Given West Ham United’s poor run of recent results, together with Everton’s dreadful away form, something had to give in Saturday afternoon’s meeting between the two sides in Stratford. Thankfully for the home faithful, they saw a first success in East London since October 24 as the hosts won 2-0.
David Moyes made three changes from the side that were narrowly beaten by Wolverhampton Wanderers seven days earlier, as Kurt Zouma, Emmerson Palmieri and Saïd Benrahma all came into the starting line-up, while Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Fornals and Tomáš Souček dropped to the bench. There was a recall for goalkeeper Alphonse Areola amongst the substitutes after he returned from a hip injury, while new signing Danny Ings also took his place in the matchday squad.
It was another reunion with his old club for Frank Lampard, who despite winning two matches against the Hammers in his managerial career, he has never won in East London and the home fans were not only hoping to get their form back on track but also for that particular record to be extended.
It was a match of equal importance for both teams and although it was an even start to the game, the home side began to dominate as the half went on. Visiting goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made a vital save on twenty seven minutes, as he helped Benrahma’s shot over the bar.
The home side piled on the pressure and just nine minutes later they went ahead when Jarrod Bowen had the fans cheering, as he finished off a move, following clever play from both Palmieri and Zouma. They were made to wait a while to celebrate, as a VAR check took place for a apparent offside but once that had been sorted out, referee Stuart Attwell allowed the goal to stand.
Just six minutes later, Bowen grabbed his second. Michail Antonio got the slip on James Tarkowski and the joy was doubled for the home support as the former Hull City winger had Pickford beaten again.
Now, the visitors had a mountain to climb!!!
Alex Iwobi did provide a scare for the home side when his shot took a deflection but thankfully, the ball hit the post.
The home side went down the tunnel after forty five minutes with a comfortable advantage and wondered if they could get more to improve their goal-difference.
The visitors may have reduced the deficit just minutes after half-time but fortunately, Dominic Calvert-Lewin couldn’t connect with the ball and the chance had gone.
On the whole, the majority inside the stadium were pleased with how things were going on the pitch and they continued to create an atmosphere to match. The Irons might have had a third goal to celebrate but it wasn’t to be, as Palmieri’s shot was tipped over the top by Pickford, after being set up by Benrahma.
On seventy minutes, Moyes made a double substitution, as Souček and Ings came on for Lucas Paquetá and Antonio.
Everton are by far the favourite opponents for West Ham’s latest recruit and he set about trying to improve that record. In fact, his first involvement in a Hammers’ shirt was to set up Captain Declan Rice. The skipper nearly put his team further in front but unfortunately, he saw his shot go inches wide.
Ings was desperate to show the home crowd what he could do and after Rice had narrowly missed that chance, the striker played the ball through to Benrahma but unfortunately, his cross was unable to reach Bowen.
The new frontman was definitely keen to make a good first impression, as minutes later he combined with Bowen, who wanted to score his third goal of the afternoon but a block from Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee, Connor Coady prevented him from doing so.
West Ham made two further substitutions with nine minutes of normal time to play, as both Ben Johnson and Flynn Downes were introduced in place of Palmieri and Benrahma.
With time running out, the East Londoners were pushing for more goals but two would eventually be enough, as Attwell blew the final whistle to confirm a first league win of 2023 for the Hammers which in turn moved them up to fifteenth in the Premier League table.
The fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup is next on the agenda for Moyes’ men as they face a trip to Pride Park to take on the challenge of Sky Bet League One outfit Derby County on Monday 30 January.
In other news, it has been announced that Craig Dawson has left the club and headed to the Midlands to join Wolverhampton Wanderers for a fee of £3.3m.
With eight days left in the January transfer window, there could be more deals done before Deadline Day. As soon as further moves are confirmed, this site will have the latest.