It wasn’t easy, but West Ham United notched a vital three points at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Tomas Soucek’s second-half strike was the distance at the London Stadium, as David Moyes’ took another vital step on the road to the Champions League. While Arsenal and their games in hand remain a severe threat, Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Watford on Saturday will have brought encouragement to East London.
West Ham had the best of the early chances, but could not land a telling blow. Aaron Cresswell bent a well-struck free kick just wide of the post. Michail Antonio turned well under pressure in the Wolves box, before having a powerful shot well-saved by Jose Sa. The resulting corner saw Kurt Zouma backheel over the bar, earning a reprimand from the better-placed Antonio.
David Moyes’ side came closest through Declan Rice. The England midfielder blasted a 25-yarder onto the woodwork. Manuel Lanzini also tests the Wolves resistance on two occasions, sending one shot into Sa’s gloves and stretching to touch an Antonio cross just wide.
In terms of chances, the first half had been one way traffic. Bruno Lage’s men did give the Hammers a timely reminder of the danger they pose late in the half, as Hwang Hee-Chan sent a swerving shot just wide from the edge of the box.
The Hammers hung on for a vital victory which moves them to fifth in the Premier League 👏
West Ham broke the deadlock a quarter of an hour into the second half. A well-worked throw-in resulted in an Antonio drive across the box. Tomas Soucek slid in to dispatch the chance from three yards, giving the home side a lead they had richly deserved.
Sa failed to clear his lines as the Hammers chased a second. Bowen won the ball and received it back through a superb Pablo Fornals pass. The ex-Hull City forward could not direct his shot past the goalkeeper though, as Sa saved well. The West Ham threat continued, as the ever-dangerous Antonio powered down the left. He couldn’t direct his cross to a teammate, and once again Wolves were let off in a vulnerable situation.
Wolves improved as an attacking force when Raul Jiminez joined the fray. So often a talisman of this club, the Mexican pulled the strings and brought others into play in a way no other attacker in orange had managed. Fellow replacement Pedro Neto also brought energetic running, as Lage tried to test the resolve of the Hammers.
For all the energy and industry Lage introduced to the fray, it was too little too late. Moyes’ men held on for three points they thoroughly deserved, and could come to cherish by the end of the season.