Jarrod Bowen scored twice as West Ham returned to the top four of the Premier League with a 2-0 win at home to basement club Norwich on Wednesday.
Bowen’s double saw the Hammers go two points clear of London rivals Arsenal as David Moyes’s men posted their third straight league win.
By contrast, this was Norwich’s sixth successive defeat without scoring and the Canaries are still three points shy of safety, although a Watford side hovering above the relegation zone have two games in hand.
Former Hull winger Bowen’s seventh and eighth goals of the season will bolster the growing clamour for him to get an England call-up.
In a match re-arranged from December because of a Covid-19 outbreak in the Canaries’ camp, Tomas Soucek was missing for the Hammers but full-back Aaron Cresswell returned after six weeks out with a back injury.
Milot Rashica kept his place for Norwich after scoring the winner in their FA Cup tie against Charlton.
Bowen almost put West Ham ahead inside two minutes at the London Stadium when he was found by Manuel Lanzini’s ball into the box, but his shot was too near Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul.
Lanzini went close moments later and Krul was fortunate to avoid conceding a penalty when he clashed with Nikola Vlasic on the goal-line, shoving the forward to the turf by his face.
West Ham had the ball in the net in the 35th minute when Bowen’s cross went straight in but that effort was disallowed given Vlasic was offside.
Their dominance, however, was rewarded three minutes before the break when Bowen got ahead of Ben Gibson to head in a cross from Vladimir Coufal.
Michail Antonio should have made it 2-0 early in the second half but shot over the crossbar from six yards out.
Bowen was then twice denied a second goal, with a chip over Krul coming back off the crossbar before his deflected shot hit a post.
At 1-0, there was still a chance that Norwich might get back into the game and they almost equalised when Adam Idah’s shot was pushed onto the post by Hammers goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, making his 300th Premier League appearance.
But the second goal that West Ham’s play merited came seven minutes from time when Bowen turned in Arthur Masuaku’s cross, with VAR overturning an on-field offside decision.