David Hautzig's Match Report
I came close to staying in bed this morning. Whenever I woke up, I woke up. But at 7:06am my time, my eyes opened. Without a kickoff in twenty-four minutes, I probably could have snoozed a bit more. But I checked my phone, saw the lineups, and that was that. Brain was on, and it was time for coffee. Yarmolenko on the bench made sense considering his work for Ukraine a few days ago, and a Cresswell injury was inevitable. But that’s the thing about a loss like the one against Palace. It colored everything I saw and made it a problem. Even with Everton in the bottom three on the back of four straight losses, it was hard to feel confident. The West Ham Way rarely fails to deliver.
West Ham had an early chance to turn anxiety into excitement when Anderson was brought down by Richarlison just outside the Everton eighteen yard box. Lanzini tried to curl the free kick around the Everton wall, but it went wide. Minutes later Everton had their first chance when Diop was forced to put the ball out for a corner, but the Hammers back line did their job. Moments later Ogbonna deflected an effort from Walcott out for another corner, and then Diop sent the set piece behind the net for yet another. That set piece did require Roberto, but if Davies had done his job properly it would have a Toffee goal.
To put it mildly, it was all Everton to start.
The Everton pressure was finally given its just reward in the 17th minute, but the goal itself was one West Ham will likely think should not have happened. Walcott cut to his left at the top of the box and rolled a pass to Bernard in the box. He cut back, then burst forward again to the near post. Roberto looked like he had it covered, so when the ball rolled under his left hand and into the net it was a time to roll your eyes and wonder what kind of day this was going to be.
West Ham 0
West Ham continued their sluggish, disappointing play and it almost led to another Everton goal. Iwobi sent Richarlison in on goal, and without a lot to aim for he still hit the post. Seconds later, Iwobi put a low shot on goal that Roberto was able to handle without incident. Moments later, Walcott decided to test our backup keeper with another long range shot and Roberto saved that as well. But with the attempts at 8-1 twenty minutes in, and Everton pressuring West Ham all over the pitch, there was very little reason for the visitors to feel hopeful. I know I didn’t.
The Hammers looked a little more effective in the final minutes of the first half, but the word “little” has to be emphasized. They had control in and around the Everton half of the pitch. But they had zero touches inside the penalty area. The only thing about the first half that was surprising was that it was only a one goal advantage.
West Ham 0
While I was pleased to see Yarmolenko on to begin the second half, I was more than a little shocked to see Anderson as the one taken off. Yes, he was poor. But he also CAN be amazing at a moments notice. Maybe he thought it was the time to give Fornals a chance. Maybe he thought it was time to send Anderson a message. Or maybe he’s just the manager.
Fornals should have rewarded his manager’s faith in him five minutes into the second half when Yarmolenko worked the ball down the right before squaring it to the young Spaniard alone in the box. Maybe the moment got the better of him? Maybe he simply missed. The ball went off his shin and wide of the net.
Everton had a free kick in the 60th minute after Diop fouled Walcott just outside the West Ham eighteen yard box. Digne stepped up to take it but his effort went wide. Minutes later Everton won a corner. The delivery found Mina in the box, but his header bounced off the pitch and into the waiting arms of Roberto. A few minutes later Walcott slammed a long range effort off the bar. Despite a slightly better looking West Ham in the second half, Everton looked far more likely to double their lead than West Ham looked to get back into the game.
West Ham won a free kick in the 67th minute, and the fact that such an event was noteworthy was telling. The attempt from Yarmolenko flew directly into Pickford’s arms. A minute later, Everton won a free kick of their own. The home side’s dominance made that far less noteworthy. Everton were flagged for offside, so West Ham were still alive.
For the record. Noble had his worst game in ages. Just terrible.
Pellegrini made his final substitution with twenty minutes left, giving Ajeti his league debut. Moments later, Lanzini won a free kick just outside the Everton penalty area. Could this be the moment?
Yeah. Right. Shame on me for even considering it.
Everton should have put the match to bed in the 77th minute when Iwobi went in on goal all alone. As the song goes, “to the left, to the right” blah blah blah, either choice would have been game, set and match. Iwobi poked it right into the chest of Roberto and the lead remained a single goal.
West Ham won their first corner of the whole match in the 83rd minute, and they almost scored the needed equalizer. Haller got his head to the delivery, and the ball landed at the feet of Ogbonna right in front of goal. Pickford made himself large and got in front of the ball for his only real save of the day.
In the 89th minute Haller tried to play the role of playmaker when he ran the ball down the left side and slid a pass to Rice in the box. But good defending by Mina denied the young star even a shot.
Then in added time, Sigurdsson put a curling shot from the top of the area past Roberto.
West Ham 0
“West Ham United: making bang average, out of form opponents look like world beaters since 1895.”
That was a Tweet from my friend Dan Silver. As always, he found a way to put a humorous twist on our collective angst. Today was the kind of day that made watching West Ham a chore. The game moved through time, and I could not wait for it to end. I had a lot of stuff to do, and the only saving grace was that it was the early game so the day was ruined to a smaller degree. I mean, unloading household debris from some building we are doing at home at the garbage dump. Mulching the leaves on the lawn. Laundry. Maybe some cooking. I haven’t made my Bolognese sauce in a bit. It’s quite good I must say. All of that felt like something I looked forward to after the nonsense on my TV was over. Pathetic is not too strong a word for our overall play today.