Everton 1 West Ham United 0
Sunday, 18th September 2022
by Chris Wilkerson
It’s another defeat for West Ham at the start of this Premier League season, going down 1-0 at Goodison Park and giving a poor Everton side their first win of the season.In a scrappy game, short on quality and mostly contested in a hectic middle third, Neal Maupay - and who else could it have been? - scored his first Everton goal, and his third goal in three Premier League starts against West Ham.
David Moyes reverted to what is now his Premier League selection, with Antonio, Fornals, Bowen, Fabianski, Zouma and Soucek returning to the side.
The question, now, is whether this gentle transition, this slow adaptation of the squad, needs to happen faster. Today, West Ham were short in good passing and good movement on and off the ball.
These are the problems that dogged the worst performances of last season, and that have been there in almost every game this season.
As for the game itself, it was another very low on quality from either team. The one moment of quality came from Maupay, in a game that was otherwise contested in a frantic fashion. Mistakes were everywhere, from both teams, from players you?EUR(TM)d expect and players who are often much more assured. Everton took the three points, and much needed was it, but neither side nor its fans will come away thinking that this is going to be an enjoyable season.
That may seem quite early such a lament, but as we now break for two weeks for the internationals, it is also worth remembering how compact this season is, and how often players will be away from their clubs.
This week, West Ham will see about half their squad away on international duty. There will be no extra time for Rice, Fornals and Paqueta to be working on the much-wanted 4-3-3 system that is posed so often online, with the England and Brazilian internationals both away preparing their last games before the World Cup.
Scamacca will have no extra time to get used to his teammates, Kehrer more used to a change in defensive style, Emerson up to the standards that Moyes expects of a defender.
And whilst Soucek and Coufal (among with others like Scamacca, Antonio and Emerson) won?EUR(TM)t be going to the World Cup, that doesn?EUR(TM)t mean they will be resting in this break. There is very little time to implement the changes that the manager and his coaching staff (and the fans) want.
The tone was set early, with Everton trying to start with gusto and bluster. For the home side, it was full of things that a packed crowd like to see, with challenges snapped into, a high tempo and not allowing their opponents time to settle on the ball.
West Ham can get involved in these chaotic games, but this season, they lack a way to rise out of it, instead devolving into games of little skill and mostly endeavour.
The best Everton opening of the first half came from a sloppy Soucek pass, receiving from Zouma and then trying to give the defender the ball back. It wasn?EUR(TM)t just that Zouma would have been under pressure from the pass, it was that the pass didn?EUR(TM)t even find him. Instead it was straight to Maupay, who slide Iwobi through into the area. Fabianski did well to shepherd him out, rather than diving in.
A moment later, Bowen stole in around Mykolenko on the West Ham right and drilled a ball into the channel between goalkeeper and defender, but it was deflected just wide.
Those were the best chance of the half. It was a game mired in the middle, where the play was frantic and chaotic, but neither side could create anything in the final third. Everton looked the more comfortable with it. Had West Ham been in better form, you could argue Everton had dragged them down, but The Hammers have not exactly played above this kind of uncontrolled mess for the majority of this season.
It felt like a half in which unforced errors would tally up higher than any five-set thriller at Wimbledon, with passes short, wayward and poor. There was a late half-chance for Zouma, trying to loop on a header from a Cresswell cross, but it was another half that anyone watching will have been happy to see the back of.
Another one of those in 2022/23, and there has probably one half in each of the games this season that fit that description.
The second half suffered from much of the first?EUR(TM)s problems, and it became clear that goals were not going to flow here. The game itself was poised to become a clich?(C), and many will have been offering up that this could be settled by a single goal, a moment of quality at either end.
Bowen offered something for West Ham fans to cling to early on, firing over after a nice move down the left by Fornals. He may have been better off dummying the ball for Soucek on the edge of the box, but it was not greedy to be taking on the effort himself.
And then it came, just under 10 minutes into the half. Iwobi fed the ball into Maupay on the edge of the box, and the ex-Brighton man had made himself a little bit of space between three in claret and blue. His touch popped the ball into the air a little, but tight to him, and the managed to spin and hit the ball on the bounce.
It sailed through the two defenders trying to block and past Fabianski into the corner, that moment of quality appearing, shining on its own, the diamond in the rough.
The finish, the turn, it was lovely football. He won?EUR(TM)t do it against anyone else, he never does, but it was Neal Maupay again. The more cynical amongst the West Ham fanbase will have known to end the game there, it is just something about Maupay and his goals.
The goal opened the game up a little, for about 10 minutes anyway, West Ham got on the front foot, and whilst it allowed Everton space to counter into, it also seemed to free West Ham.
It was this period that they looked most dangerous, and came very close to scoring. It was again from the left, a combination of Fornals and Antonio doing very well before Antonio?EUR(TM)s low cross found Bowen.
The winger settled himself, shifted it out of his feet and shot low. It looked to be beating Begovic in the Everton goal, but Tarkowski had moved into the space to cover that corner as Bowen took the ball under control. As he shot, the defender blocked and prevented what looked like a certain goal.
On came Benrahma and Cornet, replacing Fornals and Paqueta, both who were underwhelming. Fornals had his moments, but also had very poor ones, whilst Paqueta couldn?EUR(TM)t really seem to get into the game and have an impact. He seemed to play in that 10 position today, and on this showing, he is by no means a perfect solution in that area.
With just under 30 minutes left, the changes offered West Ham something a little different. Cornet, in particular, looks to fit in what Moyes?EUR(TM)s West Ham classically play. His performance off the bench, allied with the same against Chelsea and his play in European games would suggest he is the one knocking on the door loudest.
Corners, where The Hammers are supposed to be such a threat, had mostly been poor. The side?EUR(TM)s xG this season is actually quite high from corners, but the results don?EUR(TM)t match that. Soucek did well to get on the first decent corner of the afternoon, and his header flashed across the face of goal, finding no one.
With 20 minutes left, it was time for Scamacca, replacing Antonio. His only significant contribution in his cameo was a pair of needless and frustrated fouls.
A team short of ideas did not suddenly look full of them as the changes were made. It looked not to matter when Soucek brilliantly regained possession in the Everton half and his tackle set Benrahma off to goal. He cut in from the right curled a ball around the defence with his left, leaving Begovic beaten, but the Algerian could only watch as it struck the inside of the post and rolled across goal to safety. His shot was deflected a little, enough to keep it away from the goalkeeper.
It soon became all about what Rice could do, the only man who seemed capable of carrying the ball any distance. One such burst fed Cornet down the left of the penalty area, where his powerful shot was well saved.
But the big chance was still to come. This time, Bowen flicked a long ball on for Cornet, and the Ivorian was in the box. Just as he was about to shoot, Patterson managed to get his foot around the ball and flick it away, and then Cornet couldn?EUR(TM)t recover to get a good shot at goal from a tight angle. A little luck, Cornet gets that shot off before Patterson can flick a flailing leg, his tackle misses it, or he hits Cornet. But luck isn?EUR(TM)t really following this side around, at the moment.
There was a late corner that Rice headed back across goal and into the centre, but it was cleared and Everton instead held on for their first win of the season, and West Ham go into the international break off the back of their joint-worst start to a Premier League season, and in the relegation places.
David Moyes: 5/10 The team selection didn?EUR(TM)t seem right to suit the opponents, the first half wasn?EUR(TM)t good enough to go unchanged, the original selection seemed to ignore our recent form, and the changes didn?EUR(TM)t get a goal from a team who do not look like they?EUR(TM)re going to score that much, anyway.
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Player RatingsLukasz Fabianski
Not sure he really did much of anything wrong or right. The chances weren?EUR(TM)t there, they then scored a brilliantly taken goal.
Defensively solid, didn?EUR(TM)t pass that well, managed to hold down the right side and offer a threat that allowed Bowen to go inside. Coufal gets harshly criticised, with a complete focus on what he doesn?EUR(TM)t do well, often without mentioning what he does do well. Today, he managed to make something out of a range of bad, floaty diagonals that put him under immediate pressure. It happens every game, and it?EUR(TM)s mainly Rice. He makes something of these nothing passes over and over.
One good cross aside, he had enough of the ball to do more with it. Fine enough in defence, although there were periods in the first half where Everton looked to be getting some success trying to target him.
Thilo Kehrer 7/10
Possibly could have done better when Maupay turns to strike, but it was sudden, in a tight space and very hard to stop. Looked solid and disciplined, especially with one tackle on Gray in the penalty area.
Kehrer and Zouma were probably the two most consistent players on the pitch, matched only by Coady and Tarkowski, in that they did their jobs with little fuss as every other outfield player seemed to be hectic in every movement.
By his standards, it was a little disappointing, but in reality, he was let down by a team that all seem to be one-paced too often. In a game where chaos and ferocity will be mentioned, Rice kept the ball well and made driving runs to progress the team forward. Let down by what was around him.
A couple of good moments, but more sloppy ones, and he just seemed to be put into a game that wasn?EUR(TM)t suited to him. And then, as we chase, he can?EUR(TM)t be taken off because how much of a weapon he can be in attack.
He hasn?EUR(TM)t started the season well, and it was by no means a standout performance, but he was the spark in attack. Antonio was getting no service, but Bowen was digging out the odd opportunity and working hard to recover the ball, too.
Possibly a touch harsh considering he had moments of creativity, but he wasn?EUR(TM)t good. The attacking unit isn?EUR(TM)t working, and they can all take blame as they have all had more bad than good in their play this season.
A harsh five, but it was more due to his lack of real impact on events. He was neat with the ball, a 95% accuracy suggesting one misplaced pass, but there was no creativity, no incision, no influence.
He worked hard and, when he got the ball, was reasonably good at holding it up or rolling the defenders. But, it was all huff and puff without much threat, and you can see why he was replaced. You could also see how he could be very frustrated with what is behind him, and Scamacca soon understood his pain.
(Replaced Paqueta 62) You could write a similar review of a Benrahma performance every week and the two camps there seem to be around him would argue. You can never be nice enough for one, nor harsh enough for the other. He was fine, he offered something different, something more direct and more mobile. He deserves more time, not so much because he?EUR(TM)s been brilliant, but because it isn?EUR(TM)t working as is.
(Replaced Fornals 62) A real impact from the bench. He looks the man to come in, he?EUR(TM)s threatening goal, he digs out good crosses, will add some balance with his left foot and keeps getting into good positions to score.
(Replaced Antonio 70) Anonymous cameo. Just looked angry and a bit lost.
(Replaced Cresswell 90?EUR(TM)) n/a
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Vladimir Coufal, Aaron Cresswell, Thilo Kehrer 7/10, Kurt Zouma, Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek, Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals, Lucas Paqueta, Michail Antonio.
Booked: Gianluca Scamacca 90 .
Sent off: None.
Everton: Begović, Patterson, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Onana, Gueye, Iwobi, Gray (Doucouré 81), Gordon (McNeil 75), Maupay (Rondón 89).
Subs not used: Jakupović, Coleman, Keane, Davies, Vinagre, Garner.
Goals: Maupay (53).
Booked: Coady (28), Gordon (62), McNeil (90+4).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Man of the Match: Maxwel Cornet.