Hammers Have Wolves Running Scared

West Ham United finally picked up their seventh away win of the season as they started April by achieving their first ever top-flight double over Wolverhampton Wanderers with a 3-2 victory at Molineux on Easter Monday.

The Hammers suffered a major blow before the match with the news that stand-in skipper Declan Rice would be out for up to a month after sustaining a knee injury while on international duty which meant that club Captain Mark Noble filled in. David Moyes made two other changes as Arthur Masuaku started his first game since the home defeat to Manchester United in December after recovering from a knee operation, while Pablo Fornals also returned from an adductor injury. Saïd Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen dropped to the bench.

Although the final outcome of their last match was a disappointment for the Irons, having been 3-0 ahead, the visitors were obviously keen to bounce back and it was another quickfire start here. Both teams had chances with Michail Antonio hitting the post and Willian José going close before West Ham took control and Jesse Lingard raced past Romian Saïss and beat Rui Patrício.

Desperate to get back to winning ways on the road having not recorded a success on their travels since the trip to Villa Park on 3 February, the visitors increased their advantage just eight minutes later. It was Nélson Semedo who Lingard got the better of this time, as he found Masuaku and the winger’s cross fell to Fornals who found the back of the net superbly, giving Patrício no chance.

Despite great play from the East Londoners, Nuno Espírito Santo’s men were also testing Łukasz Fabiański up the other end and although the Pole prevented them from getting on the scoresheet in the early stages, he was beaten by Daniel Podence’s effort but fortunately, the crossbar saved him.

As if the news of Rice’s injury wasn’t bad enough for West Ham, they were to suffer another setback when Antonio’s hamstring issue seemed to re-occur on thirty six minutes so he was replaced by Bowen.

The former Hull City winger might have been a little unfortunate to have missed out on the starting line-up after scoring against the Gunners last time out but might have played his way into contention for Sunday’s home game against Leicester City as he made an instant impact and found the net just two minutes after being introduced.

Wolves did pull a goal back before referee Michael Oliver blew the half-time whistle through a Leander Dendonker header after Adama Traoré crossed into the box.

After conceding that goal just before the break, the Hammers were just hoping they weren’t going to suffer a repeat of the Arsenal comeback.

Scoring just before the break gave the hosts a definite lift and they started the second-half looking to make it uncomfortable for Moyes and his men but on fifty nine minutes, the visitors thought they had extended their advantage. Tomáš Souček appeared to have made the game safe but VAR had spotted that the Czech had handled the ball.

Eight minutes later, Moyes decided to make a change. Given that Masuaku had been out for some considerable time, the Irons’ boss felt it necessary to replace him with Ben Johnson.

Immediately after that change had been made, Wolves made it a nervy finish for the Hammers, as Fábio Silva, who entered the fray in place of Podence just after half-time finished neatly beyond Fabiański after latching onto Pedro Neto’s ball over the top.

The Scotsman waited another seven minutes before shuffling his pack again and bringing on Benrahma for Fornals.

Before this game, West Ham found themselves seventh in the Premier League table and now they have jumped back into the Champions League places ahead of another tough encounter against Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes.