Everton 1 - 0 West Ham

Thursday, 17 March was the last time I visited the usual pre-match boozer. That was the evening a certain Alex Iwobi netted a dramatic 99th-minute winner against Newcastle United. What an icon he has become since then, by the way. 

It's not as though I've deliberately avoided the pub, just circumstance has dictated alternatives. Whether that be drinking a few tinnies on Goodison Road to welcome the players, or simply visiting a few pubs in town instead, or going to one closer to the ground. It's nothing personal, and while I half expected daggers from the staff upon arrival, we were greeted with smiles. And more importantly, free hot dogs is still a thing there.

It was nice to kick back with the lads over a few beers. We were all agreed on what the starting line-up should have been, which matched that which Frank Lampard deployed, Idrissa Gueye replacing Tom Davies and Asmir Begovic in goal for the felled Jordan Pickford were the only changes from the Merseyside derby. Neal Maupay lead the line again in attack.

I was surprised and disappointed that Dominic Calvert-Lewin was not going to be involved, even from the substitutes bench, though I was relieved to hear he was simply not risked rather than injured again. Hopefully he's back firing after the international break.

And Connor Coady captained. That was a surprise to me seeing as he is a loan player, but he must be doing a lot right behind the scenes to be given the armband already.

We arrived at Goodison Park in plenty of time. Time enough to grab a quick pint in there before making our way up to our seats. While down there, I heard a muffled announcement but had no idea what it was referring to. Honestly, the mark of respect to Queen Elizabeth II prior to kick-off had completely slipped my mind.

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It was still pretty raucous down in the concourse and as I walked up the steps to see the players all heads bowed around the centre circle, the crowd mostly silent, it quickly dawned on me, so I just stood still for the remainder of the minute's silence.

Into the game, and I thought West Ham United began the game well, though Everton were comfortable enough. Both teams put some good deliveries in from corner kicks, though both defences repelled danger to good effect. Defence was largely on top for both teams throughout the first half and there was little action of note, such was the defensive quality. Needless to say, it was all square at the break.

Everton began the second half much more on the front foot. Demarai Gray took the ball on the flank and dribbled it into the penalty area before shooting straight at Lukasz Fabianski, thereby signalling our intent. It was probably our first shot on target, but we began to build up momentum, and we didn't have long to wait until we got our noses in front, thanks to a moment of brilliance.

Alex Iwobi made a quick dart off the back of his midfield runner and straight away West Ham United were in a bit of trouble. Alex zipped the ball in quickly to Neal Maupay. The Frenchman's touch was such that the ball sat up for him nicely and was begging to be hit. Neal didn't hesitate and from the edge of the penalty area, thrashed his shot into the corner past the outstretched reach of Fabianski. A touch of class, and that was enough to settle the game.

That's not to say West Ham United were easily beaten from thenceforth, of course. As you'd expect from a David Moyes team, they had a real go at getting back into the game and, on another day, may have levelled.

The closest they came when Idrissa Gueye lost possession, and substitute Said Benrahma drove from distance. Asmir watched and admired, and blew a sigh of relief no doubt when the ball came back off the inside of the post and away. A real let-off for Everton there. But Evertonians will argue we generally don't get much luck so we'll take these close shaves all day when they fall our way.

As the clock ticked on, West Ham United pushed more and more, though Everton were defensively solid and saw the game out. Asmir Begovic made one good save from Maxwell Cornet; Nathan Patterson made a vital challenge on the Ivorian also to deny him what was a likely goal, and a corner kick was headed narrowly wide by a West Ham United head, though Michael Oliver somehow saw fit to give West Ham United another corner, which thankfully we cleared.

Everton had a couple of opportunities of their own also to make the game safe but couldn't convert, the closest probably being when Demarai Gray burst into the penalty area and thrashed just wide of the far post. While it was nervy at times, it suited Everton playing on the counter-attack and, with more composure on the ball, we could have been in business for a second goal.

West Ham United probably deserved a share of the spoils but we will take the win. We've played better than that in the last two games and not won, so we were due a bit of luck. The bottom line is, if you make yourself difficult to beat, then you've always got a chance of nicking a win, and by shoring up our defence and improving our midfield options, we have certainly done that.

It was a bit like a David Moyes win for Everton back in the day. If we can keep that solidity, we will continue to progress up the Premier League table. It was an important win. We certainly didn't want to be coming out of the international break and into October without one.

Following the game, I got a lift back over the water and made my way to catch my wife play some cricket. It was their final game of the season, and a win would have made them League Champions by 1 point. And win they did! In a game which went deep, they took key wickets and got themselves over the line. 

It sure ain't too often I get to watch Everton win and my wife's cricket team win the league on the same day.

Do you believe in omens?

Player ratings:

Asmir Begovic: I was very impressed. With Jordan out he stepped in superbly. His punches from corner kicks were decisive, and he made some handy saves in the second half. 8

Vitalii Mykolenko: He struggled against Jarrod Bowen in the first half, though improved dramatically in the second, and made some very good defensive tackles, and did a good job of joining in attacks. 7

James Tarkowski: Very solid as ever. He's remarkably consistent. Something of a vintage centre back. I love it. 8

Connor Coady: While I confess I wasn't very impressed with his arrival, largely because I felt this meant we would be stuck with the three at the back system for eternity, I'm happy to hold my hands up and say I got that wrong. Connor is a very good defender first and foremost, and that he's already been given the armband, especially as he's not a permanent player at this stage, speaks volumes. I'm amazed Wolverhampton Wanderers were willing to let him go. 8

Nathan Patterson: I watched the Brentford match a few weeks back and was deeply concerned about his defensive awareness, or lack of. Though within a few days he came back with a man of the match performance away at Leeds United, and then came through the Merseyside derby with flying colours. He backed that up again yesterday too with a splendid performance, both defensively most importantly, but his offensive game is also excellent. We've got a cracking player there and I thought he was Man of the Match. 8

Idrisssa Gueye: He lost possession in the second half and almost cost us a goal, but was otherwise good and got himself in the way of a lot of things. 7

Amadou Onana: I felt he found it tough going out there, but its that experience of a rough and tumble match which will stand him in good stead for the Premier League in the long run. Frank is giving him as many minutes as possible which is a good thing as, such is his ability and potential, the sooner he can get used to the Premier League the better. The sky is the limit with Amadou. He'll have a tremendous career. 6

Alex Iwobi: I thought West Ham United did a pretty good job of getting around him and making it difficult for him to weave his magic, which nullified him somewhat. But then they switched off for a moment and just like that, he changed the game. He then got more joy following this as West Ham United had to go for it, so he found more space in the second half. Another great contribution from Alex, his second assist of the season I think (three if you include the Carabao Cup match...four if you want to include the pressure he put on Lucas Digne for the own goal at Aston Villa as an assist). You really couldn't ask for more from him, and what a gem Frank and his team have unearthed, because lets face it, nobody thought this could happen. 7

Demarai Gray: I thought Demarai had a very effective game and kept West Ham pinned back at times. He was always a good outlet. 7

Anthony Gordon: He was certainly nowhere near his best offensively, but he at least put the shift in and worked hard to get back and help his team. 6

Neal Maupay: Neal worked very hard again and was rewarded with his fine strike. To come in with so little game time and do so well is credit to him, he must be a very fit lad, and he comes across very well in interviews too. An all round good signing for me. 8

Dwight McNeil (for Anthony Gordon): He got involved and did okay. It was good work taking that yellow card at the end and halting a West Ham United advance. 6

Abdoulaye Doucouré (for Demarai Gray): Not particularly impressive. His ball retention wasn't good and he probably didn't quite do the job he was asked too. 5

Salomon Rondon (for Neal Maupay): I thought he did pretty well in the short time he was on the field. 6 

Reader Comments (28)

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James Flynn
1 Posted 20/09/2022 at 14:56:38
Good stuff, Paul. Thank you.
Gaute Lie
2 Posted 20/09/2022 at 15:18:44
Thank you, Paul!
John Raftery
3 Posted 20/09/2022 at 16:14:37
For the time being, I'll take as many 1-0 wins as we can get. Those narrow wins based on solid defence were the foundation of relative success during the Moyes era. They also made a huge difference during the 1969-70 season when we won the league.

I will be very happy to sing ‘1-0 to the Everton'!

Robert Tressell
4 Posted 20/09/2022 at 16:42:20
Although the play was often pretty uninspiring under Moyes, the structure, work ethic and team spirit was generally good.

So yes, it's similar. We even have a gigantic Belgian in midfield.

And this is just the start.

Much to be optimistic about as we move towards the BMD era.

Jay Harris
5 Posted 20/09/2022 at 16:47:17
Always enjoy reading your reports, Paul, and agree with your analysis of the game and player ratings although, for me, Gray was MotM.

A solid defense and strong midfield are really important especially given how impotent we are in front of goal throughout the team.

Note for Michael/ Lyndon: when I log in my "return to where you left off" selection is not working??

Ian Bennett
6 Posted 20/09/2022 at 17:04:34
Begovic – 7, didn't have to do much. But very competent when he did.

Patterson – 8, good cover when West Ham got through.

Tarkowski – 8, cleared absolutely everything.

Coady – 7, the odd mistake but shovelled one away brilliantly in the first half. Unusual for an on loan player being captain, but a natural talker is a big step forward.

Mykolenko – 7, neat and tidy; I just wish he would get forward more. Been spoilt by Baines and Digne, but always in position.

Gana – 8, for me, he was mopping up trouble by intercepting and tackling. He's a ratter and I am glad to have him back.

Onana – 6. I thought he was okay, but struggled to add too much against Rice. A couple of iffy passes, and could do more at attacking set-pieces; he will have better games.

Iwobi – 8.5, worked hard, passed well and set up the winner. His ability to work between the lines is a game changer with this new work rate.

Gordon – 6, Just didn't get going, and added another yellow card when he didn't need to.

Gray – 8, nice and busy with some good delivery in. Calvert-Lewin gets a tap-in with some of that delivery. One of his better games, and think shades MotM over Iwobi.

Maupay – 7.5. Good goal and busy enough.

Subs – not much to write home about, to be honest. McNeil looks very one-paced for an attacking role. A bit like Iwobi, I don't think he's quick enough or productive enough for a front 3 role.

Steve Griffiths
7 Posted 20/09/2022 at 20:08:05
Ian, you rate Iwobi 8.5 and Gray 8 and yet you say Gray shades Iwobi for MotM? I happen to agree with you btw that Gray did shade MotM (just) ahead of Iwobi and Patterson.

I also agree with your comment regarding McNeil. My lad has raved about him for a couple of years, in particular regarding his technique and sweet left foot. My own opinion was that he was a little one-paced and lacked that extra yard to be a top-drawer Premier League player.

However, I think he is probably better suited to playing a little deeper as you say, in a midfield 3 or 4 where his lack of pace will be less exposed and he can use his left foot and passing range to greater effect?

Barry Rathbone
8 Posted 20/09/2022 at 21:21:58
Deffo back in Moyes territory.

Ambition sidelined for Premier League existence and praying for Gordon to be another Rooney golden egg for the financials.

Hopefully it doesn't last a decade this time.

Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 20/09/2022 at 21:38:41
Pretty much as I saw it, Paul, with one exception. I saw Gueye as Man of the Match just ahead of Patterson. I know he made that nearly costly mistake, but just about everything else he done reminded us of what we lost and have now gained.

Your summary is what I watched. West Ham settled better early on, we grew into the game and they inevitably came at us in search of an equaliser. A good end to end game in my opinion.

Barry. I'm agreeing with you way too often. Stop it.

Trevor Peers
10 Posted 20/09/2022 at 22:04:53
I for one would just be thrilled if we could stay in the top half of the table through sheer hard work; if that's what we got under Moyes's stewardship, then so be it.

As for Gordon being the next Rooney, that's utterly laughable, he's nowhere near as talented.

Reports that Lampard could be the next England manager as soon as the World Cup is over doesn't make good reading; heaven help us if that rumour has any legs. We need 5 years of stability.

Jerome Shields
11 Posted 20/09/2022 at 22:54:08
Though defensively well-organised, I hope it will result in more consistency than Moyes. Two results and a loss was Moyes's pattern for years. When a result was necessary to push on, inevitability I was disappointed. I remember this being the situation for years. I dreaded that third match under Moyes.

West Ham are finding the Moyes glass ceiling. After a reasonable last season, they are finding pushing on has evaporated. I know how their fans feel only too well.

I think Paul's ratings are spot on.

Bill Gienapp
12 Posted 20/09/2022 at 22:57:31
Trevor (10) - Wow, we were allowed to enjoy one whole victory this season before the media panicked and started trying to destabilize everything, huh?
Danny O’Neill
13 Posted 20/09/2022 at 23:00:27
Last one of the night.

I'm hoping it is lazy and obvious journalism Trevor. I think Southgate will leave after the World Cup, so the speculation will start. I see Gerrard is linked as well. Let's hope it leans that way.

Lampard has connected with Everton and without getting carried away, is building something. Gerrard seems to have come into Villa, pissed a few players off with his ego and not really connected with the supporters from what I've seen. If his dream job isn't on yet and he see's something else, I could see him jumping.

Is it 1st October yet? International breaks. I hate them.

David West
14 Posted 20/09/2022 at 23:03:05
Barry 8.

Aww, come on, mate – just enjoy a win, will you?

Definition of Ambition: A strong desire to do or achieve something. It's hardly been sidelined... I believe Frank has it in spades.

I think he's putting together a team that is ambitious. Instead of the players we had in recent seasons whose only ambitions was to get the biggest, longest contract they could and put their feet up.

Imo, it's more ambitious to try and build a young hungry team for the long term.

Joe Green
15 Posted 21/09/2022 at 09:19:28
David @14 – correct.

Lampard is a completely different character to Moyes. We may have to pass through Moyes territory for a season, but that'll be it.

Dave Cashen
16 Posted 21/09/2022 at 09:38:34
Interesting article, Paul. Enjoyed it.

I think Frank has taken a pragmatic approach to curing the soft centre which has for too long crippled us by draining the confidence of the entire team. Get the fundamentals right and you have a platform upon which to build.

I get why you see comparisons to Davey Moyes's team, but I'm seeing and hoping for something better. Davey Moyes arrived in the nick of time. We were absolutely certain for the drop until he intervened. He did make us so much harder to beat, but he seemed to just leave it there. <>Yeah, we stayed harder to beat for the best part of a decade, but he seemed reluctant or incapable of taking the next step. Worse still was he never developed a plan B. When plan A went out of the window, the floodgates would often open..

On another match thread, I said I saw a likeness to what George Graham did at Arsenal. Like Graham, Frank has been part of a very successful set-up. Like Graham, he is clearly an intelligent guy and like Graham, he has surrounded himself with people who have achieved success through solid foundation.

People (especially Spurs fans) dubbed Arsenal "boring" but, although they were solid as a rock, they played some fantastic stuff. His players were well versed in game management, but Graham let his defenders defend and his attackers attack.

Frank has been cautious too. He has gone to some lengths to strengthen his defence and midfield, but there is a subtle difference to what he is doing. He is not asking his attackers to do his defenders' work for them. He wants them to attack, with the knowledge that they can trust the guys behind them. He does of course still need to find the right striker.

I have a dream that we will soon be hearing the Kop singing "Boring, boring, Everton". Just as the jealous win-fuck-all Spurs fans used to sing about Arsenal. Frank's starting position is nowhere near as good as Graham's was, it will take more time.

In the meantime, I'll just keep walking around the house singing "One-nil to the Everton!"

David West
17 Posted 21/09/2022 at 09:50:23
Joe 15.

Exactly. We had a good side under Moyes but he was unable to get to the next level, for whatever reasons, that's another argument.

I'd take the fight and effort Moyes sides had over the weak, crumbling sides we've had to put up with over the last few years.

If we build from a solid base, which it's looking like we have with this settling defence and midfield it's a good foundation for the future.

Previous managers have tried to run before they could walk. You can't have a side with a defence and midfield like we've had and expect to do well, even if we had a world class front line which we haven't and haven't since Lukaku.

Brian Harrison
18 Posted 21/09/2022 at 09:55:11
Joe 15,

So far under Lampard, I think he is way more negative in his approach than I expected. The 5 at the back of last season nearly saw us relegated, and despite good signings in the defence and midfield, we still look like a team with few ideas in the final third.

We have only managed to score 1 goal in any game and, to be honest, in most games have never looked like ever scoring 2 or 3. I think many thought Lampard would look to integrate some of our youngsters into the team, but despite lacking forwards he chose to send both Simms and Dobbin out on loan.

For most of the games this season, we have been far inferior to the opposition in possession stats and goal chances, that includes Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa – two teams who I think will struggle this year. On Sunday, he subbed his front 3 which is quite unusual for someone who wants to see front foot football.

To sum up some good signings in Tarkowski and Coady, probably Gueye is the most important, and under the tutelage of Ashley Cole the improvement in Mykolenko and Patterson is there for all to see. But, now he has a solid base, I want to see midfielders joining forwards in the box, and sometimes seeing midfield players run past the forwards – something I have rarely seen since Lampard took over. Strange when you consider how prolific he was for Chelsea.

I know this seems like a really negative post, but I want Frank to succeed, as changing managers every 18 months hasn't worked, but I just think he needs to improve our goal output and make us a lot more attractive to watch than we have been so far under his stewardship.

Rob Dolby
20 Posted 21/09/2022 at 10:42:48
We are more difficult to beat which is a marked improvement on last season.

The defence is stronger. Both full-backs aren't offering much in the way of going forward but are making us stronger at the back.

In Gueye, Onana and Iwobi, we have energy and agression.

We have options to play different formations. Lampard will know we need goals in the team. He also knows that it takes time to improve a Premier League football team.

Last season, he was looking for answers; this season, he has stabilised the defence. Next year we may have a couple of new strikers that add goals.

Unless he is bankrolled like Man City or Chelsea, don't be expecting too much too soon.

We suffered 11 years of Moyes and his "knife to a gunfight". There is no way on earth that Lampard is cut from the same cloth.

Being pragmatic at home to a half-decent team and getting a win is better than playing on the front foot and getting stuffed. Real Madrid played like that last season and didn't do to badly.

Dave Abrahams
21 Posted 21/09/2022 at 11:08:15
Ron (20), I think Patterson is doing plenty of runs up that right wing and signalling for the ball but not getting it, he did a few on Sunday in both halves. I think when he gets more trust off the other players he will provide some assists and a goal or two.
Danny O’Neill
22 Posted 21/09/2022 at 11:30:17
If Southgate moves on, I don't think Potter is a bad shout, Andrew. I suspect he would probably be right up there on the English media's list.

But he's been successful in relative terms at a well run modest club. He may wish to take the next step in club management.

Southgate seemed to make the coaching move into international football early and progress through the ranks with England. Maybe they'll follow that model again, but I don't follow England enough to know who is waiting in the wings as a potential successor.

All unfounded theory at the moment though.

Andrew Ellams
23 Posted 21/09/2022 at 11:37:02
I think lazy journalism will put those 4 names to the front, Danny. The FA will want a young and inspiring English coach to go into what could well be a home tournament with the 2028 Euros.
Jerome Shields
24 Posted 21/09/2022 at 11:44:17
Dave #16,

George Graham is a better comparison than Moyes. I think you are correct in the way Everton will develop. I can even see an Adam Smith type role developing for Calvert-Lewin in such a set-up.

It will be interesting when Everton play Arteta's Arsenal. Graham's defence has long gone under Wenger and the dry spell that is helping them a lot will be gone also when the fixture is rescheduled.

I do think that Frank will have more midfielders running beyond the attacking line, once he gets the midfield more settled. Defensively the coaching of Cole seems to be paying dividends, an area I thought Frank was leaving too exposed.

Maupay can finish and pass. He also gets into good positions. If only McNeil was stronger in his play, it would make a big difference. I am sure they are working on that.

Gray is getting more confident and Gordon will hopefully come round from the shock treatment he got during the Transfer Window.

David West
25 Posted 21/09/2022 at 12:17:42
Danny @22,

I think the FA may well promote from within again, like when appointing Southgate.

Carsley would be a good bet if you can find any of the arteta money down the back of the couch.

It's been over a week since anyone mentioned the Arteta money, so things must be looking up for Everton.

Steve Carse
26 Posted 21/09/2022 at 18:03:50
Jerome (24), Adam Smith was a right winger though wasn't he?
Brent Stephens
27 Posted 21/09/2022 at 18:12:22
Steve, Adam Smith must have been a weird player - I once read something about his invisible hand.
Brendan McLaughlin
28 Posted 21/09/2022 at 18:20:07
I can just see Dominic Calvert-Lewin penning his seminal masterpiece:-

"The Wealth of Formations"

Brian Murray
29 Posted 24/09/2022 at 08:32:37
If the comparison is never winning at Highbury or Stmford Bridge and bottling in big games, especially derbies, then I hope Frank is more like George Graham.

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