Completely disinterested Everton put to the sword by the Premier League’s bottom team.
Compare that to the last two times we played West Ham. Thrashed them 4-0 at Goodison on a night game with Wayne Rooney grabbing a hattrick. And getting hammered by the Hammers on the last day of last season.
Marco Silva named his best starting lineup from what he had available to him, and the Blues started brightly, holding the ball and distributing it well. However, a quarter of an hour in all positive momentum was lost as West Ham United caught the high backline flatfooted and Marco Arnautovic unselfishly centered for Andrei Yarmolenko to put the visitors ahead.
The Blues passing got more and more ragged as the half went on and the Hammers got more confident. Apart from Lucas Digne, his crossing was magnificent. A lovely ball right to Cenk Tosun’s head was poorly headed right at the goalie by the striker.
Then Jordan Pickford decided to get into the melee of mediocrity going on in front of him with a poor pass out to Digne. The Frenchman was dispossessed by Yarmolenko who then curled home a peach of a shot to put the Hammers up by two.
The visitors seemed to back off after the second goal, happy to sit back and win their first points of the season. Everton had their half-chances but lacked the incisiveness to make it count. Marco Silva had to do something and he made a change before the break, with Morgan Schneiderlin coming off for Bernard.
Then just before the break, on a move initiated by Bernard, Jonjoe Kenny crossed for Gylfi Sigurdsson to head home and tie it 2-1. Game on?
Bernard’s introduction sparked the Blues in the second half and Everton looked the better side in the earlier exchanges, but.. of course there’s a big, honking ‘but’.. it was Arnautovic who took advantage first. He toyed with Mason Holgate all day long, and once again got the defender stranded playing a neat one-two, and easily slid home for the Hammers’ third.
Everton looked like they were going to make a go of it, but that took the wind right out of the sails and the rest of the game petered out into a dull affair with neither side coming close to scoring.
Poor afternoon for a handful of players on the Blues: Mason Holgate, Kurt Zouma, Idrissa Gueye, Morgan Schneiderlin, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Cenk Tosun all looked off. Marco Silva also needs to explain why his side did not look ready to play today, getting an extra day off after the international break.
Bernard was a spark since he came on, and got three Hammers booked with his quick movement. Lucas Digne is the real deal - we’ve been spoiled by having Leighton Baines over the years, but Digne’s deliveries are right up there in the elite level.