West Ham consolidated the top four position



West Ham highlighted their Premier League top four credentials with a 4-1 win over 10-man Austin Villa on Sunday as they extended their impressive run on the road.

Ben Johnson scored the opening goal for the visitors only to equalize Oli Watkins but the Hammers took the lead before half time through Declan Rice.

Villa’s job was made difficult early in the second half when defender Ezri Conce was sent off for refusing to score.

Late goals from Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen sealed three points for David Moyes and led to Villa’s fourth consecutive defeat in the Premier League.

Victory took West Ham to 20 points after 10 games – on third-placed Manchester City’s points.

“It’s been a great week,” Moyes told Sky Sports after his team’s fifth consecutive win in all competitions. “But you know what happens in football. It can bite you.

“We have another game on Thursday. I don’t want West Ham to be the kind of contradictory team that many people miss.”

West Ham drew their first blood in the seventh minute when Rice sprayed a pass-out on the right side for Johnson, who cut inside his left foot and curled a low shot into the far corner of the net.

Watkins equalized in the 34th minute by steering Emiliano Bondia’s low cross from close range.

But Villa’s joy was short-lived as Rice restored the visitors’ lead with a long-range shot that went just behind the net four minutes later with a touch of the post.

Villa were reduced to 10 men in the 50th minute when the VAR review ruled that Konsa had denied a clear chance to score by fouling Bowen on the edge of the penalty area. The defender initially received a yellow card only for a foul.

Despite being under a man, the home side tragically came close to a draw when Lukasz Fabianski raised a finger over Watkins’ header to push the ball against the bar.

West Ham extended their lead when the Farnells ended at a tight angle when goalkeeper Emiliano Martینnez could only push Bowen’s shot in his way and Bowen himself added a fourth.

Earlier, Leeds beat Norwich 2-1 to record only their second league win of the season and were out of the relegation zone.

The game was tied at 0-0 at half-time on Caro Road, but the game erupted into a dramatic spell of four minutes after the break.

Leeds forward Rafinha broke the deadlock in the 56th minute, with only Andrew Omobamidel equalizing two minutes later from a corner.

But the joys of home turned to despair in the 60th minute when Rodrigo’s low left foot effort found its way under goalkeeper Tim Kroll.

The win lifted Leeds to 17th in the table, three points below, but Norwich remain unbeaten and have eight points from safety.

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