With huge Premier League and Europa League games to come over the next two weeks, the loss to a very different Southampton marked an ominous start for the Hammers.
With all of their commitments to come over the next few weeks, many expected Moyes to make nine changes to his starting XI, but it’s his counterpart, Ralph Hasenhuttl – who doesn’t have much to play for in the league – who has significantly revamped his pack.
Moyes’ selection was a statement of intent, only the two changes from Sunday’s win over Wolves as Issa Diop replaced Aaron Cresswell and Alphonse Areola had a chance in goal.
The Hammers appeared to take advantage of Southampton’s second side of the rope early on, navigating through the red and white shirts at will.
Tomas Soucek should have done better when given space to fire on a deflected cross from Manuel Lanzini, but the Czech fired wide, before later sending a shaky effort to Willy Caballero after a stray ball at the Saints fullback, who was guilty of just that again moments later when Ibrahima Diallo played in Michail Antonio.
Again West Ham could not capitalise. Both teams lacked the quality to really threaten, until Perraud stepped in.
Southampton had struggled to get past West Ham’s back three – with Kurt Zouma excelling at his heart – so the France full-back went completely over the baseline, recovering from Kyle Walker-Peters 30 yards from goal and folding a prodigious effort on Areola and in the far corner.
After punishing West Ham for their profligacy in the first half, Southampton sent on Armando Broja and Stuart Armstrong to try and extend their advantage, but they were soon back at square one as they eventually had to pay for an error at the start. ‘back.
Caballero beat a Jarrod Bowen corner and couldn’t clear, allowing Issa Diop to push the ball for Antonio, who spun and scored his first goal since New Year’s Day.
West Ham were level but faced a familiar foe in Broja, who had caused so much trouble against them in the previous two Premier League meetings this season and have done so again here.
The Albania international, who has many admirers at the London Stadium, easily passed Craig Dawson as he ran on a long ball.
Just as he did in the Boxing Day loss to that side, Dawson brought down the Chelsea player and, after a VAR review, a penalty was awarded. James Ward-Prowse converted two months ago and did it again here, shooting through the middle as Areola dove to his right.
Said Benrahma and Nikola Vlasic had been added to West Ham’s attacking quarter to find a way through but Southampton held on and the Hammers struggled to create from open play – Antonio stayed on the sidelines despite scoring from the corner .
Set pieces appeared to be West Ham’s only chance to find a way back and Caballero made up for his earlier mistake with a mid-air save to keep Dawson out of Bowen’s corner before Benrahma burst into flames from the start. next opening.
West Ham were bereft of ideas and Moyes’ frustration was only heightened by a number of meaningless challenges from Southampton as they sought to block the visitors at the break, with Perraud and Diallo cynically fending off Bowen and Declan Rice respectively .
With the visitors lacking inspiration, Broja added his own – not content with another embarrassment from Dawson, the 19-year-old turned his gaze to Zouma, popping up on the left and dropping a shoulder to pass the Frenchman before bend a weak effort in the far corner.
The Southampton striker had given his team everything Antonio couldn’t give West Ham.
Victory over Wolves on Sunday seemed to mark the end of West Ham’s tired and frustrating spell of football – but those questions are still unanswered as they head to Liverpool and Sevilla.