West Ham United are back into fifth place in the Premier League table after they started May by coming from behind to beat Burnley 2-1 at Turf Moor on Monday night.
With Captain Mark Noble and Angelo Ogbonna missing through injury, David Moyes made five changes to the side that were narrowly beaten by Chelsea in Stratford nine days earlier, as Craig Dawson was restored to the starting line-up after serving his one match suspension, while Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio both returned from their respective absences.
Manuel Lanzini and Saïd Benrahma were also given starts after appearing as second-half substitutes against Chelsea with Fabián Balbuena, Ryan Fredericks and Jarrod Bowen dropping to the bench.
The game started with the home side looking to build on their away success over Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out and they were hoping to catch the Hammers on the break when they got the opportunity.
Chris Wood bagged a hat-trick at Molineux in their 4-0 win last weekend and he had the chance to add another goal here when referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot on nineteen minutes after he had been brought down by Tomáš Souček. The New Zealander stepped up and sent visiting goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański the wrong way.
The setback didn’t appear to unsettle the visitors though, as they were back level within two minutes. Antonio scored the only goal when these two teams met for the reverse fixture back in January and he was at it again here. Great combination play involving Manchester United loanee Jesse Lingard and Vladimír Coufal set up the former Nottingham Forest man, who got the better of Matthew Lowton to reach the Czech’s cross and finish past Clarets’ stopper Nick Pope.
Having found the equaliser, the Irons then turned the game on its head as just eight minutes later, Antonio was clearly intent on showing the West Ham faithful what they had been missing in his absence. He struck again as Benrahma sent over an inviting cross which the frontman yet again connected with in order to beat Pope for a second time.
Benrahma is still looking for his first goal since arriving in East London from Brentford and just moments later he went ever so close to claiming it but unfortunately for the Algerian, his right-footed shot went just wide of the post.
The visitors were fortunate still to be ahead at the break as Matěj Vydra had the chance to pull his side level. He raced past Issa Diop to make his way into the box. The striker thought he had headed past Fabiański but thankfully for the East Londoners, Dawson brilliantly cleared off the line.
Sean Dyche’s men are often hard to beat so West Ham knew they were in a good position when Taylor blew for the break.
The Hammers continued from where they had left off at the start of the second-half and Antonio went close to claiming a hat-trick after being set up by Pablo Fornals’ cross-shot. Even though he was six-yards from goal, he couldn’t finish the chance off.
Moyes’ men wasted further chances to increase their advantage and the hosts nearly found a way back into the contest.
Diop initially cleared the danger from Charlie Taylor’s cross. The ball fell into the path of Josh Brownhill and although the former Bristol City man had his effort saved by Fabianski, substitute Jay Rodriguez, who had earlier been introduced for Vydra, had two attempts to follow up. His first was blocked by Coufal before he inadvertently sliced wide.
Bowen came on for Benrahma with twelve minutes of normal time to play in what was the Scotsman’s only change of the evening.
The East Londoners could have made this match much more comfortable for themselves but they were unable to make the most of further chances, as both Antonio and Lingard went close but after three minutes of stoppage time, Taylor blew the final whistle to signal that West Ham’s work was done. They are back in action on Sunday when they will be looking to follow this victory up as Everton visit East London.