Joshua King scored a hat-trick as AFC Bournemouth recorded their first Premier League victory of 2017 with a 3-2 triumph over West Ham United.
The Cherries had been sucked into a relegation battle following a winless streak dating back to New Year’s Eve but moved six points clear of the drop-zone thanks to these crucial three points.
Bournemouth also missed two penalties – King and Benik Afobe the culprits – but earned the spoils when the Norwegian completed his hat-trick in stoppage time.
Here are three things we learned from a pulsating encounter at the Vitality Stadium…
King comes of age in spectacular style
The season-ending knee injury to Callum Wilson has given King an opportunity to stake a claim for a regular starting berth up front – and it is one he has grabbed with both hands. His three goals against West Ham have taken his tally to 11 in the Premier League, with seven of those coming in the past five matches.
He is the first Bournemouth player ever to reach double figures in the top-flight. Such is King’s versatility that he has been deployed in the number nine and 10 roles this season, while also occasionally operating on the wing. But it is at the head of the attack where he is now thriving and repaying the faith shown in him by manager Eddie Howe.
King has electric pace and great strength – two attributes that were on display against the Hammers – and has dramatically improved his finishing this season. His first goal, controlling an awkward ball before swivelling and finding the bottom corner in one motion, was a stunning strike.