The boat full of West Ham fans taking the scenic route to Craven Cottage created an almighty crashing noise when it accidentally struck Hammersmith Bridge before kick-off. Thankfully, the Grade II-listed structure was sturdy enough to withstand the blow.
The same could not be said for West Ham’s defence. There was no steel to be seen here. Only a mangled attempt at securing their first Premier League away clean sheet of the season.
Fulham games practically come with a guarantee of goals. There was the 3-2 win over Wolves, the 4-3 loss at Liverpool, the 5-0 humiliation of Nottingham Forest. Now this, a trouncing of West Ham which demonstrated the confidence that is coursing through Marco Silva’s team.
There were goals from Willian, Tosin Adarabioyo, Harry Wilson and Carlos Vinicius, but it is particularly good to see Raul Jimenez scoring again. He now has four in his last five Premier League games, that life-threatening skull fracture in 2020 having previously limited his powers.
Jimenez and Co are fearing no one and Fulham, who were winless in their last 11 London derbies in the Premier League, leaped up to 10th with this victory.
West Ham remain ninth and by full-time, ‘Moyes out’ was trending on social media. David Moyes will hope this was a one-off, not helped by the fact his defence was depleted. Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola was injured, while left back Emerson and defensive midfielder Edson Alvarez were too ill to start. Yet the ease with which Fulham tore through the visitors was worrying in the extreme.
West Ham might have taken the lead after five minutes if it was not for Bernd Leno. When Joao Palhinha fouled Mohammed Kudus 35 yards from goal, you suspected it was too far out to shoot, even for James Ward-Prowse. How wrong we were.
Ward-Prowse struck it true, hoping this was the one to equal David Beckham’s record of 18 Premier League free-kicks, but Bernd Leno made a flying save.
From then on, it was the Fulham show. Jimenez’s delicate ball in behind found Willian in the 15th minute but Lukasz Fabianski made the save – one of the few he was able to stop here.
Fulham took the lead in the 22nd minute when Palhinha produced a peach of a cross for Jimenez, positioned between Nayef Aguerd and Aaron Cresswell. Fabianski could only watch as the header flew by him for 1-0.
It was 2-0 after 31 minutes when Aguerd gave away possession while trying to play out from the back. Silva’s men surged forward with Alex Iwobi’s shot being pushed away by Fabianski. The ball came back into the box from Andreas Pereira. There was a swing and a miss from Iwobi, but not from Willian as he found for the far corner.
In the 39th minute, West Ham had a chance to get a goal back and it fell to the man they trust most in front of goal. Jarrod Bowen had scored in his last seven Premier League games on the road in succession. He has been their away-day assassin. But Bowen’s volley was too close to Leno as Fulham’s goalkeeper collected the ball comfortably.
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In the 41st minute, it was 3-0. How simple it was, too. A corner from Pereira, a header from Adarabioyo, with weak marking from Kurt Zouma.
Not since 2012 had Fulham won three Premier League games at home on the trot but it would take a collapse of Devon Loch proportions for them to throw this victory away.
Moyes replaced Pablo Fornals with Emerson and Cresswell with Konstantinos Mavropanos for the second half. It was with damage limitation in mind, you suspected, as the 60-year-old Scot wore a face of fury in his technical area.
Fulham immediately went back to controlling the game and Wilson should have scored when he rolled Zouma but failed to beat Fabianski. That was the easy chance.
Then came the harder one, as Wilson scored a curler from 25 yards to make it 4-0 in the 60th minute. That was the cue for some West Ham supporters to head home.
They missed Fulham completing this 5-0 rout as Wilson broke behind before unselfishly squaring for Vinicius to tap in. West Ham looked for an offside flag that would never come. ‘Champions of Europe? You’re having a laugh,’ sang the home support.
After the high of that win over Tottenham came the low of this loss to Fulham. West Ham have work to do ahead of facing Freiburg in the Europa League on Thursday.
Post source: Daily mail