Evertons unbeaten start came to a crashing end as they went down 3-1 to Manuel Pelligrini’s West Ham United.
The game got off to a lively start with both teams looking a threat. The Toffee’s had most of the ball and were enjoying success down the flanks with Lucas Digne and Jonjoe Kenny both able to get forward freely. However in the 11th minute West Ham cut through Everton with ease after the defence stepped up and left space in abundance for West Hams front line. This eventually saw Yarmolenko finishing off a slick move to put the Hammers one to the good.
Everton were clearly rocked and started to look rushed as they pressed for an equaliser. The carelessness of the Blues was a consistent feature all afternoon, giving the ball away time and time again in dangerous areas. Cenk Tosun, looking a striker low on confidence had a golden opportunity shortly after as Lucas Dignes pinpoint delivery found the Turk who was unable to convert as he headed straight at Lukasz Fabianski.
As the hosts pressed, they once again created their own downfall as on the half hour mark Jordan Pickford’s careless pass found Hammers midfielder Mark Noble. Noble fed the ball to Yarmolenko before the Ukrainian once again had Pickford picking the ball out of his net after a fantastic curled effort gave the English keeper no chance and left the Toffees in real danger of a first loss of the campaign.
With the first half coming to a close, Marco Silva made an inspired decision to replace Morgan Schneiderlin with new signing Bernard as the Brazilian midfielder took a more advanced role and provided the Toffees with some much needed Creativity. Two minutes later, the Blues halved the deficit as Gylfi Sigurdsson met a fantastic ball into the box and headed into the top right corner to give Everton a much needed lifeline.
The second half went much the same way, the Blues pressed and looked dangerous going forward but always looked open to the counter as both full backs pushed up leaving the home side fragile. West Ham were quite happy to sit and invite pressure at 2-1 up and knew they could exploit the hosts on the break, which they did, time and time again with success.
As Everton desperately searched for an equaliser they began to push bodies forward with the risk of getting caught once again. On the hour mark thats exactly what happened as Everton were again sliced open as Marko Arnautovic finished from inside the area giving the Hammers breathing space once more.
Silva tried to rescue the game with the introductions of Oumar Niasse coming in for Cenk Tosun and Ademola Lookman coming in for Theo Walcott but sadly it was too little too late. The Toffees did enjoy several chances before the final whistle but to no avail.
On the whole, the performance side of things actually wasn’t too bad, the Blues looked lively going forward and full of energy. The problems Everton came across where down to their own flaws. The ease and frequency in which the hosts gave the ball away was shocking and ultimately cost the Toffees. West Ham had just four shots on target all afternoon and scored three of them, which makes it all the more frustrating that in a game where chances were few and far between for the opposition, Everton came off looking as though they had been outclassed, when in reality all three goals where very much avoidable.
One of the main problems right now for the Blues is the lack of leadership at the back. Mason Holgate is a fantastic prospect and his progress in such a short time has been impressive. Kurt Zouma coming in on loan is no doubt a very decent option to have. A big, powerful figure who is confident on the ball is exactly what we need. However the two together do not inspire confidence right now, through no fault of their own. Experience is vital and sadly not something either of the two right now can provide. The partnership is young and far to inexperienced to be playing together regularly. Yerry Mina, Phil Jagielka and Micheal Keane coming back will be vital for the Toffees as some solidity and leadership is badly needed.
Bright Side For Everton
I personally thought Bernard was fantastic since his introduction. His work rate and creativity looked encouraging and the little Brazilian was able to cause West Ham problems on numerous occasions in the second half. He seemed to have a calmness about him in a side that were for the majority very panicky.
Felipe Anderson was sensational for the Hammers proving his 36 mil price tag. The Brazilian was at the heart of everything West Ham did providing the Londoners with a real creativity and spark in the middle. He was influential all game whether on the ball or off it. Completing the most key passes and making the most interceptions, the 25 year old displayed a terrific football brain and one that i’m sure the Hammers will be hoping is a consistent performer.
Next For Silva’s Men:
Up next for Everton is a tough trip to the capital to face in form Arsenal. The Blues will have to learn quickly and cut the individual mistakes out if they are to get a positive result from the Emirates next Sunday.