
Substitutes: Wilshere (6), Haller (6), Yarmolenko (6), Masuaku (6)
Star Player - Michail Antonio
What a performance from Michail Antonio.
It doesn't matter where Moyes plays him, he works tirelessly to force his opponents into mistakes when out of possession, while also producing quality on the ball.
Operating as the central striker, Antonio picked up clever positions throughout the game, while his hold up play was also exceptional. It was the complete centre forward's performance and the four (yes, FOUR) goals reaffirm just that.
Oh, it was also his first career hat-trick!
Norwich will be spending next season in the Championship, but have a campaign to finish. They travel to take on Chelsea on Tuesday before hosting Burnley on Saturday.
West Ham, meanwhile, face another key battle at the bottom of the table as they host Watford on Friday, before travelling to take on Manchester United the following Wednesday.
Source : 90min