|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Kurt Zouma and Bernard punish sloppy West Ham as Everton ease to victory
Nick Ames at the London Stadium
Date Published Sat 30 Mar 2019 19.28 GMT
By the end well over three-quarters of West Ham’s supporters, unwilling to cut their team slack after an abrupt halt to an improved run of home form, had long since drifted into the night. Everton’s travelling contingent were far more visible and vocal but the two fanbases might have had one question in common: where, exactly, did that come from?
Everton had not put in a 90-minute performance of this accomplishment since Marco Silva’s arrival last summer but such a slick, dominant display bodes positively for the task ahead. That is to finish seventh, earn the lukewarm best-of-the-rest chalice and see if it squeaks them into the European spots; they are a point away now and, with consecutive league wins to their name, the manager’s buzzword throughout a troubled winter – “consistency” – lies within reach.
“I’m proud of what we did here this afternoon,” Silva said after watching goals from Kurt Zouma and Bernard secure a margin of victory that could have been far higher. “From the first minute we were the best team on the pitch. The general performance was really, really good.”
They were in total command even before Zouma, taking advantage of Issa Diop’s inability to muster a meaningful challenge, rose to convert Gylfi Sigurdsson’s deep corner with a bouncing header in the fifth minute. By the 13th they could have been three or four goals up, Lukasz Fabianski saving from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Sigurdsson and Lucas Digne. It is far from uncommon for teams to begin sluggishly after an international break but West Ham never came close to clearing their heads.
It was a pitiful, bloodless display from Manuel Pellegrini’s team and comfortably among the worst since their move to the London Stadium. Competition for that title is stiff but the mystery was that, in seven unbeaten games here before this, they had struck a vein of form. While Silva eulogised, Pellegrini could only accept his players had plumbed depths uncharted this season.
“Not only the worst home performance: the worst performance of the year, away or at home,” he said. “We played very badly in both boxes and Everton also had chances to score more. It was one of those bad days.”
West Ham barely created a chance, Marko Arnautovic stumbling when given space to run at Michael Keane early in the first half and snatching at a tame effort from range later on. Pellegrini’s decision to partner him in a 4-4-2 with Lucas Pérez, who was far from alone in performing lamentably, never looked like bearing fruit. Pérez was replaced at half-time and the boos rang out for Arnautovic when, midway through the second half, he made way for Grady Diangana. Arnautovic flung down a water bottle as he took his seat on the bench; Pellegrini observed afterwards that nobody could be blamed individually for the defeat but any truce that developed since the forward’s abortive move to China appears wafer-thin.
Set in this context it is hard to gauge exactly how good Everton were. They were certainly surgical when it mattered, Bernard scoring their second goal shortly after the half-hour, when the latest of many smart moves down the right released Séamus Coleman to cross. It was the Brazilian’s first league goal for Everton and felt like overdue reward for a season’s perspiration.
West Ham showed marginally more spine early in the second half but Everton always posed the greater threat. Calvert-Lewin shot wide from an angle and Richarlison, heading against the bar with the number on hand to bear witness dwindling fast, could have made things worse.
“What I worry about is that it’s not the first time we have had the opportunity to be seventh,” Pellegrini said of his side’s failure to seize that spot. “We must find a way of thinking and playing as a big team.” For one evening at least, Silva and Everton set a compelling example.
Daily Mail: PLAYER RATINGS AND LIVE PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski 7.5; Zabaleta 6, Diop 5, Ogbonna 5.5, Cresswell 6; Rice 6, Obiang 6 (Antonio 46, 6); Snodgrass 5.5, Arnautovic 4.5 (Diangana 67, 6), Lanzini 5; Perez 4.5 (Hernandez 46, 6)
Subs not used: Balbuena, Adrian, Noble, Masuaku
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini 5.5
Everton (4-2-3-1): Pickford 6; Coleman 7, Keane 7, Zouma 7, Digne 6.5; Gueye 6.5, Gomes 7; Richarlison 7 (Walcott 90), Sigurdsson 7.5 (Davies 84), Bernard 8; Calvert-Lewin 7 (Tosun 88)
Subs not used: Baines, Jagielka, Stekelenburg, Lookman
Goals: Zouma 5, Bernard 33
Manager: Marco Silva 7
Ref: Paul Tierney 6.5