West Ham United 2 – 0 Sheffield United. West Ham marked David Moyes’ 900th league game as a manager by heaping more pain on struggling Sheffield United.
Jarrod Bowen swept home his fifth goal in seven Premier League games this season to put the Hammers ahead before Tomas Soucek squeezed home their second despite heavy pressure.
And while a repeat of the Blades’ 8-0 humbling by Newcastle never looked on the cards, the hosts’ margin of victory could have been greater had they taken more of their plentiful first-half opportunities.
Soucek side-footed over a golden early chance, while Blades keeper Wes Foderingham saved a Bowen header and Nayef Aguerd’s follow-up was cleared off the line, while Michail Antonio also curled just wide.
Oli McBurnie scuffed wide for the visitors just after the Hammers’ second and although the Blades improved after the break, Alphonse Areola only had one save of note to make from Anel Ahmedhodzic’s close-range header.
Victory gets the Hammers back on track after successive defeats by Manchester City and Liverpool as they stay seventh, while the Blades remain bottom with just one point from seven games.
Hammers boss Moyes passed 25 years in management back in January, having made his debut in the dugout with Preston in 1998.
And while he has been an occasionally divisive figure among supporters at some clubs – not least his current one – that longevity must be applauded, particularly in the modern era.
In a game where boardroom patience levels and managerial reigns are shorter than ever, the Hammers are only Moyes’ sixth club in that quarter-century span, which could be regarded as a telling statistic in itself.
Moyes this week was forced to defend the Hammers’ style of play, given they had the second-lowest possession figures in the top flight – but their opening goal here would have been the envy of any team.
A patient build-up gave way to a lovely passage of one-touch football that ended with Bowen coolly steering a first-time finish into the bottom corner from Vladimir Coufal’s pull-back.
Once Soucek evaded the attentions of two defenders to tuck Antonio’s slide-rule pass beyond Foderingham, the game was over, extending Moyes’ perfect home career record against the Blades to eight wins.
Perhaps with Thursday’s Europa League trip to Freiburg in mind, the Hammers eased off in the second half but rarely looked in danger of conceding as they recorded a first league clean sheet of the season.
The form of Bowen, in particular, will please Moyes, with the forward showing the sort of form that earned him an England call-up last year – only Erling Haaland has more goals in the top flight than the 26-year-old this term.
Only a fortnight has passed since the Blades’ previous trip to the capital, when they conceded two goals deep into time added on to lose at Tottenham – and that late heartbreak seems, in hindsight, to have severely damaged their confidence.
While this display was an improvement on their Newcastle nightmare, it would have been hard not to be – and they never really seemed to possess the belief they showed against Spurs just a couple of weeks prior.
There were some bright moments at London Stadium, particularly after the break, and substitute Anis Ben Slimane looked lively with a couple of late efforts but they were left to rue a nervy first period when they looked vulnerable every time the Hammers attacked.
The scars from the Magpies mauling will fade in time – and this was a step towards that – but they remain without a clean sheet since promotion and face a hugely important trip to Fulham in a week’s time given Manchester United and Arsenal are their subsequent two opponents.
source – BBC