Perhaps it was just like old times for David Moyes. He celebrated many a hard-fought 1-0 win at Goodison Park over 11 years in charge of Everton. Having not tasted victory on his old stomping ground since his departure in 2013, and having been sacked by Manchester United after defeat at Goodison in 2014, a second triumph here in 2021 summed up his change of fortunes. His present beat his past as West Ham both overcame and leapfrogged Everton. “A great result,” said Moyes.
In the process, he came to his own defence, preserving one of his records. Everton’s best start to a Premier League campaign came courtesy of his class of 2004/05. That distinction would have passed to the current crop with victory. Instead, Moyes inflicted Rafa Benitez’s first defeat at Goodison Park as Everton manager.
There was a certain Moyesian quality to the winner, with Angelo Ogbonna heading in Jarrod Bowen’s corner, but West Ham had shown more ambition in their performance. They had almost two-thirds of possession as Moyes’ band of attacking midfielders proved elusive.
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Having mustered eight top-eight finishes with Everton, he looks eminently capable of securing a second in a row with West Ham. “I want the team to challenge, I want the team to play wherever we go,” he said. “I think we have a good team.” So are they proving.
But Everton were unable to build on their draw at Old Trafford. Benitez has shown an adaptability when there have been absentees which has been reminiscent of Moyes but this time Everton missed the injured Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Their clearest chance fell to Alex Iwobi, who swung and missed, failing even to make contact with the bright Demarai Gray’s enticing cross as he illustrated why his goalscoring record is so poor.
Salomon Rondon at least connected with Andros Townsend’s centre, but his glancing header went wide and a workhorse is still waiting for his first Everton goal. “Against a good team you have to take your chances,” Benitez rued.
Everton v West Ham player ratings
EVERTON RATINGS: Jordan Pickford – 7: Good one-handed save from Bowen in first half that Soucek smashed into net on rebound but Hammers’ midfielder was offside. Gave away weak corner that led to winning goal when he should have punched clear under pressure from Antonio. Flying save from Bowen to stop West Ham going two up. Reuters Seamus Coleman – 7: Back in team after thigh injury and straight back into swing of things. One perfectly timed interception and surging run forward after 15 minutes. One of Everton’s better players on disappointing day for home side. Reuters Michael Keane – 7: Brilliant block to prevent Antonio shooting at goal after 68 minutes and fine all-round performance from centre-half. Reuters Ben Godfrey – 7: Good block on Fornals strike in first half and did well up against tricky opponent in Antonio. Volleyed chance over with 10 minutes to go. Reuters Lucas Digne 6: Tried to push Everton forward down left with little joy but no problems defensively from France international. PA Allan – 5: Nowhere near high high standards set this season. Brazilian’s usually reliable passing radar not working and was even caught in possession on dangerous position in second half – which is very unlike him. PA Abdoulaye Doucoure – 6: A couple half-chances to score in first half – one long-range effort sliced over and a header wide of target from Townsend cross. Another Everton player not maintaining his fine recent form. Reuters Andros Townsend – 7: Came more and more into it as game went on with flashes of quick feet and dangerous crossing but Rafa Benitez’s side never hit anything like top gear going forward. Reuters Alex Iwobi – 4: Awful pass in first couple of minutes straight to West Ham shirt and immediately seemed to have home fans on his back. Even worse swing and miss from great position inside box just before half-hour mark. Saw another chance after half-time blocked by Ogbonna. Getty Demarai Gray – 6: One the Premier League’s in-form attackers left Ogbonna for dead with sudden turn of pace and ball into box should have been finished by Iwobi in first half. But couldn’t repeat his match-winning performances of late. Getty Solomon Rondon – 5: First sniff on goal didn’t come until five minutes into second half with glancing header just wide. Failed to hold the ball up when Everton needed it and still doesn’t look match fit. Getty SUBS: Anthony Gordon – (On for Iwobi 79’): N/A. Getty WEST HAM RATINGS: Lukasz Fabianski – 7: A spectator for much of the game with Everton managing just two shots on target, neither of which forced real save from Polish goalkeeper. Getty Ben Johnson – 7: Excellent performance from young defender who was solid and reliable from start to finish. Getty Kurt Zouma – 8: One important interception to stop ball falling for Coleman towards end of first half. Vital block to stop Gray scoring injury-time leveller. PA Angelo Ogbonna – 7: Skinned by Gray in first half but generally solid. Excellent block on Iwobi shot at start of second half. Fine header from Bowen corner to open scoring after 74 minutes. PA Aaron Cresswell – 6: Good defensively but not his usual threat with attacking and crossing from down the left flank. Reuters Tomas Soucek – 7: Had ball in net in opening half but caught well offside. Left with nasty cut on face after being caught by bottom of Rondon’s boot and taken off in second half. Getty Declan Rice – 8: Controlled the midfield as West Ham dominated first half an hour before Everton came more into game. Usual timely interceptions and quality passing from England midfielder. AFP Jarrod Bowen – 6: Low strike well saved by Pickford in first half but quiet game from one of Hammers’ key attackers. Superb whipped-in corner, though, that Ogbonna headed home. AFP Said Benrahma – 6: Scything run through Everton defence in first 10 minutes but final ball lacking, then blazed shot high and wide from edge of box soon after. Faded badly after promising start. Getty Pablo Fornals – 6: Booked in first half for sliding challenge on Townsend and side-footed good chance wide. Buzzed around without any real threat. PA Michail Antonio – 7: Not the greatest of first halves for big striker with a wayward finishing and a yellow card for diving. Good hold up play, though, that the home side failed to get from Rondon. Getty SUBS: Craig Dawson – (On for Soucek 79’): N/A. Getty Manuel Lanzini – (On for Benrahma 87’): N/A. Andriy Yarmolenko – (On for Bowen 90+3’’) N/A. Getty
West Ham had more. Michail Antonio led the line with great verve, even if he marred his display with a booking for diving. Declan Rice produced a series of driving runs. “He was head and shoulders above everybody on the pitch,” Moyes said.
But Bowen was also terrific. He was involved both times West Ham had the ball in the net, with the offside Tomas Soucek converting the rebound after Bowen’s shot was parried. Jordan Pickford made a brilliant late save to keep out Bowen’s curler. Before then, Pickford argued he was fouled by Antonio as a corner was given.
“When you have a player blocking the keeper in the six-yard area it is a free-kick,” said Benitez. “Why do you have a six-yard box? It is for the keeper.”
But Benitez had been wary of West Ham’s set-piece threat and they now have 29 goals from dead-ball situations, the most in the league, in Moyes’ second reign. And when Ogbonna outjumped Ben Godfrey, a familiar plan brought Moyes a familiar feeling: victory at Goodison.
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