Declan Rice’s well-executed penalty and Issa Diop’s header helped lift West Ham into fourth place as Sheffield United’s Premier League survival hopes suffered a significant setback.
Chris Basham’s lunge on Jesse Lingard helped gift the Hammers, who climb above Liverpool and Chelsea, a sixth win in 10 top-flight matches.
Rice made no mistake from the spot before Diop, who was forced off with a head injury in his previous game, doubled the lead from Aaron Cresswell’s corner.
Substitute Ryan Fredericks added a third deep into stoppage time.
Sheffield United, 14 points from safety with 14 games left, went close to equalising at 1-0 when Lukasz Fabianski produced an outstanding save to keep out David McGoldrick’s deflected header.
West Ham had been awarded an early penalty when Craig Dawson was fouled by Enda Stevens and referee Simon Hooper pointed to the spot, but after a VAR consultation the decision was overturned.
Chelsea will move back above West Ham if they beat Newcastle in the 20:00 GMT kick-off, but this was another accomplished performance from David Moyes’ side.
Is Europe beckoning Hammers?
West Ham’s phenomenal form after last season’s struggle shows no sign of going off the boil.
Having spent last term locked in a relegation battle, the Hammers are now in a Champions League spot, two points clear of champions Liverpool with 14 games remaining.
When Harry Redknapp’s class of 1998-99 finished fifth in English football’s top flight, they accumulated 57 points.
Victory over the Blades moved Moyes’ team to 42 points with another 42 to play for, and they have to be considered serious contenders for Europe next season.
Their latest win was down to one moment of madness and one moment of brilliance – Basham’s clumsy foul on Lingard and Fabianski’s save to deny McGoldrick at 1-0.
Fabianski had a busier game than he would have liked while at the other end Aaron Ramsdale denied West Ham after Vladimir Coufal found himself with just the keeper to beat.
But Fredericks sealed another polished team display with the third after a lovely assist from fellow substitute Said Benrahma.
With forward Michail Antonio due back from injury, West Ham look in decent shape with the business end of the season looming.
More to follow
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West Ham United
- 31JohnsonSubstituted forFredericksat 90+2′minutes
- 10LanziniSubstituted forNobleat 63′minutes
- 11LingardSubstituted forBenrahmaat 82′minutes
- 6BashamBooked at 39mins
- 12EganSubstituted forJagielkaat 85′minutes
- 7LundstramBooked at 87mins
- 16NorwoodSubstituted forMcBurnieat 62′minutes
Match ends, West Ham United 3, Sheffield United 0.
Second Half ends, West Ham United 3, Sheffield United 0.
Goal! West Ham United 3, Sheffield United 0. Ryan Fredericks (West Ham United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Saïd Benrahma.
Foul by David McGoldrick (Sheffield United).
Mark Noble (West Ham United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. John Lundstram (Sheffield United) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Enda Stevens.
Substitution, West Ham United. Ryan Fredericks replaces Ben Johnson.
Corner, Sheffield United. Conceded by Tomas Soucek.
Attempt blocked. David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Jayden Bogle.
John Lundstram (Sheffield United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by John Lundstram (Sheffield United).
Ben Johnson (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Sheffield United. Phil Jagielka replaces John Egan because of an injury.
Substitution, West Ham United. Saïd Benrahma replaces Jesse Lingard.
Attempt missed. Jesse Lingard (West Ham United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.
Attempt saved. Oliver McBurnie (Sheffield United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Ben Osborn with a cross.
Foul by Billy Sharp (Sheffield United).
Craig Dawson (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Billy Sharp (Sheffield United).