West Ham United 3-1 Fulham: Hammers despatch struggling Cottagers
Photo: Copa/Getty Images - Harriet Lander

West Ham United 3-1 Fulham: Hammers despatch struggling Cottagers

West Ham faced and beat Fulham by a two goal margin at the London Stadium.

Alan Rzepa
SCORE0-1, MIN. 3, BABEL. 1-1, MIN. 29, HERNANDEZ. 2-1, MIN. 40, DIOP. 3-1, MIN. 90, ANTONIO.

West Ham only confirmed their top half status by beating the very highly struggling Fulham at home.

With both teams having only six points out of the last six games they were looking the snatch the three points and break the tough streak - and it were the Hammers who came out on top.

Ryan Babel opened the scoring inside the first five minutes, but goals from Javier Hernandez and Issa Diop put West Ham ahead, with Michail Antonio ultimately grabbing the game for the hosts.

Story of the game

The Hammers came into the game wanting to lower their gap to Wolves sitting in the seventh place, which in case of one of top six winning the FA Cup secures a spot in UEFA Europa League qualifiers.

On the other hand Fulham, who have the worst defensive record in the league while sitting second bottom of the table with an eight point deficit to the 17th place which would've guaranteed them survival were looking to break their horrendous streak without a single away win this season.

In the second minute Babel managed to break through on goal after a horrific back pass from Pablo Zabaleta but his shot was straight at Łukasz Fabiański.

Just a minute later the ex-Liverpool forward received a cross from Ryan Sessegnon and managed to steer it into the net, putting his side one goal up.

The next 20-or-so minutes weren't eventful as both teams were struggling to break their respective midfield lines, although it were West Ham who were getting the most of the game.

On the half-hour mark a ball whipped in by Robert Snodgrass didn't got cleared by Fulham's defence, fell onto the head of Angelo Ogbonna who's managed to find Chicharito who converted the pass with a little bit of a luck, as the ball instead of bounced off of his hand instead of his head, and put the sides level.

And it wasn't the end of the threat coming from West Ham's corners, as just eleven minutes later another cross one came in finding Issa Diop's head on it's path and going into the back of the net, putting the Hammers ahead.

Unfortunately Sergio Rico couldn't get to his near post on time as he was too busy unnecessarily pushing Hernandez away, which on another day could've been a penalty.

In the second half both sides were pushing each other while trying to scrape another goal, but obviously for different reasons. 

For the most part of the half the all the supporters had to cheer were the substitutions of Ryan FredericksMarko Arnautovic and the heavily missed Manuel Lanzini.

And it was the second one who was involved in the goal that killed the Cottagers' chance of a draw. Arnautovic managed to break into the box, crossed the ball towards Antonio who put the ball out of Rico's reach with a powerful header - one of his most recognizable traits - surrounded by clueless-looking defenders in white shirts.


Manuel Lanzini's comeback

After a wonderful end of 2017/18 season the Argentine midfielder was called up to The Albiceleste's 2018 World Cup squad, but unfortunately on a fortnight of the tournament he suffered an ACL injury. Eight months later and "The Jewel" is back and running, hoping to be the one missing piece to Manuel Pellegrini's European puzzle. 

Michail Antonio's form

Not so long ago the most of West Ham's fan base wanted him gone, but the ex-Reading winger rediscovered his excellent form he had been missing since the end of the 2016/17 season. Two goals and one assist in the last three games are hopefully a good sign for the winger's future.

Man of the Match

Declan Rice

The now-English midfielder has been astonishing for the most of the season now, and he has put in another fantastic performance. Six tackles, three interceptions, 13 ball recoveries while giving up zero fouls shows how good the 20-year-old was, yet again.