West Ham – Sheffield United went just as expected: the Hammers were clinical and the Blades wasted plenty of chances as they lost yet again.
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Declan Rice scored a penalty in the first half, Issa Diop scored a header in the second and Ryan Fredericks scored in stoppage time as David Moyes’ side momentarily climbed into the top four as their amazing season continues with six wins from their last eight games.
With the win they now have 42 points from 24 games, while Sheffield United remain bottom of the table on 11 points and are 14 points from safety.
Three things we learned
1. West Ham are the real deal: The Hammers just keep taking care of business with minimum fuss, and they are ruthlessly efficient. David Moyes has created a clinical outfit which is so similar to his previous Everton team it is scary. Similarly to Everton, the Hammers should be pushing for European qualification each season. At the very least West Ham should qualify for the Europa League as they continue to fly under the radar with everyone focused on Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal and others in the hunt for the top four. It wouldn’t surprise you if the Hammers just kept winning games 2-0 to finish in the top four. Seriously.
2. Blades blunt, once again: They played well, created chances and didn’t take them. That, my friends, is the story of Sheffield United’s season. As we’ve said many times before, the Blades have played very similar to last season but the fine margins haven’t swung in their favor. There’s no doubt what the main reason will be when they are inevitably relegated: they have only scored 15 goals in their first 24 games of the season. They have been better in attack in recent weeks as Chris Wilder’s side have to be more adventurous if they’ve got any chance of saving themselves from the drop, or just saving some face.
3. Next 6 key for the Hammers: On paper they should probably lose four or five of their next six games, but they go into that run in fine form and full of confidence. West Ham next play Tottenham, Manchester City, Leeds, Manchester United, Arsenal and Wolves and if they can grab a few wins from those games, they then have a very favorable run of games to end the season. This next six will be crucial to see if this very promising season will become an exceptional one.
Man of the Match: Jesse Lingard – Won a penalty kick, was everywhere and looks so hungry to prove Man United wrong. What a loan signing.
West Ham won a penalty kick after Craig Dawson was fouled in the box, but Dawson was in an offside position and VAR took the penalty away.
Sheffield United responded well to that as David McGoldrick went close, while a corner caused Lukasz Fabianski problems.
The lively Jesse Lingard and Dawson both went close for the Hammers in an open, entertaining game.
Just before the break West Ham went 1-0 up as Rice slammed home the spot kick after Lingard was fouled cynically by Chris Basham.
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The Blades came flying out of the traps in the second half and McGoldrick’s header deflected off Ben Johnson and Fabianski saved superbly to deny Sheffield United an equalizer.
West Ham then doubled their lead with ease as Aaron Creswell’s corner was flicked home by the head of Diop.
McGoldrick went close with another header, while Aaron Ramsdale denied Lingard and Coufal and then Ryan Fredericks scored with the last kick of the game as the Hammers cruised to victory and moved into the top four.