West Ham tames Wolves to break back into top four

West Ham moved three places up to fourth on 52 points from 30 games, one more than fifth-placed Chelsea and three ahead of sixth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in seventh

David Moyes, Manager of West Ham United, Jesse Lingard and Jarrod Bowen of West Ham United celebrate following their side's victory in the Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers.   -  GETTY IMAGES

West Ham United boosted its hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four and earning a Champions League berth after an impressive first half helped it to a 3-2 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday.

West Ham moved three places up to fourth on 52 points from 30 games, one more than fifth-placed Chelsea and three ahead of sixth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in seventh. Wolves stayed 14th on 35 points.

West Ham also equalled the club's Premier League record of seven away wins in a season and gave themselves every chance of breaking it with eight games remaining.

Jesse Lingard, Pablo Fornals and substitute Jarrod Bowen, who replaced the injured Michail Antonio, fired the Hammers into a 3-0 lead before Leander Dendoncker pulled one back for the home side in an action-packed first half.

Fabio Silva struck for the resurgent Wolves midway through the second half. But the home side was unable to make its late pressure count as the visitor held out in the closing stages.

 

Lingard fired West Ham ahead after he capped a darting solo run from his half with a fine left-footed finish in the sixth minute after Antonio had hit the post with a ferocious long-range effort.

Fornals made it 2-0 in the 14th with a deft side-footed finish after good work from Lingard and Arthur Masuaku, who squared the ball back to the Spaniard.

Bowen added the third in the 38th minute, shortly after coming on for Antonio, as he found space in the heart of the penalty area to beat home goalkeeper Rui Patricio with a firm low shot inside the near post.

Wasteful Wolves, who compounded their poor defending in the first half by wasting several gilt-edged chances, hauled themselves back into the contest when Dendoncker headed home an Adama Traore cross in the 42nd minute.

West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek had a goal disallowed for handball on the hour and the visitor was forced to hang on in the final 20 minutes after Silva beat visiting goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski with a neat finish midway through the second half.

Wolves were missing Spanish defender Jonny who was ruled out for the rest of the season shortly before kick off with a recurring knee injury.

 

Poor defence

The home team's manager Nuno Espirito Santo rued its sloppy defending.

"We were very poor in defence and it takes away from all the good things we did in attack," he told Sky Sports.

"The reaction was good but we started very bad. Conceding three goals against a top team like West Ham makes it very difficult to reverse the result."

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Deja Vu 

"It felt like deja vu," Moyes told Sky Sports after his side was forced to hang on in the closing stages.

"We didn't manage it too well. We were going to try and make it four instead of settling for 3-0 at halftime. Some of our play in the first half was scintillating.

"Jesse was fantastic. Michail Antonio played as well as he has for a long while for 30 minutes. We're not sure about the injury. We will assess it tomorrow. It looks like he's felt his hamstring."

Moyes was confident his side would stay in contention for a Champions League berth in the home straight.

"We have to go and take it on. Why not? I am hearing pundits talking about West Ham having a chance of Champions League," he said.

"Nobody would have envisaged or mentioned that last season. Can we keep it going? We are going to try and compete with the big teams right until the end."

Rice sidelined with knee ligament injury

West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice could be out of action for a month due to a knee ligament injury sustained on England duty, the Premier League club said.

The 22-year-old picked up the issue late in England's 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Poland at Wembley last Wednesday but managed to finish the game.

Rice was absent for West Ham's 3-2 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, the first league game he has missed all season, and local media reported he could be out for a month.