Player by Player Analysis: Everton 1-0 West Ham Utd

West Ham remain in the relegation zone going into the first international break of the season after recording their fifth loss of the season at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Frank Lampard’s Everton had total control of a first half in which David Moyes’ side were utterly limp but made the breakthrough just after half-time when Neal Maupay’s snapshot beat Łukasz Fabiański at the near post.

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The Hammers rallied after going behind but still struggled to create many clear-cut opportunities from open play against an Everton defence that performed excellently under pressure.

Player Ratings

Łukasz Fabiański (6)

Aside from Demarai Gray’s effort from the corner of the box early in the second half, Fabianski had very little to do on Sunday. Although Everton controlled long stretches of the football match, the Toffees struggled to create much of note in the final third and Fabianski went relatively untroubled for the duration. He did make one strong contribution when punching clear a corner but continued to show his usual lack of composure under pressure when distributing – this extends to emotional pressure in games; his distribution fails him when time gets tight and the team is losing.

Vladimír Coufal (7)

Put under tonnes of pressure throughout the match by Everton’s strongest attacker in Gray, Coufal stood up to that challenge relatively well. Although the fleet-footed winger got the better of him a couple of times to fizz low crosses across the box, Coufal showed his usual defensive doggedness and got through five combined tackles and interceptions while making three clearances and winning three aerial duels. His quick throw to Jarrod Bowen in the second half should have led to more.

Kurt Zouma (6)

This was a middling performance from Zouma who struggled to anticipate and proactively deal with Neal Maupay’s movement between the lines. The ex-Brighton striker showed excellent awareness throughout the match in his rotations with Gray and Anthony Gordon and Zouma’s slowness in responding was summed up when he failed to block Maupay’s snapshot and ultimate winning goal.

Thilo Kehrer (7)

Although Kehrer continues to make a couple of frightening mistakes in every game, in this one it was a completely misdirected header into midfield while being the last man, his distribution has been far superior to Zouma’s and he showed the requisite level of anticipation to compensate for his lack of height when rising to head crosses out of the box. Another strong individual performance.

Aaron Cresswell (6)

Largely faultless defensively, Cresswell should have created far more in attack as he was freed up in good crossing positions a number of times on the left. His tentativeness in releasing those crosses meant that he was often closed down by the time he was playing the ball into the box and this allowed blockers to limit the rewards to corners. His delivery from open-play must improve.

Tomáš Souček (4)

This was another match where Soucek’s on-ball deficiencies were horribly exposed for all to see. As West Ham ponderously moved through first and second phase build-up, Soucek often found himself receiving in central areas with pressure to play the forward pass. This has never been something that the lanky Czech midfielder has been particularly adept at and early mistakes undermined any confidence and led to repeated negative passes that stunted any of Moyes’ team’s attempts to threaten Everton in central areas.

Declan Rice (6)

Although Rice improved in the second half when carrying the ball forward on counter-attacks – something that the young captain has always been brilliant at since moving into midfield – his lack of contribution in build-up is seriously stunting the team in similar fashion to his partner. Simple principles like “attract and release” or “pass and move” seem to evade Rice when he is put under pressure in this 4231 shape by a team employing a highly engaged mid-block or gegenpressing system. He must display his quality in these scenarios to lead the team forwards.

Jarrod Bowen (8)

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Bowen has come in for a huge amount of criticism so far this season and much of that has been entirely justified. We started the season by giving Bowen repeated low marks for his performances against Manchester City and Nottingham Forest but things have since turned around in the league – even if his Europa Conference League form continues to disappoint.

The most noticeably concerning aspect of Bowen’s game so far this season has been an uncharacteristic lack of scanning and effective screening defensively. He has been far too easy to play around in a number of games so far this season and this was absolutely on display in the first 45 minutes of Sunday’s match at Goodison Park. There was massive improvement in the second half though and his attacking contribution was positive throughout with his anticipation of space proving essential as he met two cut-backs from Pablo Fornals and Michail Antonio – one of which he should have done better to keep down; he was unfortunate to see blocked just ahead of the line by James Tarkowski.

Lucas Paquetá (4)

Paquetá playing as a true ten in a 4231 is not a particularly exciting prospect while West Ham continue to drop-off, disengage and defend deep while hoping to threaten from counter-attacks and set-pieces. This system does not, in any way, maximise the strengths of Paquetá who is a tireless and supremely talented presser while being an outstanding link-man in midfield and a real goal threat around the box. He was constantly receiving under massive pressure in central areas with his back to goal in this game and Idrissa Gueye generally had him under control. When playing on the spin like this, and needing to do so quickly as the team focuses on rapid transitions, Paquetá will need to sharpen his movements and release the ball slightly earlier to truly unlock the talents of players ahead of him.

Pablo Fornals (4)

Perhaps the most disappointing performance on Sunday came from Fornals who couldn’t seem to find any reliability, consistency or accuracy with his passing. This was an all-round poor performance with a couple of clear standout moments where the Spaniard found himself in good positions around the penalty area but stuttered before losing the ball and ruining otherwise promising moves. Just one of his nine pressures (11%) was successful.

Michail Antonio (6)

Playing on scraps, as ever, Antonio did well to make as much as he did out of so little. There was a fantastic roll on Coady that drew a yellow card and forced the Everton captain to play more conservatively and a lovely darting run down the left flank before cutting back for Bowen who could have scored. His influence waned before he was withdrawn for Scamacca.

Saïd Benrahma (4)

Coming on for Paquetá in the number ten slot in Moyes’ 4231, Benrahma failed to play with the necessary accuracy to allow the team to sustain periods of pressure successfully. Although there were a few flashes of brilliance, there were equally several moments of ineptitude – the worst of which being a corner that failed to clear knee-height and flew into the side-netting without anyone having an opportunity to connect with the ball. Benrahma is an intriguing option as a number ten in a back three split-strikers system where he has a full range of access to both flanks but in a restrictive 4231 where he must get the better of the opposition six in tight spaces, he cannot achieve any level of reliability.

Maxwel Cornet (7)

Cornet should have scored off the bench after being played through on goal by Bowen in the 87th minute. He opened his body up just wide enough to allow Nathan Patterson to reach his foot round the corner, poke the ball away and ruin the chance. But the key takeaway from these Cornet substitute appearances is that he is a clear direct goal threat. The Ivorian has really impressed with his runs in behind and positioning in the box in games where West Ham have otherwise failed to generate good opportunities.

Gianluca Scamacca (4)

Brought on to replace Antonio for the final 20 minutes, Scamacca was yet again isolated without a midfield behind him that can support a more possession-dominant approach. Feeding off scraps is not his game and Moyes would be best advised to remove players like Souček from the team or concede possession and press much higher if he wants to get maximum impact from Scamacca.

Emerson Palmieri – N/A

Everton: Begović (7), Patterson (6), Coady (7), Tarkowski (8), Mykolenko (7), Onana (6), Gueye (8), Iwobi (8), Gordon (7), Maupay (8), Gray (8).

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