MX23RW : Friday, December 14 19:55:58

Result: Perez punishes Cardiff with double for West Ham

Result: Perez punishes Cardiff with double for West Ham
© Reuters
The summer signing from Arsenal found the net twice.

Lucas Perez scored his first Premier League goals for West Ham to fire them to a 3-1 victory over Cardiff.

The summer signing from Arsenal, on as a substitute for the injured Marko Arnautovic, found the net twice as the Hammers recorded back-to-back top-flight wins for the first time in almost two years.

Cardiff, still without an away win this season, blew a golden chance to take the lead when Joe Ralls missed a first-half penalty.

And Perez punished them after the break with a quickfire double before Michail Antonio also opened his Premier League account for the season.

With injuries beginning to bite in defence for West Ham winger Antonio had to start at right-back, a position previous boss Slaven Bilic had unsuccessfully tried him in.

Certainly Antonio was in no mood to curb his attacking instincts and planted an early header wide from a Robert Snodgrass free-kick.

Snodgrass and Felipe Anderson had shots deflected wide as West Ham, seemingly playing with six forwards, swarmed around the Cardiff penalty area.

Anderson then found Arnautovic with a delicious through-ball but the Austrian's attempted lob landed safely in the arms of City keeper Neil Etheridge.

Arnautovic thought he had opened the scoring in the 24th minute when he surged into the area and fired across Etheridge, but Sean Morrison got back in time to hack the ball off the line.

Yet West Ham almost paid the price for failing to make their dominance count when, first, Joe Bennett's cross was almost turned into his own net by Ogbonna.

Joe Ralls' first-half penalty miss proved to be costly
Joe Ralls' first-half penalty miss proved to be costly for Cardiff (Mike Egerton/PA)

Moments later Arnautovic shoved Junior Hoillett over in the area to concede a soft penalty, but Hammers keeper Lukasz Fabianski guessed correctly, diving to his left to keep out Ralls' spot-kick.

Arnautovic's match came to a premature end with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, a potentially major blow for the hosts amidst a hectic December schedule.

Yet although Perez has endured a tough start to life in east London following his summer switch from Arsenal, he made up for the loss of Arnautovic within four minutes of the restart.

Bennett and Morrison had two stabs at heading the ball clear on the edge of the area and when neither could manage it, Snodgrass controlled it on his chest before flicking it through to Perez.

The Spaniard lashed the ball past a helpless Etheridge for his first Premier League goal since January 2017.

And within five minutes Perez had his second, beating Etheridge at his near post after being slipped in by Arthur Masuaku.

Antonio helped himself to the third when he nodded in a Snodgrass corner on the hour before Cardiff scored the scrappiest of consolation goals in stoppage time through Josh Murphy.

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Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock celebrates on November 30, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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