Everton pounce early and often
In what was a nice change of pace, Everton came out of the gates swinging in this match. Where in the past Everton have often struggled to assert themselves early on, against West Ham United they did most of their damage within the first half hour. A Kurt Zouma header in the fifth minute started things of quickly for Everton followed by a textbook finish from Bernard 20 minutes later. But throughout the first half Everton were dominant.
While the score read 2-0, this match could have easily been 5-0 at the half. This match had some of the best attacking play that has been seen from this Everton squad all season. Every player seemed to be at their peak and pass after pass found the intended target in a dangerous area. Everton seemed to just breeze through the West Ham defenders and create scoring opportunities galore. If this is what this lineup can look like at it’s peak, then Everton may just be a more dangerous team than they have been leading on throughout an up and down season.
Calvert-Lewin puts in an impressive shift
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been an interesting player for Everton since his debut back in 2016. His raw pace and work rate have always been evident, but he always lacked polish and finesse. He would score here and there, but he has rarely been able to string together a consistent run that has justified his inclusion in the starting 11.
But the last few matches and especially in this one against West Ham, things seem to be coming together for the young striker. Calvert-Lewin’s touch and finishing can certainly improve but it was his runs that impressed the most in this match. He was consistently finding open lanes in the attacking area and creating open space for his teammates to run into. He may not have ended up with a goal or assist, but Calvert-Lewin was just as responsible for Everton’s offensive success as any other payer on the pitch.
Silva may have found his best lineup
With a new manager comes growing pains and the need to tinker with the lineup. New players and poor performance have understandably necessitated changes, but with the season winding down, Marco Silva should let this current line-up ride until the end of the year.
The pairing of Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma have certainly produced some really poor performances, but they have arguably been the best pairing this team currently has. Yerry Mina has not stayed healthy long enough to warrant a consistent spot in the team and there are no better bench options available. Likewise, the attacking trio of Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Bernard should stay put as well. They are young, creative and like the defense, no better options exist on the bench. I think we would all like to see Ademola Lookman get more time, but he has yet to prove that he deserves more minutes on the pitch.
Certainly some additions will need to be made in the off season, but the bones of a solid team do exist. Everton are still such a young team and coupled with a new manager it is not surprising that there have been growing pains. It would be nice to see this starting 11, which produced a wonderful performance, finish out the season.