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West Ham ran out easy 3-1 winners against Cardiff on Tuesday night and Michail Antonio says the team are just hitting their stride.
A busy December will see the Hammers face Crystal Palace, Fulham, Watford, Burnley and Southampton, all winnable, and Antonio believes, that after a poor start, West Ham can now make up for lost time.
“We’ve scored six goals in the last two games now,” said Antonio. “We didn’t get any points from the first four games this season, so now we’re clawing back those points we missed out on at the start.
“We need to take points from the teams around us in the next few games and see how high we can go in the league.”
Throughout much of the first half, Cardiff looked likely to get something from the game.
The Bluebirds’ best chance came in the 34th minute when referee Graham Scott awarded a penalty for an innocuous challenge by Marko Arnautovic.
West Ham keeper Lukasz Fabianski saved the day, stopping the spot kick from Joe Ralls.
Fabianski made two further saves from Victor Camarasa.
For West Ham, Arnautovic had a goal-bound shot cleared off the line by a defender, while Angelo Ogbonna saw his header from a corner similarly cleared.
West Ham took charge in the second half when, three minutes in, Cardiff defenders failed to clear, allowing Robert Snodgrass to put an inch-perfect chip through to substitute Lucas Perez to stroke home.
Five minutes later, Lucas struck again, this time put through by defender Arthur Masuaku.
The demolition was complete a few moments later when Antonio headed home a Snodgrass corner.
Further efforts followed, with Ogbonna having a shot cleared off the line and substitute Grady Diangana breaking away to be foiled at the last moment by Cardiff keeper Neil Etheridge.
Cardiff did manage a consolation goal in the final minute, as Josh Murphy bundled the ball over the line amid a melee of players.
Goalkeeper Fabianski looked to have been fouled, but, as with much else on the evening, referee Scott let it go.
The defeat means Cardiff are yet to win on the road and boss Neil Warnock is already looking towards January to strengthen his squad in an attempt to stay in the Premier League.
“I’m hoping we can get three or four to help the lads that are here,” he said.
“If I didn’t get another defender, it wouldn’t worry me.
“More importantly we’ve got to have someone up our sleeve if something happens to [Aron] Gunnarsson and we’ve got to have a striker as we can’t ask [Callum] Paterson to do it, even though I thought that was his best game.”
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini thought it a strange game. “We started well, but after that didn’t make the space,” said Pellegrini, who felt the penalty was unnecessary.
He also felt there was a foul and handball with the Cardiff goal.
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