Raul Jimenez helps Wolves inflict Hammer blow

Raul Jimenez’s late double inspired Wolves to a comfortable victory over lifeless West Ham.

The on-loan Benfica forward took his tally to 12 for the season with two goals in the final 10 minutes to clinch a 3-0 win.

Romain Saiss opened the scoring to break the Hammers’ resistance and help lift Wolves to seventh in the Premier League.

The excellent Lukasz Fabianski had initially threatened to deny the hosts victory, saving from Diogo Jota, Jonny, Matt Doherty and Saiss.

It was another sobering defeat for the 10th-placed Hammers after their shock FA Cup exit to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

And they lost Marko Arnautovic to injury after his return following his brief transfer saga amid interest from China.

The forward, who signed a new deal on Saturday, could have earned £41million with a move but was anonymous at Molineux before limping off.

And, in front of watching England boss Gareth Southgate, defenders Ryan Bennett and Conor Coady kept Wolves’ first clean sheet in nine outings.

But it took until the 22nd minute for the hosts to spark when Matt Doherty’s appeals for a penalty after Arthur Masuaku’s clumsy challenge were waved away.

Soon after Leander Dendoncker’s tame flicked effort was straight at Fabianski while Felipe Anderson dragged wide from 25 yards.

Wolves had grown into the game despite the instantly forgettable start and Jonny came closest to breaking the monotony after 31 minutes.

A slick move ended with Jimenez’s deep cross finding the wing-back but he planted a diving header wide.

Jimenez had begun to cause problems and he was a nuisance again when he directed Jonny’s ball onto the bar and Leander Dendoncker netted the follow up – but Jimenez had been ruled fractionally offside.

Encouraged, Wolves pressed before the break as the Hammers retreated and Fabianski saved from Doherty’s low effort.

The pattern continued in the second half and Fabianski had to be alert again to shovel Jota’s low drive behind on 59 minutes.

Seconds later, the goalkeeper game to the rescue again when, after the corner was only half cleared, he blocked Saiss’ effort from 10 yards.

Any Hammers threat had disappeared and they were increasingly reliant on Fabianski, who again denied Jonny as his defensive colleagues dithered.

But he was powerless to stop Saiss’ 66th-minute opener from the resulting corner when the defender got ahead of Masuaku to nod in his second goal of the season from eight yards.

The hosts poured forward and were furious when referee David Coote rejected strong penalty claims when Jota was barged down by Pablo Zabaleta.

Arnautovic’s evening ended soon after as he limped off having been clattered by Ruben Neves.

Wolves then wrapped up the points with 10 minutes remaining when Jimenez volleyed in Joao Moutinho’s free kick from eight yards.

The Mexico international still had time to add a third four minutes from time when he clipped over Fabianski from Jota’s pass.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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