West Ham United

West Ham United

West Ham United

Swansea City AFC

Swansea City AFC
Swansea City AFC
West Ham United

West Ham United

Swansea City AFC

Swansea City AFC

West Ham United

West Ham United

Swansea City AFC

Swansea City AFC

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Cheikhou Kouyate
Cheikhou Kouyate’s first-half strike was his fourth goal of the season, but his first in the Premier League

West Ham ended a five-game losing run as they gained a much-needed win over struggling Swansea City.

The Hammers took a deserved lead just before half-time when Cheikhou Kouyate collected a Robert Snodgrass pass and scored with a stunning low 25-yard strike.

Swansea substitute Luciano Narsingh came closest to an equaliser for the visitors but his powerful strike went just over.

The result leaves Swansea in the bottom three of the Premier League with only six games left to secure their top-flight survival.

For West Ham though, they move up to 14th and now have an eight-point cushion between themselves and 18th-placed Swansea.

Not pretty, but three vital points

The pre-game stats made unpleasant reading for West Ham, as they had lost five Premier League games in a row, gone seven games without a win and had won only once in nine to be dragged into a relegation battle.

Manager Slaven Bilic had called for his side to stay together and was rewarded with a battling performance and a solid defensive effort that nullified a lacklustre Swansea side.

Kouyate’s strike was a rare moment of quality in the game and came after captain Mark Noble, making his 400th appearance for the club, played forward to Snodgrass, who set up the Senegal midfielder.

As the Swans defence backed off, Kouyate was given the space to drill home a beautiful strike, the lead deserved after Swans goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski had earlier denied Michail Antonio, Andre Ayew and Robert Snodgrass.

With West Ham defending well, especially through last-ditch blocks from James Collins and Sam Byram, the Hammers held on for a win, which Noble described as “their biggest for a number of years”.

The only negative for the Hammers was a hamstring injury to Antonio, who had looked lively leading the line before he pulled up as he sprinted down the left wing during the first half.

Under-par Swansea disappoint

While West Ham move up to 36 points, Swansea, on 28 points, face a huge fight on their hands if they are going to extend their six-year run of top-flight football for another year.

The Swans, who conceded three late goals in a 3-1 home defeat against Tottenham on Wednesday, will need to play much better than they did at the London Stadium, where there only had one effort on target.

With the normally effective Gylfi Sigurdsson having a quiet match, the Swans best work came from Jordan Ayew but he could not do enough to force his side level.

Second-half substitute Fernando Llorente, the club’s top goalscorer this season, had missed two games because of an ankle injury but was off the pace and did not look like scoring.

Manager Paul Clement could also be without Jack Cork for a while. The midfielder limped off with an ankle injury after he landed badly in challenging for a header.

Fernando Llorente
Swansea striker Fernando Llorente, who has scored 11 times in the Premier League this season, came on at half-time but had no attempts at goal and only touched the ball once in the opposing penalty area

Man of the match – Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea)

Lukasz Fabianski
Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski made five saves to keep his side in the game, including this excellent one-handed effort to deny a close-range header from Robert Snodgrass on the goalline.

Swansea’s woeful away run – the stats

  • Swansea have lost five consecutive Premier League away games for the first time ever.
  • West Ham registered a win for the first time in their last eight top-flight games (drew two, lost five).
  • Swansea are without a clean sheet in each of their last 15 Premier League away games, the longest current such run in the top-flight.
  • Cheikhou Kouyate scored his first Premier League goals in 30 games, last netting against West Brom on 30 May 2016.
  • Robert Snodgrass registered his first goal involvement in his 10th Premier League game for West Ham, having scored three and assisted two in the 10 before that for Hull.
  • The Swans directed only one shot on target in the game; only once this season in the Premier League have they managed fewer (0 v Tottenham on 3 December).
  • The Hammers kept a clean sheet for the first time in their last 11 top-flight games.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic speaking to BBC Sport: “It is a huge win and I congratulate the boys. The spirit, team-work. We were solid and dangerous. We deserved to win.

“It was much-needed. There was big pressure, not on me, but the players. The crowd recognised that and were behind us.

“It was a great goal. We started well and after half an hour they slowed us down. We had chances before the goal, but in every game you need a spark of extra quality.

“It’s my job, but there’s a bigger picture about the club. We are the ones to blame for being in this position. I was celebrating for the players, because they have been with me and they deserve it. Now we need four more points as soon as possible.

“We were out of the relegation battle six games ago and we are out of it again. We don’t want to be in it again.”

West Ham captain Mark Noble: “That’s our biggest win in a few years. The run we’ve had, we haven’t been good enough but we haven’t had the rub of the green either.

“I thought we played well under pressure. Swansea were only a few points behind us. It was so important and it’s a fantastic win for the club.

“One more win should see us safe. This should release the pressure, the lads should be happier. We haven’t been good enough for a couple of months, but this should release the pressure.

“It was not pretty but the only thing that matters was the three points. There’s no point in us playing like Real Madrid and losing 2-0.”