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Mohammed Kudus at the double as impressive West Ham brush aside Wolves

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 17 Dec 2023

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A first-half brace from Mohammed Kudus helped West Ham make it seven wins from nine matches with a 3-0 victory over Wolves.

Summer recruit Kudus scored against Freiburg on Thursday to help David Moyes’ team top their Europa League group and this latest result was further evidence the recent thrashing at Fulham was an anomaly.

Kudus’ third and fourth goals in his last five matches set West Ham on their way and, while Wolves attacker Pablo Sarabia had a 58th-minute effort ruled out for a marginal offside by VAR Jarred Gillett, the hosts deserved their victory, with Jarrod Bowen rounding off the scoring 16 minutes from time.

Moyes again made minimal changes from their midweek win, but the visitors were without number one Jose Sa due to a shoulder injury.

Back-up goalkeeper Dan Bentley was thrust into action and tipped over a Bowen delivery from one of the three corners won by the home side early on.

Matheus Cunha tested Hammers keeper Lukas Fabianski with a snapshot in the 12th minute, but it was West Ham doing most of the pressing.

Lucas Paqueta arrowed an effort wide before a 30-yard free kick by James Ward-Prowse was comfortable for Bentley.

Wolves ventured forward to force their first corner after 22 minutes, but, in an unfortunate twist of fate, it contributed towards West Ham’s opener.

After Craig Dawson’s flick-on was cleared by Emerson, Moyes’ side broke at pace and Paqueta found Kudus, who carried the ball before he cut inside and rifled home with his left foot from 25 yards.

It was a deserved breakthrough and, while Gary O’Neil’s team set about trying to restore parity, with Fabianski tipping wide Cunha’s curler before Jean-Ricner Bellegarde had a shot blocked, they were undone again in the 32nd minute.

Kurt Zouma intercepted Mario Lemina’s pass and within seconds a Paqueta through-ball which was left by Bowen allowed Kudus another sight at goal, with the former Ajax attacker able to slot home with his right foot.

Wolves had been punished for losing their shape twice before a frantic period ahead of half-time saw Bowen’s low strike hit a post and a flurry of cautions handed out.

O’Neil received a yellow card himself, not long after West Ham full-back Vladimir Coufal escaped punishment for catching Bellegarde with his arm, to compound a miserable first 45 minutes for the away side.

The visitors’ intent after the break was much improved and, after Hwang Hee-chan had a shot deflected wide, they thought they had reduced deficit in the 58th minute when Sarabia tapped home.

Yet O’Neil’s mood quickly returned to frustration when a three-minute VAR check deemed Sarabia had been marginally offside from Nelson Semedo’s cross.

It denied Wolves’ a superb team goal and, while they regrouped admirably as Cunha and Lemina fired off target soon after, West Ham hit them with a sucker-punch in the 74th minute.

Bowen exchanged passes with Paqueta and put on the afterburners to speed past Dawson before he tucked his finish into the corner for his 10th goal of the season.

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