West Ham United soared into seventh spot with this festive, three-goal victory over well-beaten Wolverhampton Wanderers at London Stadium.

Mercurial Mohammed Kudus took his tally to nine goals since his £38million summer move from Ajax with two strikes inside 10 terrific first-half minutes and, although the visitors put on a better showing after the break, top-scorer Jarrod Bowen confirmed all three points when he netted for the 11th time this campaign.

Add a first clean sheet in 10 Premier League matches, the return of fit-again skipper Kurt Zouma plus three assists from Lucas Paquetá and it really was super Sunday afternoon for David Moyes ahead of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final at Liverpool and Saturday’s visit of his former club, Manchester United.

Having secured a coveted spot in March’s UEFA Europa League last 16, with their 2-0 Group A victory over SC Freiburg on Thursday night, the Hammers made just one switch – Zouma coming in for substitute Konstantinos Mavropanos - as they returned to domestic action.

Three days on from their victory over the Germans, there certainly were no signs of any European exhaustion from the 10 men who had retained their starting jerseys as West Ham forced three early corners that saw Mario Lemina scramble Paquetá’s low centre behind before Bowen forced stand-in keeper Dan Bentley tip over his awkward, inswinging cross ahead of Kudus having a shot bravely charged down.

With his side kicking off in 13th spot – five points and four places below West Ham – former Hammer Gary O’Neil made two changes from the side that had drawn with Nottingham Forest last weekend, as Bentley came in for José Sá, while Jean-Ricner Bellegarde replaced substitute Hugo Bueno.

Although Matheus Cunha unleashed a low, angled 15-yarder into the assured hands of the ever-alert Łukasz Fabiański, the Hammers were on top in terms of territorial advantage and possession and, on 18 minutes, James Ward-Prowse curled a 25-yard free-kick over the Wolves wall and into Bentley’s clutches.

The smart money was on Moyes men breaking the deadlock but few would have expected it to come from the visitors’ first corner of the afternoon.

On 22 minutes, Pablo Sarabia’s deep flag-kick was cleared by Emerson and then Edson Álvarez, who found Paquetá on halfway.

Under pressure from his challengers, the off-balance Brazilian cleverly conjured up a superb reverse pass to send Kudus racing down the right flank and the 30-cap Ghana international strode infield before planting a low 20-yarder beyond the outstretched left-glove of the well-beaten Bentley and inside the base of the right-hand upright to give West Ham a richly-deserved lead.

Once again, Cunha forced Fabiański into a full-stretch save and, once again, it proved mere token resistance for Kudus would then claim his second goal inside those 10 telling minutes.

This time, Lemina’s careless ball forward was intercepted by Zouma who found Paquetá and in a move that mirrored West Ham’s opener, the club-record £50million signing from Olympique Lyonnais again sprayed a precision pass into the path of Kudus, who rode the challenge of ex-Hammer Craig Dawson before despatching a powerful 12-yarder past the helplessly exposed Bentley.

Already looking excellent value for their first-half lead, the Hammers may even have extended it further but Bowen’s low 18-yarder thudded off the foot of Bentley’s left-hand upright before ricocheting agonisingly across the face of goal.

After spending the opening 45 minutes being teased and tormented by Kudus, Wolves then saw Toti booked for crudely scything him onto the London Stadium turf.

And after Zouma also saw yellow for felling Cunha, O’Neil also had his name taken for speaking out of turn to referee Chris Kavanagh from the visitors’ bench.

As the hour mark approached, the mood of the Wolves boss grew darker, when Sarabia slotted home Nelson Semedo’s low cross only to be subsequently adjudged offside by a toe-nail following a lengthy Video Assistant Referee review.

With West Ham now curiously struggling to get the ball out of their own half, Cunha also sent a rising 18-yarder inches over before Fabiański fielded Lemina’s harmless grass-cutter and Pablo Fornals replaced Álvarez.

On 74 minutes, though, the Hammers long-awaited, first really meaningful attack of the second period yielded their third goal of the afternoon. 

This time, Tomáš Souček won possession inside his own half and fed Bowen, who played a slick one-two with Paquetá before showing former team-mate Dawson a clean set of studs and slotting an angled 15-yarder across Bentley to send the Hammers soaring into seventh spot, ahead of Manchester United’s arrival in the East End for a Saturday lunchtime kick-off (12.30 pm).

West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal (Kehrer 90), Emerson, Aguerd, Zouma, Álvarez (Fornals 70), Ward-Prowse, Souček, Paquetá (Mubama 86) Kudus (Ings 86), Bowen. Unused subs: Areola, Cresswell, Mavropanos, Ogbonna, Benrahma,

Wolves: Bentley, Kilman, Toti (Aït-Nouri 70), Dawson, Semedo (Doherty 79), João Gomes, Lemina, Bellegarde, Hwang, Cunha, Sarabia. Unused subs: King, S Bueno, Traoré, Silva, H Bueno, Kalajdžić, (Doyle 79).

Booked: Toti (45+1), Zouma (45+4), Kehrer (90+3).

Referee: Chris Kavanagh.