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West Ham United 3-0 Sheffield United: Hammers move into Champions League place

West Ham's Craig Dawson heads the ball clear of Sheffield United's Billy Sharp
West Ham last played in Europe in 2016-17 but failed to get past the Europa League play-off round

Declan Rice’s well-executed penalty and Issa Diop’s header helped lift West Ham into fourth place as Sheffield United’s Premier League survival hopes suffered a significant setback.

Chris Basham’s lunge on Jesse Lingard helped gift the Hammers, who climb above Liverpool and Chelsea, a sixth win in 10 top-flight matches.

Rice made no mistake from the spot before Diop, who was forced off with a head injury in his previous game, doubled the lead from Aaron Cresswell’s corner.

Substitute Ryan Fredericks added a third deep into stoppage time.

Sheffield United, 14 points from safety with 14 games left, went close to equalising at 1-0 only for Lukasz Fabianski to produce an outstanding save to keep out David McGoldrick’s deflected header.

West Ham had been awarded an early penalty when Craig Dawson was fouled by Enda Stevens and referee Simon Hooper pointed to the spot, but after a VAR consultation the decision was overturned.

Chelsea will move back above West Ham if they beat Newcastle in the 20:00 GMT kick-off, but this was another accomplished performance from David Moyes’ side.

Is Europe beckoning for the Hammers?

West Ham’s phenomenal form after last season’s struggle shows no sign of going off the boil.

Having spent last term locked in a relegation battle, the Hammers are now in a Champions League spot, two points clear of champions Liverpool with 14 games remaining.

When Harry Redknapp’s class of 1998-99 finished fifth in English football’s top flight, they accumulated 57 points.

Victory over the Blades moved Moyes’ team to 42 points with another 42 to play for, and they have to be considered serious contenders for Europe next season.

Their latest win was down to one moment of madness and one moment of brilliance – Basham’s clumsy foul on Lingard and Fabianski’s save to deny McGoldrick at 1-0.

Fabianski had a busier game than he would have liked while at the other end Aaron Ramsdale denied West Ham after Vladimir Coufal found himself with just the keeper to beat.

But Fredericks sealed another polished team display with the third after a lovely assist from fellow substitute Said Benrahma.

With forward Michail Antonio due back from injury, West Ham look in decent shape with the business end of the season looming.

Blades look doomed

Sheffield United have shown signs of fight in recent weeks with victories over Manchester United, Newcastle and West Brom.

But they can have few complaints about the outcome at London Stadium.

They were once again authors of their own downfall, Basham’s clear-cut foul on Lingard – and Rice’s resulting penalty – undoing their bright start.

McGoldrick was lively but after Diop’s header made it 2-0, the Blades then allowed Fredericks time and space to drill home the third goal.

On a night of few positives, defender John Egan left the pitch with his leg in a protected brace.

Barring a great escape, a 19th league defeat leaves the Blades facing a return to the Championship.

Making a point – the stats

  • Only in 1983-84 (43) and 1985-86 (48) have West Ham had more points on the board at this stage of a top-flight campaign.
  • No side has failed to score in more Premier League games this season than Sheffield United (12, level with Burnley).
  • West Ham have won 19 points in the Premier League in 2021 – only Manchester City (27 points) have accumulated more in the calendar year.
  • The Blades have conceded the first goal of the game in 18 Premier League matches this season – more than any other side.
  • No team has scored more goals from corners in the Premier League this season than West Ham (eight, level with Chelsea).
  • Declan Rice’s goal saw West Ham become the 20th and final side to both take and score a Premier League penalty this season.

What’s next?

Sheffield United return to London for a huge game with fellow strugglers Fulham on Saturday (20:00 GMT), before West Ham host Tottenham in a London derby on Sunday (12:00).

Player of the match

LingardJesse Lingard

West Ham United

  1. Squad number11Player nameLingard

  2. Squad number41Player nameRice

  3. Squad number15Player nameDawson

  4. Squad number1Player nameFabianski

  5. Squad number3Player nameCresswell

  6. Squad number23Player nameDiop

  7. Squad number24Player nameFredericks

  8. Squad number28Player nameSoucek

  9. Squad number5Player nameCoufal

  10. Squad number9Player nameBenrahma

  11. Squad number31Player nameJohnson

  12. Squad number20Player nameBowen

  13. Squad number10Player nameLanzini

  14. Squad number16Player nameNoble

Sheffield United

  1. Squad number1Player nameRamsdale

  2. Squad number17Player nameMcGoldrick

  3. Squad number22Player nameAmpadu

  4. Squad number10Player nameSharp

  5. Squad number12Player nameEgan

  6. Squad number23Player nameOsborn

  7. Squad number15Player nameJagielka

  8. Squad number20Player nameBogle

  9. Squad number6Player nameBasham

  10. Squad number9Player nameMcBurnie

  11. Squad number3Player nameStevens

  12. Squad number7Player nameLundstram

  13. Squad number16Player nameNorwood

Line-ups

West Ham

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Fabianski
  • 23Diop
  • 15Dawson
  • 3Cresswell
  • 5Coufal
  • 28Soucek
  • 41Rice
  • 31JohnsonSubstituted forFredericksat 90+2′minutes
  • 10LanziniSubstituted forNobleat 63′minutes
  • 11LingardSubstituted forBenrahmaat 82′minutes
  • 20Bowen

Substitutes

  • 9Benrahma
  • 14Alves
  • 16Noble
  • 18Fornals
  • 24Fredericks
  • 25Martin
  • 45Odubeko
  • 54Coventry
  • 75Baptiste

Sheff Utd

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Ramsdale
  • 6BashamBooked at 39mins
  • 12EganSubstituted forJagielkaat 85′minutes
  • 22Ampadu
  • 20Bogle
  • 7LundstramBooked at 87mins
  • 16NorwoodSubstituted forMcBurnieat 62′minutes
  • 23Osborn
  • 3Stevens
  • 17McGoldrick
  • 10Sharp

Substitutes

  • 2Baldock
  • 9McBurnie
  • 13Lowe
  • 14Burke
  • 15Jagielka
  • 18Foderingham
  • 24Brewster
  • 29Bryan
  • 35Maguire

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