Premier League
Everton 2 West Ham United 0

Saturday, 19th October 2019
by Chris Wilkerson

An Everton team on a poor run with a manager the favourite to be the next to lose his job were visited at Goodison Park today by West Ham United. Any fans of the latter will have known what was coming.

What they may not have envisaged was the gutless performance from Manuel Pellegrini's side that came with it, the boys in claret and blue with no answer to the intensity, hard work and constant running of their opponents.

A dire 90 minutes for The Hammers, albeit aligned with a renewed vigour for Everton, saw a rather indefensible 2-0 defeat that could well have been more. That Roberto made nine saves in the game, the most of any individual goalkeeper in a Premier League match this season, says much to the way the whole team defended.

The Irons went into the game with two changes, Arthur Masuaku returning at left back in place of Aaron Cresswell, whilst Pablo Fornals started over Andriy Yarmolenko, presumably wearied after a tough international week.

The Everton fans roared on their side from the first minute, showing no lack of support for their manager, but a team and a stadium that could have turned nervous under pressure was never given any reason to worry.

For West Ham fans, there is nothing good to read in summation of the first half. Ogbonna and Diop won some of their battles, but it is easy to argue that every other player lost theirs.

Constant pressure from the off seemed to confound West Ham, and they never got into a rhythm. Any panic on the streets of London seemed to travel up in the feet of the West Ham players, who were never assured on the ball, making sloppy passes in every area of the pitch.

There were plenty of warning signs before the first Everton goal, most notably after a corner was flicked on by Fornals across the face of his own goal to be met by Tom Davies, who managed to hit Roberto from inside the six yard box, the Spaniard doing very well to get across his line to be there for what should have been an easy goal.

That was inside the first ten minutes, but it was only another ten minutes later that Everton did go ahead, and it was fully deserved.

Theo Walcott, who finds form against West Ham however the weather, drove at the defence and slipped a clever ball in behind to Bernard in the box. The Brazilian, with a clear route to goal, turned instead away from it. However odd a choice it may have been, it probably doesn't excuse how easily he was then allowed by Rice and Masuaku.

At a difficult angle, Bernard squeezed the ball under Roberto, who had come out and then dived rather wildly, and into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

It didn't do anything to wake the visitors up. Passing from the back became a mix of long balls and airy chips with little intent, all of which were taken comfortably for more Everton possession and pressure.

Everton were flying, and hit the post five minutes after their opener, Richarlison beating Ogbonna and Diop to a pass in the box and unfortunate to hit the woodwork after beating Roberto.

It really got to the point where the only game for West Ham fans to watch was that of Andre Gomes versus the referee, as the Portuguese midfielder got away with foul after foul, often cynical, but appeared just too good looking to be booked.

There was nowhere to look for good performances, but certainly easy to spot bad ones. Anderson seemed to be trying to create, but made bad choices. When he wasn't making bad choices, his passing was appalling.

Fornals was lost, again, making simple errors, losing the ball easily and looking a long way away from being ready for starts in the Premier League.

Noble was anonymous, Rice beaten by the intensity, Lanzini struggling to be in the game and Haller playing so isolated he may as well have stopped.

Half time at only 1-0 down was a relief.

The obvious man to call from the bench was Andriy Yarmolenko, and he was duly introduced. The slight surprise was that he came in for Felipe Anderson. The Brazilian had been poor, but he'd gone for the ball and has a history at least of important West Ham performances. Fornals was lucky to be out there.

He had the chance to reward his manager's faith five minutes into the second half.

With Everton's intensity dropped, West Ham made a move on the right side as Yarmolenko made steady progress down the flank. His eventual cross evaded the defenders to find Fornals, who snapped at his chance near the penalty spot and scuffed wide a good opportunity. Not quite good enough, a snapshot of his West Ham career so far.

It seemed to be enough for West Ham to assume they were back in a groove, which only imbued a sense of laziness in them. Anything simple became difficult.

Noble and Ogbonna were both guilty of losing possession when strolling with the ball aimlessly, unaware of their surroundings. Roberto was kicking the ball off for no reason, although it was a little safer than his direct passes to Everton players. Most annoyingly, every throw-in seemed to be an excuse to lose the ball. Movement? None. Ideas? Not one.

As Gomes totted up a sixth foul without a yellow, Everton started to ramp up the pressure again.

First Walcott smashed the underside of the bar with a beautiful half-volley after a cleared corner, Roberto diving for the practise, if anything.

Iwobi should have put the game to bed with 15 minutes remaining, walking into the West Ham area but prodded it right at Roberto, who still did well to make the save.

Fornals had been replaced by Wilshere, who gave another cameo of little impact, whilst Albian Ajeti made a Premier League debut replacing Mark Noble.

It changed little. Everton had a goal disallowed contentiously after the referee saw an infringement before Yerry Mina nodded in a corner, then Issa Diop hit a driven cross at the head of Roberto from four yards, relieved to see it bounce away for a corner, one of the eleven Everton had. West Ham had two.

But when you don't put games to bed, that door is open. Everyone defending a 1-0 lead will have that feeling that there is always a chance in it for the opposition.

West Ham did have that chance. Of their two corners, one exposed that Everton set piece weakness. Lanzini's ball to the back post found Haller, whose header down found confusion and eventually Ogbonna. His desperate dig at goal was six yards out, hit a deflection, but still failed to beat Pickford in the Everton goal.

It was the last thread of hope West Ham had.

As finally Andre Gomes was booked, moments later the game was put to bed.

A final Everton attack was again poorly defended, as most had been all game. Richarlison was kept onside as the pass came into the West Ham half. Rice and Masuaku failed to deal with the pressure on the right, seeming mentally and physically beat as they lost 50/50s for the ball.

It came to Sigurdsson, who shifted the ball once, shifted it another time and then fired beyond Roberto from outside the box with a fantastic finish.

The 2-0 final score was little more than Everton deserved.

For West Ham, it was many things. To be kind, it was a reminder of how inconsistent the middling teams of the Premier League can be, and that West Ham are still one of them.

In more stark terms, it exposed the flaws in this squad, with little depth, no physicality in midfield and the same mental weaknesses as the season before.

Combined with recent results, it also provoked the feeling that, again, this was another pointless Premier League season, a sense of hope resting fully on the FA Cup, and under a regime that has never looked to take cups seriously.

There was very little to take from it, a truly pathetic performance. The only hope is that any shame didn't feel in defeat to Crystal Palace may now be hard to avoid.

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Player Ratings

Roberto Jimenez Gago
Not the greatest way to start his West Ham spell. Conceded four, probably could've done a little better with the last.


Ryan Fredericks
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.


Ben Johnson
No notable error. Good to see Pellegrini taking a closer look at his in pre-season.


Issa Diop
One vital error that led to City's third goal, as he conceded possession cheaply and unnecessary. As you might expect from a youngster.


Angelo Ogbonna
Still looking a little clumsy and conceded the penalty that put Manchester City ahead.


Declan Rice
Not involved to any great degree but made several decent interceptions and kept it simple.


Mark Noble
It seems his legs still haven't gone - and he's looking like a leader in every game.


Felipe Anderson
A decent half from the Brazilian winger, who gave one or two City defenders nightmares in the opening stages.


Manuel Lanzini
A decent first half but like many others, faded after the break.


Jack Wilshere
Fit again and it showed - and long may that remain the case.


Michail Antonio
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.



Substitutes

Carlos Sanchez
(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.


Robert Snodgrass
(Replaced Wilshere) Largely anonymous against the better City players.


Andriy Yarmolenko
(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.


Javier Hernandez
(Replaced Antonio) Not really involved although one 25-yard free kick nearly caught City unawares.


Pablo Zabaleta
(Replaced Fredericks) The old boy endured a bit of a torrid time against City's attack in the second half.


Aaron Cresswell
(Replace Johnson) No more effective that young Johnson, who he replaced.


Pedro Obiang
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 Facts

West 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                  .

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Everton: .

Subs not used: .

Goals: .

Booked: .

Sent off: None.

Referee: tbc.

Attendance: 0.

Man of the Match: Ryan Fredericks.