West Ham’s Arnie is back and just wants to be loved!
PUBLISHED: 11:30 12 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:33 12 February 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Stunning performance by Austrian striker proves the difference against Watford
After the glory of returning to help West Ham grab three points against Watford, you would think that Marko Arnautovic would be happy to talk to every journalist in the building.
But after talking to BBC Match of the Day, he swept past the rest of us, maybe off to see his barber in order to sort out his barnet!
While he is performing like he did on Saturday though, you can forgive the big Austrian. He was phenomenal and was the difference between the two teams.
“I did come back quickly, nobody expected me to get back that quick,” said Arnautovic to the BBC. “But I was really hungry to play and it was special to be back on the pitch. When I am out there I try to give everything for the team and win games.”
It certainly looked that way. One run from the left hand side into the box, past three or four defenders was breathtaking.
He seemed to be felled in the box, but still managed to slip the ball for Joao Mario to have a shot well saved.
“It was 100 per cent a penalty because I am not a player who falls down,” insisted the Austrian. “But the referee did not see it and I don’t want to talk about what is in the past.
“We won the game and we are very happy with three points and we keep moving forward.”
Arnautovic has had probably the biggest transformation at West Ham since Dimitri Payet turned from hero to villain.
Marko has done it the other way to the point where he must be one of the favourites for the Hammer of the Year award.
He has scored seven goals in his last 11 appearances and adds a different dimension to a team that base their game on solid defence.
But it seems that he still just wants to be loved.
“It was a tough beginning for me, but I want to show all those critical people, all the people who don’t like me, that I am good.
“I don’t know why some people don’t like me. I am surprised at this, I think I have a good heart so everybody should like me.”
Everybody at West Ham certainly likes him, with team-mate Pablo Zabaleta singing his praises.
“He is an important player, one of the main men for us,” said the Argentinian. “He is powerful, making those runs in behind the defence which makes him difficult to play against.
“He gives us that strength that you need, especially in the way we play with five at the back.”
Arnautovic returned after just three weeks out following his hamstring injury, so was it a big risk to play him from the start of this game?
Manager David Moyes thought not.
“I didn’t feel it was a risk because he gives you the right noises,” said the boss.
“It was about what condition he was in, where he was at physically and if he gets in the right frame of mind, he is very difficult to play against.
“Marko is earning praise because of what he is doing at the moment. Sometimes he looks as though he has run his race in games, but then he goes again.”
He certainly raced out of the stadium after this game. Getting his hair sorted was obviously a top priority!