Issa Diop came close to costing West Ham United the win as David Moyes’ side held on to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2 on Monday night.
The Irons stormed out of the blocks to claim a three-goal lead before half-time for the second successive Premier League game, but would have feared a repeat of the 3-3 Arsenal draw when Leander Dendoncker pulled one back.
Fabio Silva later set up a nervy finish for Moyes’ men when he drilled home Wolves’ second, but Nuno Espirito Santo’s team could not find another way past Lukasz Fabianski and the Hammers clinched three vital points.
West Ham now sit fourth in the Premier League standings and are in control of their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League, while a win over Leicester City this Sunday can see the London Stadium natives close the gap to third to a single point.
Moyes will have been nervous of the Irons letting slip another three-goal lead when Dendoncker and Silva struck home for Wolves, having seen Diop and centre-back partner Craig Dawson both struggle at Molineux.
West Ham were once again without Angelo Ogbonna as the Italian continues his recovery from a high ankle sprain, although he has been making solid progress as he looks to return after seven games in the treatment room.
The Hammers sorely missed the former Juventus enforcer, as an early yellow card for Dawson left the Watford loanee – now set for a £2m permanent summer switch – having to be overly cautious and give up plenty of chances.
Willian Jose, Dendoncker and Daniel Podence each struck three efforts on goal while Adama Traore’s two and Pedro Neto’s five attempts helped toward Wolves taking 20 shots, per WhoScored, eight more than West Ham give up on average per Premier League game this season.
Diop was no better, as the Frenchman switched off too many times and failed to cover the space left by Aaron Cresswell to leave Silva with time to pick his spot and drill home low into the far-right corner.
The £16.2m-rated centre-half appeared desperate for Cresswell or Ben Johnson – a second-half substitute for Arthur Masuaku – to be the one to track Silva back, when Diop was the best-placed option to run with the 18-year-old and avoid the nervy finish.
Dawson and Mark Noble later had to restrain Diop from charging up the pitch after making a crucial block following a rush of blood to the head, and had already been urged by the Hammers captain to be quicker with his actions.
Diop’s efforts may have returned more clearances (8) than Dawson (6), as well as more interceptions (2 to 1) and shots blocked (1 to 0) for SofaScore’s higher match rating at 6.8 out of 10 compared to his teammate’s 6.3, but his low moments came close to costing West Ham the win and three vital points.