West Ham have given themselves the chance to finish the season on a real positive note after they inflicted defeat on their fierce London rivals Tottenham.
Michail Antonio was the West Ham hero who condemned Mauricio Pochettino’s side to their first loss at their new stadium to give the Hammers some much-needed momentum heading into Saturday’s clash against Southampton.
As for the Saints, Shane Long is the man spearheading his team’s quest to end the campaign strongly after scoring once again last weekend.
With that in mind, how do the West Ham and Southampton players match-up ahead of the penultimate round of Premier League fixtures?
Not the most technical of players, it was difficult to see where Antonio was going to play under Manuel Pellegrini, especially after the signings of Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko.
However, after a string of injuries, the 29-year-old got his chance and never really looked back.
Be it up front or out wide, Antonio has rarely let Pellegrini down when called upon by the Chilean.
Ultimately, that versatility and his ability to pop up with a goal, has made the former Nottingham Forest man a very useful asset to have.
When you factor in his work rate as well, Antonio is a player every manager would want in his squad.
TT Grade: B-
Long has been in excellent form in recent weeks, finding himself among the goals to win plaudits from his manager.
“I think he has a little bit the image that he doesn’t score so much but in the last four games three goals. It’s amazing and an amazing performance he shows in the moment,” Ralph Hasenhuttl told the Daily Echo after a recent 1-1 draw versus Watford. “I am absolutely happy with him.”
That draw was, of course, the game where Long was able to score the fastest goal in Premier League history, with the 32-year-old showing the kind of efficiency on the night that Southampton supporters have not seen enough of.
Prior to this good run in front of goal, Long had really struggled when it came to finding the back of the net.
In his last two seasons combined, the Republic of Ireland international had only managed to score five goals, a tally he has now equalled this term to really put those previous struggles into perspective.
TT Grade: C-
Considering his current form, it would not be a surprise to see Long fire Southampton to victory against West Ham.
But with that form quite possibly being just a purple patch, Antonio still looks the more reliable player here.
Though both are capable of playing in multiple positions, Antonio is the one who brings more to the table and actually has some consistency to his game.
West Ham and Southampton fans, who wins this battle? Join the discussion by commenting below.
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