West Ham 0-3 Southampton: Slaven Bilic's Side Suffers Fifth Defeat In Six Games

Charlie Austin
Charlie Austin of Southampton at London Stadium, London, September 25. Austin opened the scoring for Southampton. Mike Hewitt/Getty

There was to be no fighting in the stands at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon. But there was equally none within the men who wore the claret and blue shirts on the pitch.

Rattling nerves and ill-confidence ravaged through Slaven Bilic's side from start to finish in an 0-3 loss to Southampton as West Ham continue to struggle to make the transition to its new home.

Dusan Tadic, Southampton's most creative cog, ran the show, playing a part in each of Saint's three goals to condemn West Ham to a fifth defeat in six games. After a shaky start to the season for the visitors, this marked a fourth consecutive win for Claude Puel's side.

Southampton had invited pressure from the opening whistle, however. A clear game plan from Puel's team was being executed, as the Saints refused to commit too many players forward, remaining compact and disciplined.

A narrow formation allowed West Ham to raid down the left with Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini and the makeshift left-back Alvaro Arbeloa, playing in the Premier League for the first time since he left Liverpool in 2009.

But the hosts failed to capitalize. Italian striker Simone Zaza, on loan from Juventus, came closest inside two minutes as a long ball from compatriot Angelo Ogbonna was chested down but his shot was dragged wide of Fraser Forster's goal.

Zaza was also involved in a penalty shout after quarter of an hour, when Michail Antonio nodded down to the Italian. Zaza touched the ball forward with his studs before being challenged by Cedric to his left and Jose Fonte to the right. Referee Jonathan Moss waved away the appeals.

Part of the issue with West Ham's move to the London Stadium has been a lack of atmosphere. This continued in the opening 45 minutes, but there was little to inspire the home fans.

There was no need to wait for Puel and Southampton. The Saints was too thoughtful in possession, unwilling to send men forward. Their greatest outlet came from the left, with Ryan Bertrand linking up and overlapping with Tadic.

The warnings signs were there, and, with five minutes to go in the first-half, the hosts were punished. With Bertrand racing into the penalty area, Tadic slipped the ball into the path of the former Chelsea full-back. Full of composure, Bertrand cut the ball back to Charlie Austin who swept the ball into the far corner for his fourth goal in fifth goal in seven games for the Saints.

Bilic would need to use the 15 minute interval wisely if he were to prevent his team falling to a fifth defeat in six games. This, however, appeared to require a psychologist, such was the depths of West Ham's confidence.

Instead, it was more of the same. Cedric, raiding down the right, pulled back to Tadic eight minutes into the second half. The Serbian's shot was struck straight at Adrian.

West Ham's only lively spell of the game came midway through the second half. Zaza went down in the penalty area after a challenge from Virgil van Dijk. He demanded a penalty from Moss but would receive only a yellow card for simulation. Replays showed the Italian to have thrown himself with as much force as Greg Rutherford did in this stadium four years prior. "We love you Zaza, we do," sang the away supporters.

Three minutes later, the Saints were singing again. Labored in possession, Cheikhou Kouyate had the ball nicked by Steven Davis. In stark contrast, Davis zipped the ball into Austin, who equally played a first time ball through to Tadic, unmarked in the middle. He slipped it past Adrian and the London Stadium fell into an eery silence but for the visiting fans.

Southampton could have added more. Davis came close twice but sent both shots straight at the goalkeeper. West Ham came closest to scoring through Payet, when the Frenchman, who had been largely quiet throughout the afternoon, weaved into the penalty area but had his shot blocked by Van Dijk. The follow up from substitute Sofiane Feghouli struck the forearm of Bertrand but Moss waved away appeals for a penalty.

James Ward-Prowse added a third for Southampton in injury time, slotting into an empty net.

"You should have stayed at the Boleyn," the visiting fans sung. They will, eventually, be proved wrong, but West Ham is struggle to shake the homesickness.