Everton were the second best side for most of this game against West Ham at Goodison Park, but despite allowing the visitors the majority of the possession, will feel hard done by that they failed to score for just the second time this season.
A fourth win in a row at home would mark Everton’s best start to a Premier League season, a feat only previously done in 1978-79 during the First Division era. However, it was West Ham instead who marked their best ever start to a campaign with a 1-0 win that sees them draw level with the Toffees on points and ahead on goal difference.
The Toffees had the better of the chances in the first half as they settled in a defensive shell that allowed David Moyes’ side all kinds of time on the ball but not enough to create a scoring opportunity of substance.
However, in the second half a switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation by Rafa Benitez with Alex Iwobi in the middle opened up the game some more for both sides. A tight game like this was always going to be settled by an error or a setpiece, and the visitors used both to get the winner, the third game in a row between the two sides that ended in a 1-0 scoreline.
Jordan Pickford was unable to secure a high ball with Michail Antonio pressuring him in the six-yard box. From the resultant corner, Angelo Ogbonna got just ahead of Ben Godfrey in the air to nod home at the far post with Pickford helpless, the only goal of the game.
Everton tried to find an equalizer with fifteen plus minutes still to play, but just did not show enough quality in the attacking half to find the equalizer despite a litany of missed half-chances throughout the game.
What do we do with Alex Iwobi? Once again the finishing touch let him down in the box, a number of times too. Looked more comfortable in the #10 position in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but not enough quality from him today.
Everton’s midfield of Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure were left chasing shadows for most of the game today as Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek were able to run and pass through and around them all game long. Not having Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin to play the high press really diminishes the midfield duo.
Yeoman performance from Michael Keane who headed, blocked, tackled and did everything that was asked of him today with aplomb.
Jordan Pickford’s weakness against high ball played into the box is an issue that West Ham came ready to exploit, and were able to take advantage of eventually. Don’t see any sign of him correcting it either, if anyone can ever forget that Anfield gaffe.
Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend had their moments, but looked more subdued today. The pair could be regressing to the mean after a sparkling start to the season, but Everton are desperately short on quality to cover for that.