West Ham United 1 (Soucek 59) Wolves 0
Wolves fell to their second Premier League defeat in the capital in just four days as Bruno Lage’s men succumbed to West Ham United in a game which will not live long in the memory.
Despite being under the cosh for much of the first-half, Wolves went into the break level and came out looking the stronger of the sides, but West Ham struck the crucial blow just before the hour mark when Tomas Soucek diverted the ball into the net from close range.
Wolves were looking to bounce back from disappointment at Arsenal three days previously when they headed across the capital to face West Ham, but having made five changes to the side which walked out at the London Stadium, it took Wolves quite a while to warm-up.
This allowed the Hammers to have the best opportunities of a first-half which won’t live long in the memory. Many of the host’s opportunities were coming down the wide areas, with West Ham looking to exploit an area where Wolves had made a change, switching to a new wing-back pairing of Ki-Jana Hoever and Marcal, but their crosses were comfortable for the defence.
Jose Sa was called into action sparingly before the break, with the keeper doing well to catch a Jarrod Bowen effort. He also got a strong hand on Michail Antonio’s effort from a tight angle after the forward get in between the Wolves defence.
West Ham also saw an Aaron Cresswell free-kick fly narrowly wide of the post, before Declan Rice came closest to open the scoring when his curling effort from just outside the penalty area cannoned back off the corner of crossbar and post.
With the game heading towards the half-time break, Wolves had their best opportunity to taking a lead which many inside the stadium would have felt was very much underserved. A free-kick was only half-cleared and Francisco Trincao found Hee Chan Hwang on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot curled just beyond the post.
Half-time | West Ham 0-0 Wolves
Wolves began the second period as the stronger of the two sides, but they were unable to make their pressure tell, with the gold shirts coming up short in the final third after neat interplay. The best of which fell the way of Trincao, but the Portuguese winger could not direct a shot on target.
The hosts still carried the threat they posed in the opening stages and took the lead on 59 minutes. From a throw-in, the ball found its way to Cresswell, who played in Antonio and his cross was met by an unmarked Soucek, who had the easiest of jobs to tap the ball in from six yards out.
Lage attempted to make an immediate response by bringing Daniel Podence into the game in place of Trincao and it almost paid dividends as Silva was given an opportunity to level, but his shot was deflected behind by a claret and blue shirt.
Wolves were fortunate not to find themselves further behind and relied on Sa to produce a top-class save to deny Bowen from close-range when the striker was played through on goal, while gold and black bodies were put on the line to deny Manuel Lanzini and Rice from making it two for the hosts.
As the second-half went on, Wolves brought reinforcements onto the field in the form of Pedro Neto and Raul Jimenez as they pushed everything forward in search for an equaliser, but despite having much of the ball in the final 10 minutes of the game, West Ham were camped inside their own half and made it hard for the visitors to break them down.
Instead, Wolves were restricted to long-range efforts from Coady and Neves, while crosses into the box were comfortably gathered by Fabianski, who managed to secure the hosts all three points.
Full-time | West Ham 1-0 Wolves
West Ham | Fabianski, Johnson, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Fornals (Diop 90), Lanzini, Bowen, Antonio (Vlasic 90).
Unused subs | Areola, Alese, Kral, Perkins, Noble, Okoflex, Benrahma.
Wolves | Sa, Hoever, Kilman, Coady, Saiss, Marcal (Neto 76), Neves, Dendoncker, Trincao (Podence 60), Hwang (Jimenez 81), Silva.
Unused subs | Ruddy, Boly, Jonny, Ait-Nouri, Moutinho, Cundle.
Referee | Anthony Taylor