Premier League
West Ham United 2-1 Everton 

Sunday, 3rd April 2022
by Chris Wilkerson

West Ham United were comfortable winners against Everton this afternoon at the London Stadium, doing just enough to win 2-1 against truly awful opponents.

Whilst they may have the individual quality to keep them in games, Everton have only got worse since hiring Frank Lampard. There is no club better placed to understand how a team full of talented individuals can be so collectively poor, and West Ham fans will look at their visitors today and see similarities to vintage relegated sides of our recent past.

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West Ham were better than their opponents, but that's about all they were. It was a performance about the three points, and it always did feel like the hosts would win. A lovely Cresswell freekick in the first half was followed by a Bowen winner in the second, just six minutes after a lucky Mason Holgate equaliser.

Chances of an Everton comeback were dented after a second booking for Michael Keane saw the defender sent off, but there was little to enjoy about what Lampard's side were doing.

Since becoming Frank Lampard's Everton they have brought in a few high profile signings and welcomed back key players. They've also got worse. This after failing to get Derby County promoted using the Chelsea loan system and then seeing Chelsea improve drastically after he left. I don't have a real point, I just wanted to write it.

As for the game itself, West Ham welcomed Jarrod Bowen back into the starting line-up, but were without the injured Ben Johnson and Manuel Lanzini. Out too went Arthur Masuaku as Bowen, Fredericks and Fornals returned.

The game started slowly as the sides looked to work each other out, but the home side made the openings. Both Antonio and Fornals had chances snuffed out by good tackles in the area, the Spaniard's chance coming after some lovely passing football.

The Hammers were playing tentatively, clearly worried that the individuals in this team could still punish lax football, even if Everton's form gave no indication of threat.

And the away side did come close, one Richarlison movement enough to get him away from Fredericks and behind the defence. He was found by a simple through ball and got to the ball before Fabianski, poking it around him as the goalkeeper flew out.

It was enough, enough to give Fredericks the time to go the other side and get to the ball before the Brazilian forward. It was a brilliant reaction to his initial mistake.

It was a little reminder of why West Ham had been wary, and a warning to them that a passive attacking performance could well be punished.

So it was a relief only two minutes later when West Ham won a freekick a few yards back from the edge of the Everton box and Cresswell stepped up to score his first freekick goal since 2019 against Manchester United.

It looked a little close for the left back, but he did it perfectly. Pickford was beaten the second it was hit, looping with power to fly over the wall and into the top corner.

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It would be fair to say it was not a lead the Hammers deserved, but it felt well within their reach throughout. There was just always clearly that extra gear of quality within the side that their opponents never had.

They did create another chance before half time, a long punt by Pickford taken down by Fredericks but only for Richarlison to take, but his poked effort under pressure sailed over as he stepped into the box.

Antonio had an opening too, Fornals finding Benrahma centrally and the Algerian instantly firing it through for Antonio, but the striker was forced wide under pressure by the goalkeeper, and even though he rounded Pickford, his effort went wide from a tight angle.

Taking the lead into half time was valuable for West Ham, scars of late first half goals fresh in the mind.

But having kept the lead, West Ham came out off the pace of the game. Sloppy play at the back caused problems, Benrahma especially guilty of casual use of possession to allow Everton to regain the ball on the front foot.

One pass infield left Rice in an almost impossible situation to maintain possession, and Everton quickly got Calvert-Lewin around the back of the defence to blast wide.

The Everton forward has been linked to many big money moves in the summer, with West Ham included in that. In fairness, he used today to find his way back to fitness, but looked a long way from the form that caught the eye last season.

Mere moments later, Benrahma again lost the ball in his own half and Everton won a corner.

It was curled right in at Fabianski, and the goalkeeper could only punch away with an Everton player right in front of him. The ball floated just past the penalty spot, where Richarlison protected the ball and prodded it back to Holgate.

Just inside the box, the defender - deputising in central midfield with Allan suspended and Van de Beek injured - let the ball bounce and struck at goal. It looked like he'd cut across it perfectly as the ball fizzed into the bottom corner with Fabianski rooted to the spot. Replays showed the initial effort was going comfortably to the goalkeeper, only for Fornals's block to deflect it beyond him.

It was a shock, and Everton looked energised by the equaliser. Their confidence grew as they looked to take advantage and get what would be a precious and rare three points on the road.

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That eagerness was punished. With control of the ball in midfield, the Everton players were on the move and pushing forward. A simple and short pass to Iwobi was so easy to gather that the full backs began their runs at the West Ham defence.

What they didn't plan on was the former Arsenal man letting the ball slip under his boot. It rolled straight to Fornals, and the Spaniard showed the vision and awareness that has made him so loved at West Ham.

A straight pass ahead of Antonio with his left foot put the striker through on goal before some Everton players had realised the ball was lost.

Out came Pickford, smothering the space and blocking Antonio's shot, but it was to his misfortune that the ball ricocheted off him and into the middle of the area, where Bowen was ready to knock the ball into an empty net and restore his side's lead just five minutes after the Everton equaliser.

Moments after kick off, Calvert-Lewin was close to getting in on goal once more, only for Fredericks to make a great challenge from behind to just steal the ball.

The chaos continued, but it was arguably the last nail in the coffin for the visitors. A direct pass to Antonio's feet on the edge of the area invited Keane to dive in. The defender took the bait, took the man and took none of the ball. Having already been booked, the defender was given his marching orders and a sorry side lost their only fit experienced central defender three days ahead of a crucial trip to Burnley.

There was little else to happen, even with 25 minutes to go. Fornals wasted a good opening and Antonio was halted brilliantly by a desperate Godfrey challenge, but the only moment of drama came with the last touch of the game.

A freekick given away carelessly by Fornals was sent to the far post and found Ben Godfrey's head. The ball sailed over and the final whistle went, the moment forgotten instantly.

The ease of the win and the return to fitness (and goals) for Jarrod Bowen ahead of the Europa League quarter-final against Lyon on Thursday was the perfect preparation.

A first league double over Everton in 49 years won't be sniffed at either, whilst a chance to revel in the misery of Frank Lampard is hard to pass up.

But seriously though, West Ham looked controlled and came back from the international break in the exact fashion everyone hoped for.

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Manager's Rating

David Moyes 6/10
It wasn't a great performance, but one that did enough. Hard to say more than that for the manager too. They didn't play well, they didn't play badly, but they won.

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Player Ratings

Lukasz Fabianski
Could arguably have done better with the punch for the goal. Otherwise, he wasn?EUR(TM)t given anything to do. Coming off his line to Richarlison gave Fredericks the chance to get back to win the ball.

Ryan Fredericks
Some of his better moments came after some of his worse moments. Even the challenge on Calvert-Lewin was a questionable decision from behind! But he did do it well, saved a goal from Richarlison and his pace was valuable defensively.

Aaron Cresswell
In a game of little quality, he stepped up and delivered.

Kurt Zouma
The same as Dawson. The centre backs were given a run-out without being given any sort of test.

Craig Dawson
Was given an incredibly easy game. Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin kept the defence honest, making runs and offering for the ball, but there was no quality to find or create.

Declan Rice
Similarly to Soucek, just got on with his job. Improvement came in his forward passing, which was snappier today and he made the right choice to go forward more often than recent performances.

Tomas Soucek
Quietly efficient with everything, underlined by a standout nine headed duels won.

Pablo Fornals
A solid and hardworking game, with clever and incisive passing. The pass that set Antonio away on the second goal is something he does with such ease and sets him apart.

Said Benrahma
He was having a good game, but the errant passing in the second half put the side under pressure.

Jarrod Bowen
A quiet game coming back to fitness, but the vital winning goal. Exactly what you?EUR(TM)d want, 70 minutes and a goal.

Michail Antonio
Worked so hard for the team and looked dangerous. Unlucky not to score but a deserved assist.


Mark Noble
(Replaced Bowen, 69) That 20 minutes he played there has already disappeared. Nothing happened.

Andriy Yarmolenko
(Replaced Benrahma, 81) As above, but less time.

Alphonse Areola
Did not play.

Vladimir Coufal
Did not play.

Ajibola Alese
Did not play.

Issa Diop
Did not play.

Arthur Masuaku
Did not play.

Alex Kral
Did not play.

Nikola Vlasic
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks, Aaron Cresswell, Kurt Zouma, Craig Dawson, Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek, Pablo Fornals, Said Benrahma, Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio.

Goals: Aaron Cresswell 32  57 Jarrod Bowen               .

Booked: Aaron Cresswell 0          .

Sent off: None.

Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Keane, Godfrey, Mykolenko, Holgate, Doucoure, Gray, Iwobi, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin (Gordon 78).

Subs not used: Begovic, Lonergan, Branthwaite, Rondon, Alli, El Ghazi, Prince, Dobbin.

Goals: Holgate (53).

Booked: Keane, Holgate.

Sent off: None.

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Attendance: 59,953.

Man of the Match: Aaron Cresswell.