AFC Bournemouth 0-4 West Ham United
Premier League, Vitality Stadium, Sunday 23 April 2023, 2pm BST
West Ham United romped to a 4-0 victory at AFC Bournemouth on Sunday to take a big step towards the middle of the Premier League table.
Two goals in the opening 12 minutes had the Irons on their way, as Michail Antonio and Paquetá converted towering headers to leave the majority inside the Vitality Stadium stunned.
Bournemouth pressed for a way back into the contest, but the visitors were in clinical mood and Declan Rice slammed home a third before the break.
Pablo Fornals’ spectacular scorpion kick was the second half cherry on the cake as the Hammers netted four goals in consectutive games to round off an extremely productive week both at home and in Europe.
David Moyes made just two changes to the side which triumphed over KAA Gent in Europe in midweek, looking to continue the positive momentum gathered in recent weeks.
Even with that hope in mind, the Hammers boss could not have dreamt that his side would start so well on the South Coast as to race into a two-goal lead inside 12 minutes.
First, the visitors won a corner on the left-hand side and Aaron Cresswell, one of the players recalled to the starting XI, delivered on a plate for an unmarked Antonio to power a header home.
The Hammers had not netted a goal inside the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League fixture this term prior to Sunday, but they plundered a second here before Bournemouth had even begun.
Vladimír Coufal pinched the ball off Marcus Tavernier as the hosts looked to pass their way out of their own half. The Czech exchanged passes with Jarrod Bowen and advanced to the by-line to hang up a cross for Paquetá to leap over Jack Stephens and nod into the net.
With just 12 minutes on the clock, West Ham were already in a commanding position, but Bournemouth, to their credit, did not alter their positive approach to the contest.
That intent yielded two chances around the half-hour mark, as first Jefferson Lerma had a fizzing, wobbling effort from outside the area turned away by Łukasz Fabiański, then Dominic Solanke turned Nayef Aguerd in the right channel and ran in on goal, but had his low effort blocked by the No1’s outstretched foot.
West Ham were effective with their defensive work though and weathered that mini-storm to score a third two minutes before the break.
Again a Cresswell corner from the left provided the chance, as his cross flew through the area, via a flick from Tomáš Souček, for Rice to slam past Neto on the half-volley.
Bournemouth turned to Kieffer Moore from the bench at the break as they looked to turn the tide, but the big striker’s first contribution was to pick up a booking just three minutes after his arrival.
West Ham remained on the hunt for more and a lovely move involving Paquetá, Saïd Benrahma, Cresswell and Bowen ended with Benrahma drilling a shot into Neto’s hands.
Fornals was among the five substitutes introduced by Moyes during the second half and he produced an outrageous scorpion kick finish to make it 4-0 with 18 minutes left to be played.
Rice forced a turnover on halfway and clipped a ball over the top for Bowen in the right channel. He carried the ball to the area and crossed to the middle. His pass was slightly behind Fornals, but the No8 adjusted with great athleticism to flick home with his right foot.
Bournemouth’s Solanke hooked a volley against the base of the right-hand post as he looked for a consolation, but there would be no ruining Fabiański’s clean sheet on a memorable away day for the Claret and Blue Army.
AFC Bournemouth: Neto ©, Mepham, Stephens, Kelly (Viña 61), Smith (Anthony 61), Lerma (Cook 75), Rothwell (Moore 46), Tavernier, Christie (Ouattara 61), Billing, Solanke
Subs: Travers (GK), Semenyo, Senesi, Zabarnyi
West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal (Kehrer 83), Zouma, Aguerd, Cresswell, Souček, Rice ©, Paquetá (Downes 77), Bowen (Cornet 76), Benrahma (Fornals 65), Antonio (Ings 65)
Subs: Areola (GK), Emerson, Ogbonna, Lanzini
Goals: Antonio 5, Paquetá 12, Rice 43, Fornals 72
Booked: Aguerd, Fabiański
Referee: Anthony Taylor