Everton – West Ham was a tight, tense clash but the Hammers won it late on to continue their fine season as the Toffees missed the chance to go second.
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Tomas Soucek scored the only goal of the game late on, as David Moyes’ side are now just one point off the top four and have lost just one of their last six games.
Carlo Ancelotti and Everton have again stumbled after a good run of results against the big boys,
Three things we learned
1. Sluggish Everton miss chance to go second: This was a really bad display from the Toffees. They never looked confident from the start and Dominic Calvert-Lewin had no service. It looked like Everton had no rhythm, perhaps due to not playing since Boxing Day, as they couldn’t connect passes and never got behind the Hammers. Given this was a chance to go second in the table, it was a really lackluster display. Ancelotti’s side have been very good at taking two steps forward and one step back this season.
2. Moyes doing a fine job at West Ham: On his old stomping ground, Moyes showcased what he does so well. West Ham looked solid, almost impenetrable, as they bored Everton and then kicked on in the second half as they created the better chances. That is what a Moyes team does when it works well. They let the opponents tire themselves out, then hit them with attacks that count. Whisper it: West Ham are in the hunt for a European spot.
3. ‘New Fellaini’ Soucek delivers, again: The towering Czech Republic midfielder has an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time as this winning goal and his equalizer against Brighton pretty much just hit him. But he made the run and knew what he was doing. Just like Fellaini used to do for Moyes at Everton, Soucek is a real aerial threat and with Coufal and Cresswell whipping in crosses galore, this setup is perfect for him to burst forward from midfield and get on the end of things. Like Fellaini, he isn’t the prettiest to watch, but boy is he effective. Soucek now has five goals in 16 games this season. What a return.
Man of the Match: Aaron Cresswell – The left back has been playing at center back for most of this season, but he was everywhere, whipping in great crosses and his shot led to the winner. Real quality whenever he got on the ball and solid defensively.
Darren Randolph replaced Lukasz Fabianski who was injured in the warm up as West Ham were dealt a blow before kick off. Aaron Cresswell whipped in a ball which Bowen nodded just wide as West Ham were dangerous down the flanks in the first half.
Craig Dawson went down with nobody else around him, as he looked to have tweaked his knee, but after a lengthy stoppage he carried on.
Sebastian Haller nodded off target from Bowen’s cross and Cresswell went close, while at the other end Everton struggled to get going but right on half time Bernard forced a good save from Darren Randolph.
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The second half was very similar to the first with very few chances for both teams, as from a short free kick Declan Rice flashed a great cross across the six yard box and Haller just couldn’t get on the end of it to finish.
Jordan Pickford pushed away Cresswell’s wicked free kick as the hosts were pinned back and West Ham pushed hard for the opener.
Pablo Fornals should have scored but somehow headed wide when he was unmarked, 10 yards out.
But the Hammers grabbed the winner they deserved in the final five minutes as Soucek had a show well saved by Pickford but the loose ball fell to Cresswell who smashed a shot on goal that deflected off Mina and straight to Soucek who finished clinically.