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Premier League

West Ham United

Did Marko Arnautovic wave goodbye to West Ham during Arsenal win?

PA | 2mo
The forward has been linked with a January move away from the Hammers.

Marko Arnautovic was named in the starting line-up for West Ham's Premier League clash with Arsenal just days after his brother claimed the Austria international wanted to leave the London Stadium.

While a January move to the Chinese Super League could still materialise, Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini kept faith in the forward as the hosts beat Unai Emery's side 1-0.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a close look at Arnautovic's performance.

Reception

Marko Arnautovic was taken off in the second half (Yui Mok/PA)

Arnautovic's name was cheered when the team was announced ahead of kick-off and there seemed little animosity towards the former Stoke player. His first few contributions were also heartily applauded by the home support, even if they were simple flick-ons or easy passes to a team-mate. There were chants of "Marko Arnautovic" from the West Ham fans during the second half and he was given a standing ovation from all corners of the stadium when he was replaced by Andy Carroll with 20 minutes remaining – and he responded by waving to the supporters as he departed.

Goal threat

It was a largely frustrating afternoon in front of goal for the Austria international (Yui Mok/PA)

Always a thorn in the side of any defence, Arnautovic was switched on from the get-go and saw a shot bravely blocked just before the half-hour mark. He played a key part in West Ham's best chance of the first half, beating the offside trap before controlling the ball and slipping in Samir Nasri, with the former Arsenal midfielder teeing up Felipe Anderson, who arrowed a shot just wide. He had no real clear-cut chances to add to his eight goals this season but, if he was to leave, his prowess in front of goal would be a huge loss for West Ham.

Work ethic

Arnautovic was substituted by manager Manuel Pellegrini with 19 minutes remaining (Yui Mok/PA)

As he so often does, Arnautovic ran his socks off for his side as he operated as a loan striker against three central defenders in the first half and then against a back four when Arsenal changed shape before the hour. He put in a shift before coming off as Carroll was introduced on an afternoon where, on the field at least, he was on the periphery of things.

Conclusion

Given his quality and importance to the cause, Arnautovic was always likely to start against Arsenal even with such a question mark hanging over his immediate future. The reaction of the West Ham fans – a large majority of which turned on Dimitri Payet when he was in a similar situation two years ago – also shows he would still be a firm favourite here if his move did not come off. Whether supporters should read too much into his waves as he left the pitch in the 71st minute remains to be seen but there was no ill-will around the stadium on Saturday.



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3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
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9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
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13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
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16Southampton3079143450-1630
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18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914
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