Pundits and ex-players alike were left purring over Marko Arnautovic’s match-winning display in Saturday’s 3-0 Premier League victory over Southampton.
The Austrian hit the net twice as West Ham United scored a massive win over their relegation rivals at London Stadium, the second of them an unstoppable volley from Arthur Masuaku’s outstanding cross.
The internet was awash with praise for Arnautovic, who has now scored nine goals in his last 13 Premier League appearances in Claret and Blue.
A double against Southampton means he has scored six goals in West Ham’s six league wins under David Moyes
Former England midfielder Jamie Redknapp named the Hammers forward in his Team of the Week in the Daily Star, as did ESPN FC’s esteemed panel of former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol, former England midfielder Paul Mariner and journalist Gabriele Marcotti.
“Marko Arnautovic was another unanimous pick to complete our best XI after he scored twice to spearhead West Ham's 3-0 win over Southampton. ‘Moyes has done a great job with him,’ says Nicol, while Marcotti describes the Austrian as ‘the poor man's Ibrahimovic’.”
BBC Match of the Day columnist and former Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur striker Garth Crooks named the No7 did likewise, alluding to the fact that Arnautovic had returned to haunt his old Stoke City manager Mark Hughes for the second time this season.
“Regular readers of my team of the week will know that I warned Mark Hughes when he was manager of Stoke that his criticism of Marko Arnautovic on his return to the Bet365 Stadium earlier in the season was ill advised.
“Strikers stay awake at night desperate to stick two fingers up to managers who publicly criticise them. The Austrian international exercised his right to inflict another blow to Hughes' long-term career prospects, this time against Southampton, with an awesome display of finishing.
“How ironic. Arnautovic could have a say in both Southampton and Stoke going down. Where that would leave Mark Hughes is anyone's guess.”
The Daily Telegraph’s chief football correspondent Jason Burt took a similar slant in his best performing XI from the Easter weekend.
“Few players can match Arnautovic for skill and power when he is fired up and so it proved as he led West Ham to their vital win over Southampton. It helped that his old Stoke City boss, Mark Hughes, who he had a strained relationship with was in the opposition dug-out.”
Writing in The National, the English language newspaper for the United Arab Emirates, Richard Jolly focused on Arnautovic’s growing importance to David Moyes’ West Ham team
“A double against Southampton means he has scored six goals in West Ham’s six league wins under David Moyes. He could keep them up.”
The website premierleague.com recommended Fantasy Premier League managers select the West Ham striker in their teams for the run-in.
Arnautovic was the top-scoring player in Gameweek 32 with 16 points, scoring a brace and earning maximum bonus for his performance against Southampton.
“That performance typified his recent form for the Hammers. Arnautovic has been a revelation since being moved up front by manager David Moyes for the visit of Chelsea in Gameweek 16.
“Arnautovic has scored or assisted 59 per cent of West Ham's goals since moving up front. That suggests that he can come through a testing run-in and go on providing exceptional value in Fantasy.”