Everton began the healing process with a battling 1-0 win over Brighton last week, but there is still some way to go if they are to full return to the supporters’ good books.
The Toffees had the better of the play against the Seagulls and should have added to the fine opener scored by Richarlison, but a failure to do so meant for a nervy finale that saw Glenn Murray twice go close in the dying stages.
But, a win is a win, and the result makes it three victories from four league games for Carlo Ancelotti.
Most supporters see the Italian as the only reason to be positive about the club in the wake of that Anfield disaster, with many of the players having tested the supporters’ patience one too many times.
His calm, measured manner in wake of what was a pretty catastrophic result was exactly what the team needed and it is reassuring to see the squad in such experienced hands.
Off the pitch, the AGM revealed record losses of around £113m, though the club were keen to stress that they were in no danger of breaching FFP regulations. That was helped by a handy £30m deal with Alisher Usmanov’s USM group for first dibs on the new stadium. A wonderful piece of creative accounting.
It did suggest though that January business is likely to be limited, with little wriggle room on the financial front. My guess is one or two loans but only if the likes of Oumar Niasse and Cuco Martina are offloaded to lighten the wage bill.
The more Ancelotti wins games the less the need to bring anyone in. The squad definitely needs work but if we can achieve a respectable league position this season with the existing squad, it eases the pressure on Marcel Brands to find immediate solutions to the club’s problems and instead plan properly for the summer.
Like Everton, West Ham sacked their manager last month in an attempt to drag themselves away from danger.
Manuel Pellegrini was dismissed shortly after Christmas following a home defeat to Leicester that left the cub just one place and one point above the relegation zone.
His replacement was a familiar face, with David Moyes returning just 18 months after he was told he wasn’t the man the club wanted for the long term.
Moyes had been linked with a return to Everton prior to Ancelotti’s appointment, news that sparked a strong response from Toffees fans vehemently opposed to the idea.
I firmly agree that Moyes was not the answer, though I don’t hold quite the same level of rancour towards the former Toffees manager as some supporters do.
His career post-Goodison is not much to write home about, though his only real success was keeping West Ham up in 2018. So are the Hammers the ideal club for someone of his skills? It will be interesting to see how he progresses back at the London Stadium.
Moyes made the perfect start to life back in the Hammers dugout, thrashing Bournemouth 4-0 before a 2-0 FA Cup victory at Gillingham.
He was also celebrating a stoppage-tie equaliser at Sheffield United on Friday only for VAR to rule it out for handball, condemning the club to defeat.
They go into this game 16th in the table, still just one point clear of the bottom three.
Marco Silva kept himself in a job for a few more weeks at least with a deserved victory at Goodison Park, ending a run of four straight Premier League defeats.
Bernard’s neat turn and finish gave Everton the lead in the first half with substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson wrapping things up with a thumping finish in stoppage-time - something we have rarely seen from the Icelander in recent months.
Brighton (H) Won 1-0
Liverpool (A - FA Cup) Lost 1-0
Man City (A) Lost 2-1
Newcastle (A) Won 2-1
Burnley H) Won 1-0
Sheffield Utd (A) Lost 1-0
Gillingham (A - FA Cup) Won 2-0
Bournemouth (H) Won 4-0
Leicester (H) Lost 2-1
Crystal Palace (A) Lost 2-1
Everton will be without Richarlison with what Ancelotti describes as a “minor” knee problem. Gylfi Sigurdsson is also sidelined with a groin strain while Alex Iwobi is not yet ready to return tom a hamstring injury.
Andre Gomes and JP Gbamin are back in training but some way short of a comeback.
What they said
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti: “He (Moyes) is in a club that had the same problem Everton had, to try to improve them in the table. He has no extra motivation to play against Everton. He did really well in this club, he was for a long time, everyone respects him, so it will be an interesting game.
“It was a good reaction (against Brighton) and an important three points. The target is to improve in the table and try to stay closer to the top.”
West Ham manager David Moyes: “I spent eleven-and-a-half great years there. We did some really great things at Everton, but everything now is geared towards West Ham.
“In many ways I’m trying to get West Ham to do something similar - get regular top-six football, regular top-seven, get to Europe - and I think there is a similarity in the clubs in many ways, so I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be doing that at West Ham.
“(Carlo Ancelotti) has had a very good start. I think (in the league) performances have started well. He’s an incredibly experienced manager. I think it might only be José who might have more medals, or maybe Sir Alex if you put it that way, but I think he’s up there with some of the most decorated managers there is, so obviously it’s (the game’s) a tough one because he’s very experienced.”
The London Stadium was the scene of one of Everton’s finest away performances in recent months back in March. The Toffees have struggled on the road since, though the Ancelotti factor has injected everyone with fresh optimism. West Ham hope to maintain their new manager bounce too so it will be interesting to see how the two teams react. A win, of course, would be fantastic, but a point on the road to maintain momentum ahead of Tuesday’s home clash against Newcastle wouldn’t be sniffed at.