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  • By Alessandro Schiavone

West Ham on the cusp of a historic 'double' after edging Fulham 1-0 in London derby

by Alessandro Schiavone at Craven Cottage

Fulham 0-1 West Ham

An own-goal by Harrison Reed did the job for West Ham United in this west versus east London derby against free-falling Fulham at Craven Cottage. 


That was the fourth “must-win” game for West Ham and they remarkably added to their victories over Everton, Nottingham Forest and Southampton. 


In doing so they have made a giant leap towards safety, opening up a three-point gap on 18th-placed Forest and Everton with either side losing this weekend. 


Fulham meanwhile don’t seem to know how to arrest their current blip.. euh pardon, slide having now lost their last five games across all competitions.

Their good start to the season is at risk of fizzling out. The reasons? Aleksandar Mitrovic’s absence and the fact they’ve got nothing really to play for appears to be costing them in terms of killer edge and hunger respectively. 


On the other hand, the Hammers have too good a squad to go down and today they answered their fans’ prayers by winning their second game in the space of six days. Not a bad return at all.

And what a way this was for Moyes to get the Toon drubbing out of everyone’s system and silence his detractors. 


And while the trigger has already been pulled on 12 of the 20 Premier League managers that started the season, he’s still in the job. And it won’t change any time soon as the Hammers are on the cusp of maintaining their top-flight status all while looking like the team to beat in the UEFA Conference League where they’ve won 10 of their last 10 games. Doing the “double” and ending their 24-year wait for a major trophy would make it one of their best-ever campaigns. 


As for today, the Scot made some changes. In came Vladimir Coufal and Angelo Ogbonna for Thilo Kehrer and Nayef Aguerd to inject some much-needed steel and fighting spirit. 


A superb ball-winning tackle by Declan Rice on Willian showed the mood the Hammers were in, still angered by their mid-week blow.

Yet the Englishman's counterpart Pailhina responded with an equallly hard tackle on Fornals.

Both players were a huge presence for their sides in the middle of the park, both in terms of leadership and tenacity.

But despite Fulham starting the brighter, it was West Ham who got their noses in front when Reed bundled Jarrod Bowen's cutback into his own net.

The pass flicked off the backtracking midfielder'S backheel as West Ham nicked a fortunate opener.

Fulham tried to respond through Antonee Robinson but his swerving effort dipped on the wrong side of the crossbar. 


West Ham played the waiting game, looking to exploit the spaces Fulham left in behind

Bowen intercepted a poor back pass by Willian before settong up Ings. But his effort was too central to worry Leno.

The German repeated the feat when he denied Maxwell Cornet through on goal after the American Tim Ream cheaply gave the ball away.


Heroically, Fabianski made sure of the points when he sped off his line to thwart Andreas Pereira late on.

That was a confidence-restoring win and West Ham can look forward to their quarter-final away first-leg at Gent on Thursday knowing that they have all the credentials to turn whatever they will be touching into gold in the next couple of months.

By and large this was a classic 2019 and 2021 performance by Fulham. And if the Cottagers are not careful all of this season's achievements can quickly fade from the collective conosciousness.


Fulham Leno, Tosin, Reed, Soares, Ream, Decordova Reid, Pereira, Willian, Palhinha, Vinicius, Robinson 


West Ham United Lukasz Fabianski; Vladimir Coufal, Kurt Zouma, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell; Jarrod Bowen, Tomas Soucek, Declan Rice, Pablo Fornals; Danny Ings, Michail Antonio 





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