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Dominant Hammers nail hapless Burnley

MAIN MAN: Felipe Anderson

THERE WERE moments when it seemed West Ham would not get the result their dominance hinted at delivering, but by the end the scoreline that accompanied their victory was emphatic.

Twice Burnley cancelled out West Ham leads and came within minutes of wrestling a point from a contest where they were second-best throughout. That hope faded when Felipe Anderson’s deflected effort made it 3-2 and disappeared entirely when substitute Javier Hernandez made it four late on.

The win - West Ham’s first in the Premier League since September - ended a run of four matches without success and eased some of the misgivings that continue to swirl around the club. The jubilant scenes at the conclusion could not have been in starker contrast to last season’s corresponding fixture, where disgruntled home fans invaded the pitch and launched an impromptu protest in front of the directors’ box as West Ham went down 3-0.

That March afternoon saw Burnley claim another valuable victory on their way to a seventh-place finish. Sean Dyche’s hopes for this term are decidedly more modest, and the Clarets’ own winless run stretches back to September and relegation is perhaps an even bigger fear for them than it is for West Ham given their limited options, particularly in forward areas.

What would Dyche give for a forward of Marko Arnautovic’s ability. The Austrian was excellent throughout and readily pounced on a tenth-minute error from James Tarkowski.

It had been far from certain that Arnautovic would be part of the matchday squad let alone start. If he has been ill this week then his ailment certainly has not dulled his senses. He still had the advancing Joe Hart to beat but made no mistake in slipping the ball past his former West Ham teammate. The goal scorer, mindful that Tarkowski had clattered him just minutes earlier, relished celebrating in front of the erring defender.

West Ham were in control and should have been several goals to the good when Burnley claimed their first equaliser. Ashley Westwood controlled a loose ball in midfield and threaded it through to Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who had the simple task of rolling the ball beyond Lukasz Fabianski.

If Manuel Pellegrini’s side felt any injustice they channelled it into restoring their lead. Felipe Anderson, who had his best game in a West Ham shirt, slotted the ball through Hart’s legs to crown a neat team move with 68 minutes on the clock.

No side has surrendered more points from winning positions in this season’s Premier League than West Ham and when Chris Wood rose to head home substitute Robbie Brady’s corner it looked as if Burnley would rescue a point.

West Ham, however, were having none of that as they continued to pour numbers forward in search of all three points, with Hernandez replacing Pedro Obiang.

On 84 minutes an Arnautovic effort deflected into the path of Anderson, who saw his own shot cannon in off Ben Mee. It was harsh on the defender, who had made a superb goal line clearance in the first half, but the visitors had been warned; Anderson struck a post just moments earlier.

Fans were already slipping away into the east London evening when Hernandez made matters safe in stoppage-time.

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