Tomas Soucek on target as West Ham boost Champions League push with Wolves win

Tomas Soucek scored the only goal of the game as West Ham’s push for a Champions League spot was handed a boost following a 1-0 Premier League victory over Wolves.

David Moyes had admitted before the match he would like more goals from Michail Antonio and Soucek, before the pair linked up for the Hammers’ only goal of the game.

Antonio heeded his manager’s words, playing in Soucek in front of goal, which was then tapped home by the Czech Republic international to give West Ham the lead and ultimately, the three points.

The Hammers had slipped down to sixth before the game, having taken just five points from their previous five matches but bounced back against Bruno Lage’s men to move above Arsenal into fifth place.

Wolves, who were mostly forced to resort to trying their luck from distance, struggled to test Lukasz Fabianski in the West Ham net and finished with just one shot on target.

Wolves have struggled in the final third this season – with only Burnley and Norwich scoring fewer – and always struggled to break down the Hammers, with Kurt Zouma a defensive stalwart in the home side’s backline.

The game started in cagey fashion with neither side having clear-cut chances, but it was West Ham who had the first significant opportunity when Jarrod Bowen ran through the Wolves defense before playing in Antonio, but the forward was unable to reach the ball before the goalkeeper.

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Kurt Zouma (right) and Aaron Cresswell celebrate
Kurt Zouma (right) and Aaron Cresswell celebrated West Ham’s narrow win (Nigel French/PA)

Jose Sa had to make a sharp save in the 29th minute to deny Antonio after he was played in by Soucek, with the West Ham number nine still searching for his first goal since New Year’s Day.

Manuel Lanzini, who was brought into the side in place of Said Benrahma, also tried his luck from a distance but it was straight at Jose Sa.

Moments later, the home side edged closer to the breakthrough when Declan Rice curred the ball goalwards from distance, only for it to rebound off the post.

West Ham were the only side threatening, but the hosts were unable to make the breakthrough, with another good move put into the side netting by Lanzini.

However, just before half-time, the visitors had their best chance of the half when West Ham were unable to clear the ball which fell to Hwang Hee-Chan who took his shot but fired just wide.

Just after the break, Francisco Trincao tried his luck from outside the area after being played in on the edge of the box, but his attempt failed to trouble Fabianski.

West Ham eventually broke the deadlock just before the hour mark as Aaron Cresswell played in Antonio down the left side of the goal. The number nine then turned and sent the ball across goal for Soucek to poke into the back of the net from close range.

The home side almost doubled their lead after 74 minutes with Cresswell again making the key run down the left, but the ball was scrambled away by the Wolves defense and the game finished 1-0.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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