Woeful West Ham outplayed by Everton
PUBLISHED: 19:33 30 March 2019 | UPDATED: 19:33 30 March 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
The Hammers go down to two first-half goals and it could have been a lot more
West Ham United 0 Everton 2
The Hammers came well and truly unstuck against the Toffees at the London Stadium, where they succumbed to their first home defeat of 2019.
Following a hat-trick of victories on the Stratford turf, there was to be no four-timer for Manuel Pellegrini’s team, who kicked off with seventh spot firmly in their sights, only to see first-half goals from Kurt Zouma and Bernard send Everton leap-frogging over the Chilean’s side, who dropped into 11th-place by the end of a torrid evening.
West Ham made a trio of changes from the side that had somehow rescued victory in their seven-goal thriller against Huddersfield Town a fortnight ago as Pedro Obiang, Robert Snodgrass and Lucas Pérez came in for Felipe Anderson (ankle) plus substitutes Michail Antonio and Mark Noble.
But it was soon evident that there would be no dramatic escape this time around for Pellegrini’s men, who found themselves trailing within just four minutes.
On-loan Zouma had been unable to play in Everton’s victory over parent club Chelsea last time out but with Yerry Mina (hamstring) having been stretchered off playing for Colombia against South Korea in midweek, Marco Silva was able to recall the Frenchman as he made just one, telling enforced change.
And Zouma wasted no time in making a seamless switch back into the Toffees fold, when he rose between Issa Diop and Pablo Zabaleta to meet Gylfi Sigurdsson’s right-wing corner with a 10-yard, downward header that bounced over skipper Aaron Cresswell and under the right-hand angle.
Having taken that quickfire lead through the defender’s second goal of the campaign, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Sigurdsson and Lucas Digne then all forced smart stops out of the helplessly-exposed and over-worked Lukasz Fabianski in quick succession as the West Ham defence found itself being torn to shreds.
After the breaking Marko Arnautović slipped on way to goal, Fabianski then found himself punching the ball off Calvert-Lewin’s head as the marauding Merseysiders tore down the right-flank at will during an alarming afternoon for Cresswell that saw cross after cross fizzing into the Hammers danger-zone.
Zabaleta lashed well wide from distance in a token act of defiance but, on 32 minutes, another Everton raid down that wretched right wing saw Richarlison play in the overlapping Seamus Coleman, who sent a low cross to the edge of the six-yard box where Bernard strode in front of Zabaleta to double the visitors’ lead – and also notch his second goal of the season - with the simplest of tap-ins.
Fabianski also had to foil Richarlison – who would soon be booked for clashing with Declan Rice - with his feet, while at the other end both Arnautović and Snodgrass did, at least, try long-range efforts albeit the hitherto redundant Jordan Pickford would not have had many quieter 90 minutes, this season.
Pellegrini made a double-switch at the break as Javier Hernández and Antonio replaced Obiang and the anonymous Pérez for the second period and, while there were some encouraging early signs as the Hammers forced a couple of corners, there was still little cutting edge to the West Ham attack.
After Rice was yellow-carded for tugging Sigurdsson, Grady Diangana replaced an angry Arnautović as the boos rang around London Stadium and, as the Hammers still failed to make any inroads into that two-goal deficit, Calvert-Lewin lashed one into the side-netting before drilling another rising effort over Fabianski’s left-hand angle.
Certainly, as the final whistle loomed, there were nowhere near the 59,988 comprising West Ham’s biggest-ever reported attendance and the score-line could have got yet worse but Richarlison headed Digne’s corner onto Fabianski’s crossbar before Sigurdsson – in his final act of the afternoon – fired the rebound straight at the alert Polish ‘keeper, who had single-handedly kept the score respectable on a dismal night in the East End for Pellegrini’s well-beaten side.
HAMMERS: Fabianski, Zabaleta, Cresswell, Diop, Ogbonna, Rice, Obiang (Antonio h/t), Snodgrass, Pérez (Hernández h/t), Lanzini, Arnautović (Diangana 67). Unused subs: Adrián, Balbuena, Noble, Masuaku.
TOFFEES: Pickford, Coleman, Digne, Keane, Zouma, Gueye, Gomes, Sigurdsson (Davies 84), Bernard, Richarlison (Walcott 89), Calvert-Lewin (Tosun 88). Unused subs: Stekelenburg, Baines, Jagielka, Lookman.
Bookings: Richarlison (42), Rice (64).
Referee: Paul Tierney.