West Ham United 0-2 Everton
Saturday, 30th March 2019
by Chris Wilkerson
West Ham slumped to a poor defeat this afternoon as Everton were able to brush them aside at the London Stadium.With a result that pushed West Ham out of the top ten, the majority of Manuel Pellegrini?EUR(TM)s men put in a performance bereft of any indication ability to lose 2-0.
Reminiscent of the last two games against Huddersfield and Cardiff, West Ham didn?EUR(TM)t start the game anywhere near the intensity of their opponent.
Shorn of Felipe Anderson, Pellegrini also had Mark Noble and Michail Antonio on the bench, bringing in Robert Snodgrass, Pedro Obiang and Lucas Perez.
This left them close to a 4-4-2, and playing a very open game.
But whilst West Ham created rare openings, or maybe merely possibilities of openings, that never seemed to end in shots, Everton were happy to express themselves going forward, West Ham allowing them space to play. The away side were far more effective with it.
And for all the joy in open play in the first half, the first goal came from a corner.
An early set piece, seen as West Ham?EUR(TM)s strength and Everton?EUR(TM)s weakness, saw Kurt Zouma open the scoring.
A floaty and high delivery, swinging away from goal, was met by the centre half, climbing easily above Issa Diop before heading down and seeing his effort bounce and loop into the far corner.
It was another example of Diop struggling against strong players in the air and altogether too easy for Everton to score.
Everton were in the ascendancy before the goal, and carried on in that fashion after it. There was notable joy down the flanks, especially when the full backs were left stranded up the pitch after failed attacking moves.
Whilst the game was open, giving both sides opportunities to play, it was only the West Ham goal that was threatened. The home side had the odd pretty move, but never got away shots. They had one on target all game, and that was harmless.
At the other end, Fabianski was tested on numerous occasions. A double save from first Calvert-Lewin and then a point-blank range effort from Sigurdsson.
Moments later, Digne was allowed space to shoot inside the area, once more stopped by the Pole, before half a minute later he flew from his line to dive out acrobatically and flick the ball off Calvert-Lewin?EUR(TM)s head six yards from goal.
For West Ham, their nicest bit of first half football came from a lovely reverse pass down the right wing by Arnautovic, feeding the run of Zabaleta. His driven pass to the edge of the area found Lanzini, but the Argentine took far too many touches when in space to shoot, eventually dispossessed.
Everton were in control, looking far more sharp, attacking with intent and looking dangerous.
The pressure they built was rewarded on 32 minutes.
And whilst it started from a poor clearance under no pressure by Fabianski, it came from their movement down the flanks. Richarlison and Coleman combined on the right, Coleman bursting past Cresswell and into the area. His ball across the face of goal was easily turned into the net by Bernard and Everton?EUR(TM)s dominance was rewarded.
Everton?EUR(TM)s front men were combining sharply and running in behind with pace and menace. In contrast, Lucas Perez drifted meaninglessly about the pitch, contriving to lose the ball any time he had it.
The half ended with a flurry of West Ham corners, but they were dealt with comfortably as the half-time whistle was blown and a smattering of boos could be heard across the ground. Everton had had seven shots on target, West Ham had been embarrassing.
Half-time saw two changes, with Antonio and Hernandez on for Perez and Obiang, with Hernandez up top and Arnautovic and Antonio wide of him.
The change in system gave West Ham better shape to combat Everton?EUR(TM)s strengths and control the ball. For all the possession they gained, it was Everton who got the closest to goal, a volley from Andre Gomes blocked impressively by Zabaleta as it looked to be arrowing to goal.
But West Ham were the better side and Everton went from strolling it to struggling to contain West Ham. It showed what might have been had Pellegrini sent his side out in the right shape and, with Anderson out and Noble only available for the bench, the right eleven too.
After 20 minutes of dominating the ball, the home side only had a Declan Rice yellow card to show for it. Off went Marko Arnautovic, complaining of hamstring problems and having his knee tended to once substituted, and on came Diangana.
Arnautovic had cut a miserable figure in the second half, which won?EUR(TM)t have been helped by a small group of boos as he left the field. He then looked to react angrily when sat down.
In reality, Everton looked comfortable to allow West Ham to operate harmlessly in front of them. The only joy to be found was Lanzini turning two Everton defenders so sharply that they ended up running face first into each other.
There was little else to enjoy, as Everton threatened more on the rare counter attack than West Ham did with any dominance of the ball. Calvert-Lewin?EUR(TM)s pace and workrate made him a constant nuisance for the defence and created space for others to run into. Two chances were made just from his running, and if he learns to shoot he?EUR(TM)ll be a dangerous striker.
Any momentum West Ham had made was gone, with the game now seemingly just waiting to end.
Drifting to nothing, Everton showed a little life. Richarlison smashed the crossbar with a free header from a corner, unmarked from six yards out and with no excuse not to score.
Not many in claret and blue could look at their performance with any level of satisfaction, only Fabianski, Lanzini and Rice came out looking like Premier League players. For all the mention of improvement in this report, they had no shots in the second half.
Everton came away with their first win in London for two years, a win that also let them claim West Ham?EUR(TM)s spot in the top half of the table.
Many feel Manuel Pellegrini is far too protected from criticism when the side play poorly, but this time he made obvious errors and sent out a team with odd personnel choices and even worse shape. By the time he realised, the game had gone.
His second half changes made the side better on the ball, but not having a single shot negates that improvement. Everton seemed to sit off a lot more, probably confident they could manage the game, yet had purpose moving forward.
Attacking intent as a manager is all well and good, but the side was struggling in the first half and Pellegrini was either unable or unwilling to do anything effective to help them. It made this game so easy for Everton and squashed any feeling that this season was worth continuing to care about.
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Player RatingsLucasz Fabianski
His kick was poor before their second goal, but he made a string of good saves.
Consistently caught with a runner behind him that he could never catch.
Worst performance for a while, interestingly coming in a game without Anderson ahead of him. He didn?EUR(TM)t attack or defend as well as he has been.
If you?EUR(TM)re tall and strong, you?EUR(TM)re going to better Issa Diop in the air.
People talk about who is going to partner Diop now Balbuena is fit, but Ogbonna has been the better centre back for a while now and isn?EUR(TM)t the one who should be under threat.
Even in a game where he isn?EUR(TM)t near his best, he makes so many fantastic challenges and interceptions. Not just easy ones, but ones that he has no right to win.
Defensive contributions were fine, yet he seemed pointless and the midfield was much better after his departure, but he suffered for playing in an awful 4-4-2.
Feels hard to sum his game up. He ran a lot, but he lacks creativity and is too slow to threaten out wide.
The only player who attempted any ingenuity going forward. Must have been quite a come down after a week away with Argentina. Maybe that?EUR(TM)s why nothing came off. Needs to shoot earlier.
The only thing he threatened was my joy of football.
His reverse pass to Zabaleta was the highlight of a miserable first half, and he did run hard. His pace in behind was the only thing that threatened Everton?EUR(TM)s comfortable day. He?EUR(TM)s just an easy target for abuse. That said, he isn?EUR(TM)t on it at the moment. If he doesn?EUR(TM)t get near that, this side finishes well short of the top ten.
(Replaced Obiang) His biggest contribution was a bizarre pass/touch of control that sent the ball from Everton?EUR(TM)s area to off for a throw.
(Replaced Perez) Given nothing to work with.
(Replaced Arnautovic) Everyone had decided the game was done by the time he came on, so he just ran around.
Adrian San Miguel del Castillo
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Lucasz Fabianski, Pablo Zabaleta, Aaron Cresswell, Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna, Declan Rice, Pedro Obiang, Robert Snodgrass, Manuel Lanzini, Lucas Perez, Marko Arnautovic.
Booked: Declan Rice 64 .
Sent off: None.
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Digne, Gueye, Gomes, Richarlison (Walcott 90), Sigurdsson (Davies 85), Bernard, Calvert-Lewin (Tosun 88).
Subs not used: Stekelenburg, Baines, Jagielka, Lookman.
Goals: Zouma (5), Bernard (33).
Booked: Richarlison (42).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Paul Tierney.
Man of the Match: Lucasz Fabianski.