West Ham United 1 Everton 1
Saturday, 18th January 2020
by Staff Writer
A quite forgettable game at the London Stadium saw West Ham and Everton share the points as the sides drew 1-1.Issa Diop and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored first-half headers as set pieces ruled supreme in a game with little to enthuse even the hardiest of fans.
David Moyes made four changes to the side that lost so cruelly at Bramall Lane, with Darren Randolph making a second debut, as well as places in the starting lineup for Issa Diop, Robert Snodgrass and Pablo Fornals.
The game started slowly, with Everton playing deep within their own half for long periods as West Ham pressed well and force the visitors into sloppy errors.
There could be minor concern that longer passes saw the speed of Everton?EUR(TM)s front two given a chance to stretch their legs against West Ham?EUR(TM)s backline, but the work of the front four was enough to keep Everton uncomfortable and unconvincing with the ball.
And whilst it did not add up to an exciting opening 20 minutes, it seemed to allow the home side to gain some confidence.
Slowly, that started to show as the side stepped forward more and looked to pounce on the weaknesses in front of them.
Soon Haller was supplied a half chance from a Noble cross, a good attempt headed just wide, and Zabaleta had an effort blocked from close range that looked destined for the back of the net.
The pressure looked to be telling, but pressure without a prize is barely a memory when the points are won.
The growing dominance should have been rewarded after 25 minutes when Haller strode into the Everton penalty area. Fed through by Noble, who had pounced to win the ball in the Everton half, the Frenchman came in from the right and tried to blaze through Pickford?EUR(TM)s legs from close range. The England number one was alert enough to block the shot.
With Moyes?EUR(TM)s men on top, they were nearly punished for their profligacy.
Just past the half hour, a move down the left of the West Ham box gave Digne a chance to cross. His ball was too powerful for a diving Calvert-Lewin, but found Walcott alone at the back post. The home fans could only be relieved to see the winger?EUR(TM)s weak effort bounce kindly to Randolph?EUR(TM)s arms with the goal gaping.
A minute later, Haller was given the perfect service, a delicious Cresswell cross right into his path, only for the Frenchman to get a little under it and head over from six yards.
The wait for a first headed goal of the season lasted only a little longer.
Snodgrass whipped in a freekick from the right, and it was everything a Snodgrass set piece is pictured to be.
Curling towards goal, Diop flicked it on on the run and guided low into the far corner of the goal to give West Ham a deserved lead.
It highlighted the danger of set pieces, something that was only too apparent a few minutes later.
An Everton corner found Holgate at the front post, and his flick found Calvert-Lewin running in, finding a gap between two defenders to head into an empty net a minute before half time.
It sent the two sides in level at half time, a cruel blow that the home side did not deserve, even more so as a Fornals header was acrobatically saved with time ticking away, Pickford throwing out a desperate hand to slap the ball away as it looked to restore West Ham?EUR(TM)s lead.
The second half was not one to live long in the memory. For a pair of reasonably new managers, it will say a lot about the deficiencies in each side; the fans may find it hard to remember it ever happened.
It could have been different, Everton setting the pace in the opening five minutes and coming close to scoring twice. Both chances were good, inside the area and probably should have threatened the goalkeeper.
And that, quite frankly, was about it.
Neither side had anywhere near the quality to unlock the opposing defence, both pairs of centre backs quite comfortably dominating the forwards up against them.
It grew tense, scrappy and uninspired. The vibrant West Ham of the first half dissipated. Lanzini faded, Fornals too, which left Haller slowly more and more isolated. Once the supply was all long balls, Yerry Mina found his game easier.
Masuaku and Ajeti came off the bench, but the only impact made was the back of the latter?EUR(TM)s head against Mason Holgate, the defender feigning injury to try force a red card. The flick was silly, but not enough of an incident for VAR to overrule the original decision.
Of note was the work of Declan Rice, who took over midfield and made multiple vital interceptions and tackles to stop Everton?EUR(TM)s counter attacks.
It would be harsh to deduce that David Moyes was happy with a point, given his options were so limited.
In tight games, with tiring players, a manager needs his bench. Moyes could turn to see five defenders, a third choice goalkeeper and a young striker yet to score in English football. Whilst Ajeti added more life than Lanzini, injuries and transfer immobility gave the manager a rather poor hand to play.
The points were shared, West Ham gratefully hopping back above Watford once more and remaining a point outside the relegation zone. A trip to Leicester before hosting Liverpool could see that safety slip away from them.
Four points from three games for Moyes, a record that will keep the side up. Pray it?EUR(TM)s more entertaining than this.
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Player RatingsRoberto Jimenez Gago
Not the greatest way to start his West Ham spell. Conceded four, probably could've done a little better with the last.
Enjoyed a productive opening 45 minutes, making several forays down the wing. A little less efective once City brought their big players on at the break.
No notable error. Good to see Pellegrini taking a closer look at his in pre-season.
One vital error that led to City's third goal, as he conceded possession cheaply and unnecessary. As you might expect from a youngster.
Still looking a little clumsy and conceded the penalty that put Manchester City ahead.
Not involved to any great degree but made several decent interceptions and kept it simple.
It seems his legs still haven't gone - and he's looking like a leader in every game.
A decent half from the Brazilian winger, who gave one or two City defenders nightmares in the opening stages.
A decent first half but like many others, faded after the break.
Fit again and it showed - and long may that remain the case.
A real busy bee in the 45 minutes he played as the lone striker - a role to be filled by the club's record signing upon returning from China.
(Replaced Rice) A pretty horrible appearance, in which he was responsible for the final City goal and lucky not to concede a (fairly clear) penalty.
(Replaced Wilshere) Largely anonymous against the better City players.
(Replaced Rice) "I'll be like a new signing!" he (sort of) said last week. And he was a bit. Unlucky not to score with an effort that rattled the post.
(Replaced Antonio) Not really involved although one 25-yard free kick nearly caught City unawares.
(Replaced Fredericks) The old boy endured a bit of a torrid time against City's attack in the second half.
(Replace Johnson) No more effective that young Johnson, who he replaced.
It may well be his final appearance in claret and blue, the lack of notable effort was evident. * Other subs used: Grady Diangana (Lanzini 62); Winston Reid (Ogbonna 68).
Match FactsWest Ham United: Roberto Jimenez Gago, Ryan Fredericks, Ben Johnson, Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna, Declan Rice, Mark Noble, Felipe Anderson, Manuel Lanzini, Jack Wilshere, Michail Antonio.
Goals: Mark Noble 25 .
Sent off: None.
Subs not used: .
Sent off: None.
Referee: Andre Marriner.
Man of the Match: Ryan Fredericks.