West Ham United usually have a good record at Craven Cottage but they were unfortunately unable to follow up their victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night, by being comprehensively beaten 5-0 by Fulham on Sunday afternoon.
David Moyes only made two changes from the victory in North London just three days earlier, as Aaron Cresswell was preferred to Emerson Palmieri with the former Chelsea defender dropping to the bench, while Pablo Fornals replaced Edson Álvarez who pulled out of the squad on the morning of the game, due to illness. Youngsters Joseph Anang and Divin Mubama were again part of the matchday squad along with Thilo Kehrer and Maxwel Cornet.
Whilst the Hammers were looking to build on that success at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the hosts were also full of confidence following a 5-0 victory over Nottingham Forest here on Wednesday night, so it would be interesting to see who would earn the points.
The Irons were playing good football in the opening stages with James Ward-Prowse and Jarrod Bowen, who scored the goals last time out, both testing Cottagers’ stopper Bernd Leno but their efforts were no problem for the former Arsenal man who kept them out.
Fulham eventually got a degree of control and from then on, they never looked back.
Raúl Jiménez contributed to a number of the goals against the Tricky Trees five days ago and he was at it again here with twenty two minutes gone as he linked up to good effect with João Palhinha and the former Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder gave visiting goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański no chance with a powerful header.
Nine minutes later, things got worse for the large travelling support as they saw their team concede another goal, as the Pole could only parry Alex Iwobi’s shot away and Andreas Pereira then kept the move going, before Willian beat the former Arsenal and Swansea City stopper, leaving Moyes’ men needing another comeback to ensure they will get anything from this game.
The East Londoners weren’t creating much up to this point and when they had a chance on thirty nine minutes, they didn’t take advantage. The former Hull City winger latched onto Vladimír Coufal’s cross but his volley was too close to Leno.
Four minutes before the break, the away side imploded, as Tosin Adarabioyo added a third via a Pereira corner. He headed past Fabiański, despite Coufal’s best efforts to clear off The line.
West Ham had now realised that they had a mountain to climb. Having said that, there was still forty eight minutes to go and it took just ten for them to get three goals when they drew 3-3 in a crazy encounter at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in October 2020.
The visitors were relieved when referee Paul Tierney blew the whistle for the break, they just hoped that they weren’t going to concede any more in the second-half.
Both managers made substitutions before the action recommenced with both Cresswell and Fornals making way for Palmieri and Konstantinos Mavropanos. The Scotsman was definitely hoping for a reaction but the trouble was that Marco Silva also made a change, as former Liverpool youngster Harry Wilson took the place of Willian.
It was still proving hard for the Hammers to cope with Fulham’s relentless pressure and Wilson got the better of Irons’ Captain Kurt Zouma but was unable to hit the back of the net.
Soon after, the Welsh striker did exactly what he was sent on to do when he bent a superb effort into the top corner and once again, Fabiański was helpless.
It was now a case of damaged limitation for Moyes but he still made use of his last three changes. Angelo Ogbonna, Saïd Benrahma and Mubama were all introduced for Zouma, Mohammed Kudus and Lucas Paquetá.
Bowen had played well throughout the contest and he was still trying to grab a consolation goal for his team but again, Leno was in the way.
Silva made a number of alterations for the hosts late on and two of the changes were involved in a great team move that resulted in the hosts putting the final nail in West Ham’s coffin, as Harrison Reed was involved in a great team move that set up fellow substitute Carlos Vinícius to knock in the winner.
The East Londoners will definitely need to put this result behind them if they are to beat SC Freiburg in Stratford on Thursday night and win UEFA Europa League Group A.