3 league wins in 8 days, Hammers challenging top 4

Having proceeded to the sixth round of the FA Cup with a convincing 5-1 win over Blackburn Rovers, in their next league game last weekend, West Ham faced their former manager’s team Sunderland before a mid-week London derby against Tottenham and a difficult away game at Everton. Three league wins within eight days now have propelled the Hammers within one point of the top four.

1-0 against Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland

It was not one of West Ham’s best games this season, but Michail Antonio‘s first half strike was enough to secure a win against struggling Sunderland. The versatile player who had come from Nottingham Forest last autumn put in another man of the match performance and celebrated his goal with a breakdancing effort inspired by a Homer Simpson movie (left; http://www.whufc.com/News/Articles/2016/February/27-February/Antonio-It-was-a-Simpsons-tribute!#Ma0fX80uGPWUteAl.99).

Famous win under the lights against Spurs

The next game on Wednesday night was a London derby. Tottenham Hotspurs came to east London for their very last visit to the Boleyn Ground, and they were sent home with a defeat preventing them from going top of the Premier League table.  The decisive goal in the 1-0 win was scored in the seventh minute, and once again the scorer was Michail Antonio (#30, below) who was voted man of the match for a second game in a row.
On BBC this heart warming report from Wednesday’s game under the lights (http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/35647651) could be read after West Ham’s win:

Boleyn Ground will be sadly missed

“Just turn right out of Upton Park station and on to Queen Street and you get the instant flavour of what makes the Boleyn Ground so special.

Vibrant, busy and with all the sights, sounds and smells of one of the great traditional old English football arenas – an arena that will sadly soon close its doors forever.

There are only five more Premier League games here (and the possibility of an FA Cup replay against Manchester United should West Ham draw at Old Trafford) before they make the short journey to the Olympic Stadium for next season.

And how this venue will be missed. Time moves on and West Ham have been presented with a perfect opportunity to progress, but night games in particular are very special here in east London.

The home fans give the ground a thunderous atmosphere from before kick-off, when the bubbles machine accompanies the club’s old anthem ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ and continues non-stop in a relentless, intense environment.

The Hammers will lose something when they leave here, as it remains one of the great landmarks of English Football.”

Coming from behind and winning 3-2 at Everton

 Three days later at Everton’s Goodison Park the Hammers were again the winning side: “Scoring three goals in the last 12 minutes to snatch victory from looming defeat is no mean feat – even against 10 men”, wrote the BBC about West Ham’s first away win at Goodison after 11 years ( http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/35675847 ).

It was a brilliant coup by West Ham manager Slaven Bilic: With his side 1-0 down at half-time , Bilic committed to setting up his side to attack – despite the obvious danger the Toffees posed on the break through Lukaku. And in fact, the Toffees took a 2-0 win after the break, but when Lukaku missed a penalty which would have decided the match, the Hammers started an almost unbelieveable comeback.

Striker Andy Carroll had been introduced for 17-year-old defender Oxford, and two further changes soon followed. First it was Antonio who scored the 1-2, but the major driving force of the Hammers’ turnaround were Dimitri Payet and Diafra Sakho who is back from an injury.

This season the Frenchman, who had been voted London’s Premier League Player of the Year some days ago, has arguably been West Ham’s best player and at Goodison Park his influence was vital, crossing for Sakho‘s leveller before turning home from Sakho’s cool back-heel flick inside the box for a late winner (left) which moved West Ham within one point of the top four ( http://www.whufc.com/Fixtures/First-Team/League-Table ).

The next game is an FA Cup sixth round tie away at Old Trafford next Sunday. If West Ham win against Manchester United the Hammers would have beaten Arsenal, Liverpool (twice), ManCity, Chelsea, Tottenham and ManUnited within this season which already has turned out to be one of the best in West Ham’s history! And the Irons would Play at Wembley in the FA Cup semifinal on 23 or 24 April.

Totteham match Report: http://www.whufc.com/News/Articles/2016/March/2-March/Tottenham-Hotspur-report

Match report from Everton (West Ham till I die): https://www.westhamtillidie.com/posts/2016/03/05/everton-2-west-ham-3-joy-happiness-fun-that-s-our-west-ham-now

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