West Ham last played in Europe in 2016/17, but failed to make it through the Europa League play-offs
Declan Rice’s well-executed penalty and Issa Diop’s header helped move West Ham to fourth after Sheffield United’s Premier League hopes of survival suffered a significant setback.
Chris Basham’s lunge against Jesse Lingard helped the Hammers climb over Liverpool and Chelsea to a sixth win in ten top matches.
Rice made no mistake on the spot before Diop, who had been sent off with a head injury in his previous game, doubled Aaron Cresswell’s corner lead.
Substitute Ryan Fredericks added a third goal in added time.
Sheffield United, 14 points from safety, 14 games to go, almost leveled 1-0, only Lukasz Fabianski scored an outstanding save to keep David McGoldrick’s deflected header away.
West Ham had received an early sentence when Craig Dawson was fouled by Enda Stevens and referee Simon Hooper pointed to the point, but the decision was overturned after a VAR consultation.
Chelsea will return via West Ham if they beat Newcastle on kick-off at 20:00 GMT but this was another successful performance from David Moyes’ side.
Is Europe waving to the hammers?
West Ham 3-0 Sheffield United: The pressure of the top four brings a smile to David Moyes
West Ham’s phenomenal form after last season’s fight shows no sign of getting out of hand.
Having spent the last season in a relegation battle, the Hammers are now in the Champions League, two points ahead of champions Liverpool, and there are 14 games left.
When Harry Redknapps class finished fifth in the top division of English football from 1998-99, they collected 57 points.
Defeating the Blades brought Moyes’ team to 42 points and another 42 to play for. In the next season they must be seen as serious competitors for Europe.
Their last win came in a moment of madness and a moment of brilliance – Basham’s awkward foul on Lingard and Fabianski saved McGoldrick 1-0.
Fabianski had a busier game than he would have liked, while Aaron Ramsdale took on Vladimir Coufal at the other end after just beating the goalkeeper.
But Fredericks sealed a polished team ad with the third after gracious support from his substitute colleague Said Benrahma.
With injured striker Michail Antonio, West Ham is looking neat with the end of the season approaching.
Blades look doomed
West Ham 3-0 Sheffield United: Chris Wilder says the result is a “massive step backwards”.
Sheffield United has shown signs of struggle in recent weeks with wins against Manchester United, Newcastle and West Brom.
Few can complain about the result at the London Stadium.
They were again authors of their own fall, Basham’s clear foul on Lingard – and Rice’s resulting penalty – ruined their brilliant start.
McGoldrick was lively but after Diop’s header scored the 2-0, the Blades gave Fredericks time and space to drill the third home goal.
On a night of few positive results, defender John Egan left the field with one leg protected.
After a defeat in the 19th division, the Blades face a return to the championship.
Make a point – the statistics
- It wasn’t until 1983-84 (43) and 1985-86 (48) that West Ham had more points on the board during this phase of a high profile campaign.
- No team has scored more goals in the Premier League this season than Sheffield United (12, level with Burnley).
- West Ham won 19 points in the Premier League in 2021 – only Manchester City (27 points) scored more points in the calendar year.
- The Blades have conceded the first goal of the game in 18 Premier League games this season – more than any other team.
- No team has scored more goals from corners of the Premier League this season than West Ham (eight, level with Chelsea).
- The Declan Rice goal made West Ham the 20th and final team to score a penalty in the Premier League that season.
Sheffield United return to London for a big game with Fulham on Saturday (20:00 GMT) before West Ham host Tottenham in a London derby on Sunday (12:00).
Player of the game
West Ham United
- 31JohnsonReplaced byFredericksat the 90 + 2 ‘protocol
- 10LanziniReplaced byNobleat the 63 ‘protocol
- 11LingardReplaced byBenrahmaat the 82 ‘protocol
- 6thBashamBooked at 39 minutes
- 12EganReplaced byJagielkaat the 85 ‘protocol
- 7thLundstramBooked at 87 minutes
- 16NorwoodReplaced byMcBurnieat the 62 ‘protocol
End of the game, West Ham United 3, Sheffield United 0.
The second half ends, West Ham United 3, Sheffield United 0.
Goal! West Ham United 3, Sheffield United 0. Ryan Fredericks (West Ham United) shot a right footed shot from the center of the box into the lower left corner. Prepared by Said Benrahma.
Foul by David McGoldrick (Sheffield United).
Mark Noble (West Ham United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Missed attempt. John Lundstram (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is a bit too high. Prepared by Enda Stevens.
Substitution, West Ham United. Ryan Fredericks replaces Ben Johnson.
Corner, Sheffield United. The corner was created by Tomas Soucek.
Attempt blocked. David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked.
Corner, West Ham United. The corner was caused by Jayden Bogle.
John Lundstram (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by John Lundstram (Sheffield United).
Ben Johnson (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Sheffield United. Phil Jagielka replaces John Egan because of an injury.
Substitution, West Ham United. Saïd Benrahma replaces Jesse Lingard.
Missed attempt. Jesse Lingard (West Ham United) right footed shot from the center of the box is too high.
Attempt saved. Oliver McBurnie’s (Sheffield United) header from the center of the penalty area is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Ben Osborn with a cross.
Foul by Billy Sharp (Sheffield United).
Craig Dawson (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Billy Sharp (Sheffield United).