West Ham 3-0 Sheffield United: Hammers move into the top four


est Ham showed there is life without Michail Antonio as they moved above Liverpool and into the top four with a win over Sheffield United.

The Hammers took the lead with their first penalty of the season when Declan Rice converted from 12-yards in the first half.

Issa Diop added a second in the second half and Ryan Fredericks made it three in stoppage time.

Moyes was once again forced to get creative with his forward line after Antonio failed a fitness test having felt tightness in his hamstring once more.

Jarrod Bowen started through the middle in his place while – with Angelo Ogbonna also on the injury list – the Hammers reverted to the back three shape which served them so well earlier in the season.

With an injury-hit squad, West Ham thought they had been handed the dream start when referee Simon Hooper pointed to the spot for their first penalty of the season after Enda Stevens had brought down Craig Dawson. VAR intervened and spotted that Dawson was in fact offside in the build-up.

Having waited all season for a spot-kick, the Hammers were prepared to show a little more patience. Sheffield United rallied after the decision and put the pressure on, but the hosts were still a threat on the break. Jesse Lingard, a threat throughout, drew a save from Aaron Ramsdale at his near post having raced away.

It was the Manchester United loanee who eventually won West Ham their first penalty since July last year when he was brought down by Chris Basham, with no chance of this one being ruled out.

Having not had a spot kick for so long and with neither Mark Noble or Antonio on the pitch, Rice stepped up. The midfielder stroked home from 12 yards with real confidence.

Lukasz Fabianski had to be alert to tip David McGoldrick’s deflected header over the bar shortly after the restart, but the Hammers took little time in doubling their lead.

After Jarrod Bowen won a corner, Aaron Cresswell put an outswinging ball on a plate for the returning Diop to steer wonderfully into the far post. Set pieces have been a real threat for West Ham this season – no side in the Premier League has scored from more than their 14 so far – and will be doubly so as long as Antonio is absent.

Sheffield United certainly weren’t sitting back and – again – Fabianski was called upon to deny McGoldrick after the striker rose above Cresswell from six yards out.

West Ham were looking confident now, and Vladimir Coufal should have made it three with just over 15 minutes to go. The Czech found himself one-on-one with Ramsdale but dawdled, desperately looking for someone to square it too, and allowed the keeper to move up and block his eventual effort.

Substitute Fredericks added a third in stoppage time.

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