West Ham’s ability to bounce back from Wolves loss will truly determine their Champions League credentials

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The bubble had to burst at some point, but David Moyes would have wanted to see more fight than this.

West Ham’s four game winning run and seven without defeat were brought to an end at Wolves as a limp Hammers side fell to Raul Jimenez’s second-half goal.

West Ham have enjoyed a stellar start to the season and could have gone second for a time with a fifth straight Premier League win here.

Having gone into the international break on the high of beating Liverpool but came out the other side looking flat and unable to deal with Wolves’ energy.

The Hammers looked to sit tight and hit their hosts on the counter, but Wolves pinned them back and took all the sting out of the east Londoners who had ripped Jurgen Klopp’s side apart on the counter two weeks ago.

Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek, West Ham’s engine in the middle, were unable to get any hold over the game while Pablo Fornals looked short of fitness and Michail Antonio was blunted going forward.

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan had forked out £100,000 on a private jet to get Antonio back from Jamaica as soon as possible after two goals in as many games for his country. The striker’s shooting boots must have got lost by the baggage handlers.

It is now just one goal in eight West Ham games for Antonio after a flying start to the season, though Moyes has no other options with a striker still high on his shopping list ahead of January.

It wasn’t just Antonio who disappointed, however. Moyes has ingrained a sense of resilience and fight in this West Ham side since his return almost two years ago, but neither were really on show here.

Jarrod Bowen headed their best chance wide early on and from their Wolves took hold. Without Angelo Ogbonna, who has undergone surgery on an ACL injury, the Hammers looked shaky at the back and were pulled apart too often.

Jimenez flew in behind to latch on to a long ball but sent his dink over Lukasz Fabianski wide with an uncharacteristically shoddy finish.

There were no such errors after the break as, capping a smart one-two with Daniel Podence on the right, the Mexican striker fired a low first time shot past the diving Fabianski.

There was a late rally from West Ham but they deserved nothing at Molineux.

It is a rough start to a testing week for the Hammers. After their visit here there is a trip to Austria on Thursday night as they look to top their Europa League group with a game to spare before facing the test of Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad next weekend.

Talk of a Champions League finish will fade a touch after a deflating defeat, though West Ham remain in the top four and will want to make a statement over the coming days. How they bounce back will define their chances of a top four finish.

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