Another Big Win For Hammers

Nottingham Forest have only won one away game so far this season and that remains the case as West Ham United beat them 4-0 in Stratford on Saturday afternoon.

David Moyes made four changes from the side that lost the London derby at Tottenham Hotspur just six days ago. Ben Johnson was preferred to Flynn Downes who dropped to the bench. Lucas Paquetá had made a quicker than expected recovery from a shoulder injury to regain his place in the starting line-up, while Saïd Benrahma was left out of the team that started in North London but he was restored here and Danny Ings was given a first start since joining the club back on 20 January. Thilo Kehrer, Emerson Palmieri and Michail Antonio were all options from the bench.

Knowing they needed a win to escape the bottom three, the Hammers made a bright start and were certainly putting their visitors under pressure. Ings had an early chance but he failed to convert it.

With West Ham having missed that chance, Bowen himself then nearly put them in front straight from a corner. He looked odds on to score but, somehow visiting goalkeeper Keylor Navas performed miracles to get a hand to the ball and tip it away for a second corner. The set-piece was sent over by Paquetá and the ball deflected off visiting defender Felipe.

The third corner came to nothing but soon after, it was the turn of Steve Cooper’s team to test Łukasz Fabiański in the home side’s goal but thankfully, the Pole was up to the challenge and dealt with the danger.

The visitors then had another chance when Brenan Johnson played in Morgan Gibbs-White but Fabiański was able to get a strong grasp on the ball.

Up the other end, Benrahma tried his luck but unfortunately, he was unable to beat Navas.

Although they had dominated for large parts of the first-half, the Irons had nothing to show for their efforts so referee Jarred Gillett blew his whistle with the game still waiting for its first goal.

Vladimír Coufal picked up an injury to his heel during the first period, meaning Moyes made his first substitution during the break and replaced the Czech international with Aaron Cresswell.

The East Londoners continued from where they had left off when the action got back underway and it almost paid off. Bowen went close again but the former Hull city winger hit the post with his latest effort. Paquetá did his best to follow up but only succeeded in sending a shot over the top.

The visitors had a great chance to go ahead through Johnson but he was thwarted, thanks to interventions from both Angelo Ogbonna and Captain Declan Rice.

There was another injury setback for Moyes, as Fabiański sustained a knock, meaning he was replaced by Alphonse Areola.

No sooner had the Frenchman come on than the hosts had gone in front and Ings had opened his account for the club. The former AFC Bournemouth striker played the ball out to Bowen, who then played it back to him and he was able to slot home, leaving Navas beaten.

Less than three minutes later, the majority inside the stadium erupted again as they saw Ings double his tally for the afternoon and Forest were really in trouble by this point.

There was to be more pain for the visitors when Rice added his name to the scoresheet. He steadied himself and unleashed a rocket from outside the area which gave Navas no chance and wrapped up the points.

Before Moyes’ men made it 4-0 with five minutes of normal time still to play, the Scotsman made use of his final three changes, introducing Pablo Fornals, Manuel Lanzini and Antonio in place of Paquetá, Benrahma and Ings. It didn’t take long for Fornals and Antonio to combine with the former Forest winger scoring against his old club.

With time running out for Cooper’s men, Harry Toffolo, who had earlier replaced Renan Lodi brought a great save from Areola.

Despite seven minutes of added time, the Hammers were unable to add to their four goals but it didn’t matter, as there were still loud celebrations when Gillett brought proceedings to an end. It was a good start to a big week. Can the Irons now take momentum into a fifth round FA Cup tie away at Manchester United on Wednesday night?