West Ham United completed their eighth double of the season by winning their ninth game on the road in Wednesday night’s victory over West Bromwich Albion, having beaten the Baggies 3-1 at The Hawthorns despite having to come from behind.
David Moyes initially made one change to the team that played at The American Express Community Stadium as he brought in Saïd Benrahma for Jarrod Bowen who dropped to the bench. With goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański sustaining an injury in the warm-up, Darren Randolph was called in at late notice. Tomáš Souček retained his place and in so doing made his 50th appearance for the club.
Former Hammer Grady Diangana was included in the matchday eighteen for the hosts but had to be content with a place on the bench.
The Hammers, who had one extra day’s preparation ahead of this game, nearly made the perfect start when Michail Antonio pounced on a loose pass from home defender Semi Ajayi before being sent tumbling by goalkeeper Sam Johnstone. It was left to skipper Declan Rice to step up but unfortunately for the visitors, his effort hit the post.
After suffering the pain of not taking the early advantage, Benrahma, who finally notched his first goal for the Irons against the Seagulls four days ago, was keen to build on that and went close with another dipping effort but Johnstone was able to tip it over.
Although the East Londoners were creating good opportunities, Sam Allardyce’s side were ahead after a corner from Matheus Pereira went straight past Randolph and into the net, though it did hit Souček on its way past the Republic of Ireland international.
West Ham could count themselves lucky not to be two goals behind minutes later.
A free-kick from Connor Townsend was blocked, only for the ball to fall back into his path. He then smashed the rebound back into the box and after a couple of fortunate deflections, the ball fell back to the goalscorer but this time, the visitors survived as the Brazilian’s latest attempt hit Aaron Cresswell, meaning Randolph had to make a quick reaction save.
Jesse Lingard then went for the spectacular, as the Hammers looked for a way back into the game. Pablo Fornals had spotted the Manchester United loanee in space but it didn’t pay off, allowing Johnstone to tip over.
Just before the break, the scores were level. Souček, who had a hand in the first goal, scored at the right end; a cross from Fornals took a deflection but luckily dropped to Benrahma, who in turn found the Czech and he had the easiest of finishes past a helpless Johnstone.
Although a lengthy VAR check followed, the goal stood and Moyes was in for a far easier team talk when referee Michael Oliver blew for half-time.
The home side made a quick start to the second-half, as just two minutes in, Randolph was alert to prevent another Pereira corner from restoring the home side’s lead as he helped the ball over the top. Thankfully for the Hammers though, Oliver had already signalled for a foul on the stand-in stopper.
Fornals went close to turning the game around soon after, following good play from Benrahma. The Spaniard wasn’t able to put his side ahead however, as his shot went narrowly wide.
Randolph was called into action again when a long throw eventually fell to Ajayi but the Irishman was on hand to prevent the effort from beating him.
Cresswell had been involved in most of West Ham’s good play during the game and his blushes were spared here when his attempted clearance almost sent Albion striker Hal Robson-Kanu through on goal but the Welshman couldn’t capitalize.
The former Ipswich Town defender then redeemed himself as his long-range free-kick nearly put his side in front but instead, it came back off the post, leaving Johnstone relieved.
With eighteen minutes of normal time still to play, Moyes made his first change, with Bowen replacing Benrahma.
Eight minutes later, the former Hull City winger picked out Fornals with a superb reverse ball and the Spaniard tried to beat Johnstone but the former Aston Villa stopper was back on his line and cleared the danger.
On eighty two minutes, the East Londoners edged ahead when Angelo Ogbonna met Cresswell’s corner with a header at the far post. It was a real shame that there was no travelling support in attendance because they would have surely enjoyed that one!!!
The Irons weren’t content with just the two goals, as they helped themselves to another on eighty eight minutes when Fornals set up Lingard, who played Antonio through and the former Nottingham Forest man didn’t disappoint, as he added his name to the scoresheet.
After that goal, both sides made changes with Moyes bringing on Issa Diop in place of Fornals, while Big Sam introduced Mbaye Diagne for Robson-Kanu.
Vladimír Coufal had a great chance to make the scoreline more comfortable for Moyes’ men but he was unfortunately thwarted by Johnstone.
Moyes had also readied Andriy Yarmolenko as a third change but time had run out before the Ukrainian could enter the fray.
That win means that the Hammers have equalled their highest ever Premier League points total of sixty two set during the final season at Upton Park. They have the chance to set a new club record as well as seal a place in next season’s UEFA Europa League by earning a point or more when Southampton visit Stratford to end the 2020/21 campaign on Sunday afternoon.