Norwich City 0-4 West Ham United
Premier League, Carrow Road, Sunday 8 May 2022
West Ham United returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 4-0 victory away to Norwich City.
The Hammers had established a much-deserved three-goal advantage by the half-time whistle, as two well-taken goals by Saïd Benrahma sandwiched Michail Antonio’s close-range finish.
The Canaries thought they had found a route back into the game just after half-time, only for Sam Byram’s effort to be ruled out by VAR for handball, before Manuel Lanzini added West Ham’s fourth from the penalty spot after another VAR check ruled a handball against Jacob Sørensen.
The win moves the Hammers to within three points of sixth-placed Manchester United in the UEFA Europa League qualifying places, having played one game fewer.
West Ham’s attacking intent at Carrow Road was clear from the opening whistle, as Antonio chested down for Benrahma to fire an effort on the Norwich City goal, earning the side’s first corner just two minutes in.
While the set-piece would not result in the goal David Moyes’ side eagerly sought, the opener would come just 12 minutes into the match.
Lanzini found Pablo Fornals, who quickly interplayed with Jarrod Bowen on the edge of the Norwich box. The ball was sprayed out wide to Benrahma, who fired a curling effort on goal, beating Tim Krul via a deflection.
The Canaries were sparked into life by the Irons’ first goal and enjoyed an opening push forward immediately following Benrahma’s strike. Pierre Lees-Melou took on a powerful strike from outside the box, which was blocked away by Dawson for a corner.
Another Lees-Melou effort, this time well-taken on the volley, was cleared by Vladimír Coufal, before the away side doubled the lead on 30 minutes.
Bowen was involved again, playing a delicious reverse through-ball for Antonio to chase inside the area. It initially appeared to be too heavy for the Hammers No9 but Krul could not get his hands onto the ball, instead spilling for the grateful Antonio to tap in West Ham’s second.
The Irons could have found a third just moments later as the two goalscorers combined, Benrahma crossing to Antonio, allowing the striker to coolly set Lanzini for a first-time effort. His shot kindly fell for Bowen but, somehow, the attacker could only scoop his close-range effort wide of the near post.
But the visitors would not be denied a third before the half-time whistle and, again, Benrahma was the man to net it.
Lanzini cleverly threaded Bowen through on the right flank and the 25-year-old placed a cross on the penalty spot for the Algerian, who rocketed past Krul into the roof of the net.
Frustrated from the first half, Norwich were quick out of the blocks in the second, and immediately won a corner from kick-off.
From the resulting set-piece, former Hammer Sam Byram thought he had turned home a finish, and a way back into the game for the home side, only for VAR to rule the effort out due to a handball from the defender.
A quick move from the Irons almost led to another as Declan Rice sprayed the ball out to Coufal, who volleyed a superb cross back into the penalty area. Fornals’ diving header was saved, but the Spaniard was flagged offside anyway.
Craig Dawson next challenged for a header but a VAR check in the aftermath ruled that the Norwich player closest to the centre-back – Jacob Sørensen – had handled the corner kick in their exchange.
A penalty was duly awarded and up stepped Lanzini, who coolly slotted West Ham’s fourth into the bottom-right corner.
Fornals could have added a fifth from close range, after Aaron Cresswell found the No8 with a low cross in the penalty area, while Benrahma’s hunt for a hat-trick came to an end after Bryam intercepted the Algerian’s shot with 15 minutes to play.
Norwich City, to their credit, continued to seek at least a name on the score-sheet, but the Hammers claimed a valuable three points in the quest for a second consecutive season of European football.
Norwich City: Krul, Aaron, Hanley (c), Williams, Byram, Gilmour, Sørensen, Rashica (Springett 46), Dowell (Placheta 71), Lees-Melou (Rupp 46), Pukki
Subs not used: Gunn, Gibson, Tzolis, Giannoulis, Gibbs, Rowe
West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal, Zouma, Dawson (Noble 67), Cresswell, Rice (c), Lanzini, Fornals, Benrahma (Vlašić 76(, Bowen, Antonio (Yarmolenko 46)
Subs not used: Areola, Johnson, Fredericks, Masuaku, Král, Souček
Goals: Benrahma 12, 45+3, Antonio 30, Lanzini 65 (pen)
Referee: Robert Jones