Jesse Lingard on Monday inspired West Ham United to a thrilling 3-2 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers to move fourth in the English Premier League, as Everton’s hopes of a top-four finish were dented in a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.
Lingard’s stunning form since joining the Hammers on loan from Manchester United in January saw him earn a recall by England manager Gareth Southgate last month.
The midfielder further bolstered his case for inclusion in Southgate’s squad for UEFA Euro 2020 as he ran from inside his own half to slot home his sixth goal in eight West Ham appearances after just six minutes.
Lingard then turned creator for his side’s other two goals as the visitors surged into a 3-0 lead inside 38 minutes.
His cute flick when penned in at the corner flag teed up Arthur Masuaku to cross for Pablo Fornals to double the Hammers’ lead.
Lingard then surged beyond four weak Wolves challenges to free Jarrod Bowen, who fired in at Rui Patricio’s near post.
“He’s playing terrifically well,” West Ham manager David Moyes said. “Tonight he looked like a real top player.”
West Ham move a point ahead of Chelsea in a tight battle for a place in the UEFA Champions League next season.
Tottenham and Liverpool are just three points behind Moyes’ men with eight games to play.
“We have to take it on. I’m hearing people talking about West Ham with a chance of playing in the Champions League,” Moyes said. “Nobody would have envisaged that last season. All those big teams up there going for fourth, we are going to try to compete with them all the way to the end.”
West Ham let a three-goal lead slip in their last outing as Arsenal battled back to draw 3-3 at the London Stadium two weeks ago and nearly made the same mistake.
Leander Dendoncker kick-started the Wolves fightback with a towering header from Adama Traore’s cross just before halftime.
Substitute Fabio Silva then found the far corner 22 minutes from time to set up a grandstand finish.
This time the Hammers held out, but their top-four challenge could be affected by a couple of significant injuries.
Declan Rice missed his first Premier League game of the season with a knee injury that is expected to keep the England midfielder out for a month, and Michail Antonio limped off in the first half with a hamstring problem.
Everton missed the chance to also move within three points of four, with a game in hand to come, as Michy Batshuayi’s 86th-minute equalizer salvaged a point for the Eagles at Goodison Park.
The Toffees were made to rue a string of missed chances either side of James Rodriguez’s opener.
“The reason was we were not able to kill the game when we had the opportunity,” Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti said. “When you deserve to win, you have to win. We have to be more focused to avoid these kinds of situations.”
TAKE TWO: Tainan TSG are the favorites going into this season, which starts on Sunday. They have fearsome forwards and national ’keeper Pan Wen-chieh between the posts Defending champions Tainan TSG (Taiwan Steel Group) face a tough challenge from their southern neighbors Taipower and CPC FC when the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) season starts this weekend with four matches on Sunday. Promoting grassroots soccer, and organizing relegation and promotion between the top and second divisions last year was important for the progression of Taiwanese soccer, CTFA chairman Chiou I-jen told a news conference in Taipei yesterday. “We are going in the right direction ... and becoming more competitive” for international competitions, Chiou said. Still the favorites, Tainan TSG have the league’s most fearsome forwards, with three international star players.
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