Lacklustre Hammers are floored by Fulham

Brian Jeeves

West Ham United v Fulham – Premier League – London Stadium – Report

West Ham United 0-2 Fulham 

West Ham United provided a flat and lifeless performance as capital rivals Fulham recorded a comfortable Premier League victory at the London Stadium thanks to a goal in each half from Andreas Pereira.

The East Londoners were beaten 5-0 at Craven Cottage back in December: “The last time we played Fulham we were well beaten by a good team, no doubt about that, and we know we’re up against a good side, a good manager, and we’ll have to play really well,” Hammers boss, David Moyes explained.

“Fulham have got a lot of really good players and we’ll have to be at our best.

“Every time I see Fulham, I expect to see a really good footballing side.

They play very well out from the back, they are always a threat to lots of sides because they have so many good aspects to their game.

“I think they are a hard team for any side to face, and they’ve proved that this season.”

Moyes made three changes to the side beaten by Bayer Leverkusen, bringing in Edson Álvarez, Nayef Aguerd, and Danny Ings for Tomáš Souček, Kurt Zouma and Aaron Cresswell.

The home side should have been ahead inside four minutes. Michail Antonio blasted over from close range after Fulham stopper, Bend Leno had initially thwarted Vladimir Coufal.

Mohammed Kudus sent an angled attempt over, while Lucas Paqueta drilled into the side netting. But it was Fulham to took the lead with their first foray forward when Pereira seized on an error from Konstantinos Mavropannos before firing home from close range.

Joao Palhinha made a smart save from Lukasz Fabianski as Fulham looked to profit. Indeed, the atmosphere had become somewhat agitated. James Ward-Prowse attempted to lift the mood but found Leno’s midriff with an attempt from distance.

But Fulham appeared comfortable. Pereira drilled directly at Fabianski and Palhinha curled wide. In between, Coufal’s strike was wayward as the home side continued to flounder.

West Ham United’s Mohammed Kudus attempts an overhead kick during the Premier League match with Fulham at London Stadium Rob Newell CameraSport)

Fabianski used his feet to deny Willian. The Pole then clung to Rodrigo Muniz’s attempt as Fulham turned the screw. Ward-Prowse headed over late in the half. However, the West Londoners were good value for their lead at the stage of the contest.

Indeed, it was insipid stuff from the home side, much to the frustration of the discontented audience. Fabianski saved low to his right, preventing Alex Iwobi from doubling the Cottagers lead ten minutes after the restart.

Danny Ings ran into heavy traffic, then sent another attempt over as the home side continued to toil fruitlessly. Moyes replaced Coufal and Ward-Prowse with Johnson and Soucek in a bid to inject some life into his side. But before they could make an impact, Iwobi picked out Pereira to double his and Fulham’s account from close range.

A sizable percentage of the Hammers support headed for the exits. They missed 18-year-old George Earthy handed an opportunity. The Haveroing-born midfielder replaced the ineffective Antonio for his Premier League debut.

However, concerns heightened when Earthy went down with what appeared to be a serious head injury. Following lengthy treatment, the youngster was stretchered from the field to be replaced by Maxwel Cornet. 

The defeat left West Ham in eighth place. They now turn their attention to the UEFA Europa League when Bayer 04 Leverkusen visit the London Stadium on Thursday, April 18 for a second-leg tie (8pm).

West Ham: Fabianski, Coufal (Johnson 69′), Mavropanos (Zouma 60′), Aguerd, Emerson, Álvarez, Ward-Prowse (Soucek 69′), Kudus, Ings, Lucas Paquetá, Antonio (Earthy 82′) (Cornet 91′) Subs not used: Cresswell, Ogbonna, Soucek, Mubama, Anang

Booked: Paqueta (foul)

Goals: None

Fulham FC: Leno, Castagne, Tosin, Bassey, Robinson, João Palhinha (Reed 98′), Lukić, Iwobi (Wilson 74′), Andreas Pereira (De Cordova-Reid 74′), Willian (Traoré 92′), Rodrigo Muniz (Broja 92′) Subs not used: Rodák, Jiménez, Cairney, Diop

Booked: Pereira (foul), De Cordova-Reid (foul)

Goals: Pereira 9′, 72′

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Assistants: Harry Lennard and James Mainwaring

Fourth Official: Michael Salisbury

VAR: Darren England

Assistant VAR: Wade Smith

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk