The setup and personnel were familiar. The effort - and result - was not. Everton put forward a cohesive team performance to coast past West Ham, punctuated by a masterclass from Wayne Rooney.
- Rooney was the captain on the evening, and led by example. His specific position was wildly unclear - and maybe that’s why it worked. Wayne was everywhere, and scored a hat trick that included three very different goals, but none better than the third.
Joe Hart made a sliding clearance that sent the ball into Everton’s half, and Rooney - without taking a touch - immediately stroked it past a stranded Joe Hart and into the back of the net.
- Another encouragement to take from tonight was the play of the Blues’ youngsters. Jonjoe Kenny, Tom Davies, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were productive, industrious, and largely mistake-free.
- Mason Holgate also played.
- A ridiculous penalty (which Jordan Pickford promptly saved, but still) conceded and an incredibly good header scored: the Ashley Williams Experience.
- While his overall tenure as caretaker was subpar, David Unsworth deserved to go out with this type of result. His passion for Everton never wavered, and Rhino’s commitment to the crest is beyond compare. Thanks, Unsy.
- The goals, of course, were delightful. Perhaps more notable, though? Everton kept their first clean sheet in 14 games. David Moyes is gone, but his contributions to the blue cause remain. West Ham are absolute garbage.
The season isn’t quite saved, but this win was something to build on. For now, Huddersfield Town await, as does the Sam Allardyce era. Many questions lie ahead, but until then - savor this one, Blues. It’s been awhile.