No goals... no shots on goal for poor Blues

By Michael Kenrick 22/04/2017  490 Comments  [Jump to last]
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Enner Valencia is ineligible to face his parent club

For Everton's first visit to the London Stadium, Koeman switches out Robles for Stekelenburg in goal, the only change in line-up but Everton had no answer to a determined Hammers defence that denied them a single shot on target.

On-loan striker Enner Valencia is ineligible to play against his parent club with Arouna Kone on the bench alongside Ademola Lookman and Dominic Calvert-Lewin if more strike-power is needed as Everton take on old boy Slaven Bilic's side.

Everton kicked off with the obligatory aimless hoof forward and continued to employ the tactic to get the ball out of defence early on. Holgate tried to pick out Lukaku in the dee but it was intercepted.

Referee Robert East penalised Davies for a tackle that got the ball but seemed to damage Kouyate's knee leading to an extended break. Williams did well to stop new boy Calleri advancing down the byline but the game was a little scrappy at best.

West Ham got forward for the first time and swung in some decent crosses, wining a corner that was delivered superbly to the far post, beating Stekelenburg easily but Kouyate thankfully did nothing with it.

Everton's midfield possession was improving but they had still been unable to penetrate the West Ham area until a poor throw-in put Adrian in serious trouble, just recovering to deny Mirallas.

A clever pass from Barkley hit Mirallas on the heel, then Williams almost lost the ball and West Ham pressed Everton back deep into their own half where they struggled to make any meaningful progress beyond the middle third.

Davies was spoken to after going in a little too strongly, this time catching Reid on the top of his foot. Everton were trying to play a passing game but it was a little too intricate and not creating anything remotely qualifying as an attack — never mind a chance to score a goal.

Gueye saw yellow for an urgent tackle back on Calleri after that passing had been intercepted, West Ham winning another corner from the free-kick. Clearing headers from Barkley then Davies before a shot from Nordtveit forced Stekelenburg to save. Then Kouyate in a lot of space passed the ball behind with Stekelenburg covering.

Fernandes was booked for stopping Baines, giving Mirallas a chance to swing in a looping ball that was too easy to defend away, but this time Everton finally advanced with more intent, Holgate's cross forcing their first corner, and outswinger that fooled everyone.

That saw an equally bright move from the home side, Masuaku crossing well and winning a corner but Collins could only head behind under fine pressure form Williams. Jageilka tried a very long ball forward that gave Lukaku something to chase but against two defenders that he could not beat.

The midfield passing game resumed, Everton going nowhere fast with West Ham defending very deep, denying them any access to the West Ham penalty area. And the game switched on a free-kick delivered harmlessly enough but Williams bizarrely headed it right into the danger area and panic ensued before it was driven behind for a corner.

Schneiderlin was next to catch a West Ham player but this free-kick was also defended away until it looked like Barkley could break out with the ball... only for him to turn and play it backward. The Hammers were getting more of the ball in the final 5 minutes but Everton defended well enough, without making any meaningful use of the ball in terms of structuring an attack on the West Ham goal — the story of a rather disappointing first half in a nutshell.

Koeman clearly agreed, making an almost unprecedented double switch with Tom Davies and Idrissa Gueye off, Gareth Barry and Ademola Lookman are on. But the problem continued to be the fraction of extra time and deliberation Ross Barkley needed seemingly on every ball.

At least Everton were finally getting the ball into the West Ham area, but still no chance created. At the other end, Lanzini lashed a shot that hit Jagielka and knocked him flat. Suddenly, it was more like a proper game of football.

Some brilliant ball control by Lookman in the West Ham area but Barkley crucially dithered rather than digging out a shot and any half-chance was gone in an instant, West Ham countering but Masuaku lashing over.

Barkley picked out Lukaku wide right with a beautiful ball and he jinked inside but lost his way before he too could pull the trigger.

Williams got mugged by Kouyate, a yellow card to go with a very dangerous free-kick given up, but it was clipped off the Everton wall by Ayew, albeit for a corner, outswinging and defended away. But The Hammers continued to press, having failed to read Koeman';s revised script for the second half, another corner that was taken short, blocked away.

Roger East continued to penalise Everton shirts whenever a West Ham player went down, Barry getting his 10th yellow card for blocking Ayew; Stekelenburg the recipient of the ball from the free-kick. Lookman finally took a shot, but it was well off target from a long way out.

A final gambit: Calvert-Lewin on for Kevin Mirallas, with 20 minutes left. But it was Lanzini who galloped forward and forced Stekelenburg into a low save to his left. Barkley's game summed up by Nordtveit stealing the ball off him as he paused and looked up.

Lookman in space again drove forward and fired inches over with Adrian covering, and Lukaku glowering. Fonte wiped out Calvert-Lewin and saw yellow. Holgate won a corner, Barkley swinging in a good corner but nothing doing,

Holgate swung in a beautiful cross, perfectly placed for Lukaku but he simply chose not to risk injury by going for it! But it set up some better play from a couple of corners, Collins tugging back Williams by the shirt.

West Ham seemed set on a strong finish as the visitors tired, Fonte not getting a clean header at the far post on a dangerous corner, whilst Everton were again unable to fashion anything meaningful going forward as the final nervy minutes ticked down to a hugely disappointing goalless draw.

West Ham United: Adrian, Fonte [Y:76'], Reid, Collins, Kouyate (79' Cresswell), Nordtveit, Fernandes [Y:76'], Masuaku, Ayew, Calleri (62' Sakho), Lanzini.
Subs not Used: Randolph, Fletcher, Rice, Holland, Makasi.

Everton: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Jagielka, Williams [Y:60'], Baines, Schneiderlin, Gueye [Y:27'] (46' Barry [Y:68']), Davies (46' Lookman), Barkley, Mirallas (72' Calvert-Lewin), Lukaku.
Subs not Used: Robles, Kenny, Pennington, Koné.

Referee: Roger East

Attendance: 56,971


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