Sebastian Haller's 25-yard rocket gave West Ham victory over Sheffield United who remain stuck at the bottom of the Premier League.
With danger man Michail Antonio not fit in time for the match, Haller was given a chance to prove himself and his effort 11 minutes into the second half must be as hard as any ball struck in the Premier League this season. Though Aaron Ramsdale got a hand to the ball he could not divert it wide of the post.
The Blades were a little unfortunate with two efforts that hit the woodwork, David McGoldrick's header from a corner just before the break and Ollie McBurnie when clear through in the second half, just after Declan Rice's header smacked the crossbar at the other end.
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After a good first quarter-hour from the hosts, West Ham did look the better side though and just about deserved to edge the encounter.
The win lifts West Ham up to eighth in the table, while the Blades will now look ahead to a massive six-pointer at West Brom next weekend.
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West Brom hold the record for the lowest points to stay in the Premier League, when they achieved 34 in the ‘Great Escape’ season in 2004/05.
If you extrapolate the current form of the bottom four for this season, their total points figure would be half this.
The Blades could have leapfrogged Fulham to take the valuable 17th spot if they won this game by two goals, but even scoring one goal seems a tough ask for Chris Wilder's side now.
Next week’s match at West Brom now takes on enormous proportions. With these sides, plus Burnley, seemingly a long way behind the rest of the Premier League crop, this four-way mini-league looks like deciding which of these, likely undeserving, teams will stay up.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Declan Rice
At times last season as West Ham were toiling, it was possible to question whether Rice had been overrated as he failed to have much impact on the side.
Now a secure regular in the England side and with a solid defence behind him and attacking options on the flanks he looks the full package in midfield.
He will always be a solid position in front of defence and spreading play but he now has the confidence and freedom to carry the ball downfield and set up play.
One such run that should have resulted in a goal saw him race fully forty yards before teeing up Arthur Masuaku to square for Haller who should have added his second of the match.
He looks well on track to become the complete midfielder.
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Sheffield United: Ramsdale 6, Basham 7, Egan 7, Ampadu 6, Baldock 7, Berge 5, Norwood 6, Fleck 6, Lowe 6, McGoldrick 5, McBurnie 5.
Subs: Robinson 6, Brewster 6, Lundstram 6.
West Ham: Fabianski 6, Balbuena 6, Ogbonna 7, Cresswell 7, Coufal 6, Rice 8*, Soucek 6, Masuaku 7, Bowen 7, Haller 7, Fornals 7.
Subs: Lanzini 6, Noble 6.
76’ The bar is struck again! Brewster plays a lovely cross-field ball to put McBurnie through but though he strikes the ball well, and has Fabianski beaten, it comes back off the bar.
73’ So close from Rice! He scored a header for England and nearly did here as he met Cresswell's corner at the near post but his effort smacked against the bar.
56’ GOAL! That is a great hit from Haller. Ramsdale had no chance. Bowen dribbled to the edge of the box where Fornals' attempted shot was blocked. The ball then rolled to the German striker whose shot was a howitzer. Ramsdale did get a hand to the ball but could not divert its path enough and it flew into the net.
43’ So close! Egan won the corner and McGoldrick flicked on hitting the foot of the post. Berge then looked to turn home but was in an offside position.
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