Norwich 0 West Ham 4: Hammers boost European hopes with crushing win over already-relegated Canaries

DECLAN RICE landed himself in hot water by accusing a European referee of corruption in mid-week.

And back in Premier League action, Norwich were so bad that West Ham wouldn’t be blamed for thinking something dodgy was going on at Carrow Road too.

It was the perfect tonic after their Europa League dreams were crushed in the semis against Frankfurt where Rice lost the plot in the tunnel and boss David Moyes took aim at a ball boy.

Goals from Said Benrahma and Michail Antonio before half time and a second half penalty by Manuel Lanzini earned the Hammers their first league win in four and first away victory since New Year’s Day.

And with Manchester United continuing to capitulate, the gap to sixth place is now just three points with a game in hand and a superior goal difference.

Thanks should go to the Canaries for that, who have all but given up wanting to show any fight or pride in the shirt. Diabolical does not even come close.


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A Championship-standard club in all but name, for three more games that is, as they sleepwalk towards a record sixth Prem relegation.

Fan protests were scattered around the ground before kick-off taking aim at majority shareholder Delia Smith and sporting director Stuart Webber.

This abject display would have had the duo cringing up in the plush seats, not that there is likely to be much change at this elite yo-yo club.

After heartbreak in Germany, Moyes refrained from making sweeping changes as Lukas Fabianski returned in goal while Benrahma came in for the rested Tomas Soucek.

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Aaron Cresswell kept his place at left-back despite that 19th minute red card on Thursday and Mark Noble hoped to make one of his last appearances on his 35th birthday.

Dean Smith brought Jacob Sorensen into midfield – the only alteration to the side that had their top flight drop-out confirmed in their last outing away at Aston Villa.

For all the attacking hesitation West Ham demonstrated against Frankfurt – albeit with 10 men for most of the game – they showed none of that against Norwich.

Their travelling fans were ironically chanting about finishing in a Europa Conference League spot before Benrahma grabbed his first after just 12 minutes.

Bowen picked the Algerian out on the edge of the box who cut in and thumped goalwards, nicking the inside of Max Aarons’ leg leaving Tim Krul helpless.

Dutch keeper Krul was to blame for the second in the 30th minute however, coming out to smother Antonio only to palm the ball straight onto the striker’s leg.

Antonio walked the ball into an empty net for his first league goal since January 1 as the Norwich fans chanted: “That is why we’re going down”.

Moments later, Bowen somehow blazed wide with an open goal gaping – but he would make up for it soon after with his 10th Prem assist of the campaign.

On the stroke of half time, Bowen pulled back for Benrahma who smashed his effort into the roof of the net.

The only negative of the afternoon for Moyes was Antonio hobbling off at the break following a big collision with Grant Hanley, replaced by Andriy Yarmolenko.

Norwich thought they had grabbed one back early in the second half only for Sam Byram’s finish from a Fabianski blunder to be chalked off by VAR for handball.

The monitor went in favour of West Ham once more just after the hour mark as Sorensen was deemed to have had a raised arm at a corner – gifting Lanzini a goal from the spot.

The scoreline and lack of any sort of contest meant Noble got on for the final 23 minutes as he was serenaded with a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ by the away end.

The rest of the Premier League will be singing ‘So Long, Farewell’ to Norwich soon enough.

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