There weren’t a lot of positives to build on for either of these teams before kickoff. West Ham had not won in their last four home matches and hadn’t even scored in their last two. They had scored an average of 0.8 goals per game which was tied for 17th.........with Everton. The Toffees haven’t won a match in the last five games and haven’t kept a clean sheet in six matches. Most concerning, in those five games, Everton lost to both Wolves and Southampton who were both sitting in 20th place when the game was played.
Frank Lampard and my sister’s favourite Scot, David Moyes, were clinging to their jobs by some strands of the DNA in their nails. The situation is so dire that Chris Sutton who predicts scores for the BBC wondered whether it was “possible for me to make a prediction where both teams lose?”
Frank Lampard’s pre-match comments:
“The players don’t want to be in this position, the reality is we are here. There are lots of reasons for that but they should have a human reaction to that after games. I have had things to say, too, because from my point of view given the position we are in, we must fight, and be ready to fight.
If the players are disappointed we lost, then that’s good. If they want to fight, be a good teammate and not think about themselves, instead think about the team, the next result and training with great intensity whether starting or not, then that’s what I want.
They [the players] have to think about what they can do to get out of these difficult moments, I have been in many during my career, and the only way is to work, focus and be really unselfish about it. Pushing yourself to the limit and that’s where we are.”
Bring on El Sackico.
Frank Lampard made one tweak to his line-up after the home defeat to Southampton. Yerry Mina was given the nod as Ben Godfrey dropped out. The 3-4-2-1 formation appeared to be Lampard’s plan again so the wing backs, Coleman and Mykolenko would play a significant part in the outcome. The other positive was the continuing buildup of fitness for Dominic Calvert Lewin. Since the World Cup he has played 69, 82 and 90 minutes heading into this match.
New West Ham signing Danny Ings was on the bench as David Moyes made three changes to the West Ham side that lost 1-0 to Wolves last weekend. Kurt Zouma returned to the side following a knee injury, along with winger Said Benrahma and left-back Emerson.
A moment of silence for the late West Ham Chairman, David Gold. The bubbles floated across the London Stadium field as Referee Stuart Attwell blew his whistle and the ‘El Sackico’ game was underway. Would it be David Moyes or Frank Lampard who was managing their last game?
Everton in the bright yellow away strip kicked off. Said Benrahma had the first chance but the ball was just out of reach. It was then a scary moment for Jordan Pickford as he just wriggled away from Michail Antonio on his six yard line. It was a nervous start.
A good patch of possession in the 8th minute saw Everton get control of the ball in the West Ham end but a handball from Iwobi saw the chance end. A long ball from Pickford was the early plan with Calvert Lewin trying to keep hold of the ball and take pressure off the defense. A poor pass from Calvert Lewin saw him then track back to deny West Ham at the other end.
Demarai Gray then got to stretch his legs to get the play into the West Ham end. Everton continued to control the play. Iwobi’s pass out wide to Mykolenko led to Everton’s first corner of the match. Gray’s corner was overhit and Iwobi then put the ball back into the box and there was a question about whether Ogbonna had handled the ball but VAR said no. The pressure continued but a cheap giveaway from Tarkowski gave the ball back to the Hammers.
Gray then rolled his marker and headed for the box but a block by Emerson led to another corner. Gray put the ball into the box but West Ham were up for the challenge. Gray was again running down the wing but there was no way through. The first twenty minutes was best described as scrappy. A great ball by Onana to Iwobi led to another cross into the box which was met by Calvert Lewin but his glancing header went nowhere. Lots of the ball (64%) but no final touch.
The first real chance fell to West Ham when Benrahma hit a great shot which was blocked by Pickford’s strong hand. West Ham started to get more of the ball. Kurt Zouma looked to have injured himself when he pulled up when he went after a ball but he looked to try and play through the pain. Both sides were giving the ball away far too often.
A fine ball from Declan Rice to Jarod Bowen was blocked by Tarkowski. The resulting corner took a while to get back into the box and it was Bowen who was in the six yard box and flicked the ball past Pickford. The goal was checked for offside and it was decided that it was onside. The goal stood and the watching board members looked shellshocked. At that moment Everton were bottom of the table.
The goal lifted the Hammers and Antonio found himself alone in the box but his header was put wide of the post. Everton then started to get onto the ball again but the West Ham backline was standing firm. Bowen then raced away and got the ball to Antonio who then put it back to Bowen who slammed the ball into the back of the net. Tarkowski diving in led to the chance and Mina couldn’t keep up with Bowen.
Everton finally had a chance when Mina headed the ball down and Alex Iwobi struck the ball which glanced off the post. Two minutes of stoppage time arrived and the Everton fans started to head for a cup of tea and time to plan how they would show their frustration. Calvert Lewin did get another chance when Calvert Lewin was strong and forced another clearing corner. Half time.
Changes were needed and it was Davies and McNeil who were brought on in place of Mykolenko and Coleman. The changes led to the first chance and it was Tom Davies who got the ball in the box but Gueye could not get the ball away fast enough. The Everton change of shape took a while to sort out but they were getting on the ball. Davies was playing further forward than at any other time that I could remember. The all attack plan left the back at risk. A quick goal to start the half did not happen as the 55 minute mark passed.
Iwobi got the ball into the box only to have it get by the sliding Calvert Lewin who only had to make contact to get it into the net. West Ham were happy to sit back and absorb the pressure. Idrissa Gueye then had the next chance as his shot was blocked and slid by the post. Lucas Fabianski then cut off a ball from Iwobi which was heading to Calvert Lewin.
The hour mark arrived and Everton had a corner. Once again the West ham defenders were dominating their box and cleared the ball with little difficulty. Davies then put Calvert Lewin clear but his attempt was blocked. Another corner which didn’t even get past the first defender.
Emerson ended up getting the next chance and a great save by Pickford pushed the ball off the bar and out. The corner led to Nayef Aguerd climbing high and putting the ball over the goal. James Tarkowski was then given a yellow card for taking down Bowen. Gray had another chance to get the ball into the box but the way was blocked again. West Ham then made a couple of changes and brought on Danny Ings and Thomas Soucek for Mikhail Antonio and Lucas Paqueta.
Declan Rice broke forward and slid the ball wide of the goal by inches. The game was end to end as West Ham were counter attacking at will. Going forward Everton had no final pass. They were getting the balls into the box but were not getting their heads on the ball. West Ham was making more changes with Emerson, Aguerd and Benrahma leaving the field with Downes, Cresswell and Johnson coming on.
Bowen had another chance but Tarkowski had enough to deny the chance. Pickford then ended up chasing the ball to the sideline before being fouled by Bowen. With five minutes left there was only Bill Kenright sitting in the Director’s box....... ominous. At the same moment, Aston Villa scored and put Southampton back into the basement. Three minutes of extra time was announced and another ball was repelled by the West Ham backline. The game faded away and Everton lost......again! We are now two points adrift.
Moshiri was at the game along with the other senior members of the board. They saw a team that had NOTHING going forward. The teams biggest problem is a complete lack of options up front. When they went behind by two goals, Lampard turned to Davies and McNeil with Price and Simms rooted to the bench. I know that it is a lot of pressure to put young players into a situation like this but we know that McNeil and Davies are not going to add to the attack.
The January window has been open for 20 of the 31 days and there has been transfer moves for all of the teams around Everton. Wolves have signed 2 players, West Ham have signed 2 players including Danny Ings, Southampton have signed 2 players, Leicester have signed 1 and Bournemouth have still not signed a player. Everton’s move for Arnaut Danjuma is advanced but there has been no confirmation. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Either sign players to improve the team or give time to those players who have not been given a chance.
We are now just entering the second half of the Premier League season. Everton are 3 points away from 14th in a very congested bottom half of the table. The frustration of the fans is directed at the board and the anger is about how our team is being run. Evertonians need to support the team and the ugly scenes last week cannot be repeated. Blocking players cars from leaving the ground is totally wrong. Frank Lampard has not been given the financial support that his predecessors were given. Get him the players up front who will create and score goals. There is time to turn this season around. It can be done but it can only be done with everyone pulling in the same direction.