Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-3 West Ham: Jesse Lingard stunner helps Hammers to win

Jesse Lingard

West Ham captain Mark Noble says the Hammers have nothing to lose in the race to secure Champions League football after victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers moved them into the Premier League’s top four.

After racing into a three-goal lead during a brilliant opening 40 minutes, the Hammers held off a Wolves fightback to secure a win that moves them above Chelsea with eight games remaining.

The only negative for David Moyes’ side was the early withdrawal of Michail Antonio through injury, with the striker to be assessed in the coming days.

But the Hammers showed real character following his departure to secure the win, and Noble says the squad are determined to fight for a top-four finish.

“We said two or three weeks ago that when we get to single figures in games left we can have a right go, because we have nothing to lose and we can go for it,” he said.

“Let’s hope it’s a great [season]. We have eight games to go and we’re in fourth We’re mixing it with the top teams.”

On-loan Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard was in inspired form as the Hammers tore Wolves apart in the first half, scoring a fine solo goal and playing a part in the other two as the visitors raced into a 3-0 lead.

After running from inside his own half for the opener, he produced a brilliant flick on the byline to find Arthur Masuaku, whose low cross was turned in first time by Pablo Fornals, before then leading a quick counter to tee up substitute Jarrod Bowen to drive in the third.

Moyes’ side had let slip a 3-0 lead in their previous game against Arsenal to draw 3-3 and they looked in danger of a repeat when Leander Dendoncker headed home just before half-time and substitute Fabio Silva rolled in a fine strike midway through the second half to reduce the deficit to one goal.

West Ham dropped deep as they tried to hold on to their slender advantage, and although Wolves dominated the closing stages they could not find a way through for a third time.

Moyes, like Noble, believes there is no reason why West Ham cannot stay in the fight for a top-four finish.

“I am hearing pundits talking about West Ham having a chance of Champions League,” he said.

“Nobody would have envisaged or mentioned that last season. Can we keep it going? We are going to try and compete with the big teams right until the end.”

Lingard shines as West Ham eye Champions League

Few would likely have expected Lingard, who had fallen out of form and out of favour at Manchester United, to prove to be one of the signings of the January transfer window when he made the switch to the Hammers.

But since the move he has not just developed into an integral part of Moyes’ side but also into one of the most in-form players in the Premier League.

He scored two goals on his West Ham debut and now has six in eight league appearances, with his form having propelled him back into the England set-up at just the right time with the European Championships coming up this summer.

Opta graphic for Jesse Lingard's goal

His latest strike was undoubtedly a goal of the season contender as he picked the ball up from halfway and slalomed his way past stunned Wolves players before finishing clinically.

Since he joined West Ham only Harry Kane (nine) has been involved in as many goals as Lingard and his arrival has undoubtedly played a key role in ensuring the Hammers are very much in the conversation for a finish in the Champions League places.

“I was telling him how well he has played,” Moyes said of speaking to Lingard at full-time.

“I’m probably a manager who doesn’t say that very often, but he deserved that after his performance.”

Wolves left with too much to do

Since returning to the Premier League Wolves have often found themselves in the battle for the European places, but a disappointing and inconsistent campaign this time round means that their campaign is spluttering towards a mid-table finish.

Injuries have certainly not helped Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, with Raul Jimenez having been ruled out for much of the season with a fractured skull while they were dealt another blow before this game with the news that wing-back Jonny is out for the rest of the campaign with an ACL injury.

Jimenez’s absence has been particularly telling as Wolves have struggled for goals without him – only Burnley had scored fewer than Wolves’ 29 in the Premier League prior to this fixture.

The three conceded in the first half against West Ham ultimately left them with too much to do but there were some positives for Wolves in the second half, none more so than performance of Fabio Silva.

The 18-year-old has only scored three goals this season but his latest was his best and a reminder of the exciting talent he possesses as he produced a great first touch to control an excellent Pedro Neto pass before finishing clinically.

“When you don’t have the same players everything is not the same and it becomes harder,” said Nuno.

“The reaction was good but we started very bad. Conceding three goals against a top team like West Ham makes it very difficult to reverse the result.”

Wolves are back in Premier League action on Friday, 9 April (20:00 BST) when they travel to Fulham while West Ham host Leicester on Sunday, 11 April (14:05 BST).

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