West Ham United 0-1 Everton
- Goal: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m)
- Assist: Ben Godfrey (£5.0m)
- Bonus: Calvert-Lewin, Godfrey x3, Yerry Mina (£5.5m)
A goal for Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m) and an eighth away clean sheet of the season for Everton’s backline saw the Toffees’ Double Gameweek 35 off to a satisfying start.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side next face Aston Villa on Thursday in a swift rematch of their Gameweek 34 meeting, while West Ham take a backseat until their Gameweek 36 encounter with Brighton.
WHILE THE CATENACCIO’S AWAY
Everton’s Jekyll-and-Hyde form sees them rank third in the Premier League table for away points and a lowly 15th for home results.
(tables from www.soccerstats.com)
Is there something to this disparity or merely “one of those things” that we can chalk up to chaos?
With 23 goals scored in both home and away matches, the key difference has been at the back.
|Goals conceded||27 (=16th)||15 (=2nd)|
|Clean sheets||2 (19th)||8 (=2nd)|
Speaking in March, Ancelotti hailed his backline when asked about the reason for Everton’s superior form on the road:
The defence. I think the key was that we were a little more focused defensively away, we were a little bit more scared or worried to play away and so we were more focused defensively. Most of our results away were down to a really good defence.
After that we have quality in the counter-attack, we have quality on set pieces – most of these victories were after set pieces.
Ancelotti’s comment about focus is perhaps the most pertinent here: the Toffees are top of the league for the fewest defensive errors (three) in away games but rank bottom for the same statistic in home matches (13).
There was only really one major scare against a below-par West Ham, with Vladimir Coufal (£4.7m) striking the post and Jarrod Bowen (£5.9m) unable to tap home the rebound.
The Hammers, indeed, didn’t have a single shot on target.
All of the above bodes well for Thursday’s trip to Aston Villa, who will be without leading goalscorer Ollie Watkins (£6.5m) through suspension.
Everton’s decent away defensive record is also worth considering in Gameweek 38, for those managers mulling over a sentimental punt on Sergio Aguero (£10.3m) or indeed any other Manchester City asset.
Calvert-Lewin has been a streaky player ever since Ancelotti was appointed, with purple patches at the start of the Italian’s reign and the first 11 Gameweeks of 2020/21.
Back-to-back goals would potentially hint at another scoring run – a Villa side without a clean sheet in eight games is up next – and the ship hasn’t sailed for those Fantasy managers looking to pounce.
A home fixture against the division’s worst defence follows in Gameweek 36, with Wolverhampton Wanderers to come in the penultimate round of Premier League matches.
With Nuno Espirito Santo giving fringe players a chance in the run-in and his side looking defensively fragile against the might of Burnley, West Bromwich Albion and Brighton and Hove Albion in the last three Gameweeks, Wolves are there for the taking.
But the chances continue to come and go for Richarlison (£7.8m), whose eight-game goal drought has seen him rack up 17 shots in the box without any success.
STOP HAMMER TIME?
Jesse Lingard (£6.6m) blanked for the third match in a row, with his repeated dropping into a deeper position as much of a sign of frustration as his late booking for dissent was.
Perhaps Lingard is better suited to playing against the ‘bigger’ teams: all eight of his goals from open play have come in games when West Ham have been dominated in terms of possession and played on the counter-attack.
The Hammers scored four goals directly on the break (a league-high) from Gameweeks 22-30 but none since then.
|West Ham’s possession||Lingard’s attacking returns|
|GW22: AVL (a)||43.9%||2|
|GW23: FUL (a)||39.2%||0|
|GW24: SHU (h)||46.2%||1|
|GW25: TOT (h)||30.8%||1|
|GW26: MCI (a)||36.9%||1|
|GW27: LEE (h)||34.3%||1|
|GW29: ARS (h)||36.5%||2|
|GW30: WOL (a)||33.9%||2|
|GW31: LEI (h)||36.7&||2|
|GW32: NEW (a)||65.2%||1 (penalty)|
|GW33: CHE (h)||44.1%||0|
|GW34: BUR (a)||56.1%||0|
|GW35: EVE (h)||68.6%||0|
The loanee’s phenomenal rate of attacking returns was always going to be unsustainable over a significant period of time and it was inevitable that there would be some regression to the norm.
But he did at least have some good underlying numbers to back up his superb initial form for West Ham (joint-third among midfielders for shots in the box from Gameweeks 22-32), figures that have since tumbled in an admittedly small sample of games.
At least Brighton and Southampton, two of the Hammers’ three remaining opponents, are in the top ten for possession in 2020/21 and may offer more opportunities to Lingard and co on the counter.
At the back, West Ham are without a clean sheet in seven matches – and it’s no surprise that Declan Rice (£4.7m) has missed all of them.
We’ve been treated to the sight of both Mark Noble (£4.5m) and Manuel Lanzini (£6.4m) in the double pivot alongside Tomas Soucek (£5.2m) recently but even those two players are now injured, with Lanzini suffering a thigh strain on Sunday.
Aaron Cresswell (£5.6m) also limped off during the game, with David Moyes confirming that the former merely had a dead leg:
Lanzini had an injury at the top of his thigh and it looks as if it is the top of his thigh or a groin strain that he had before.
Cressie, I think, was a dead leg, which won’t be so bad if that is the case.
Declan [Rice] – I am not putting a time on it yet, I can’t do that just now.
There could be goals aplenty when Brighton face West Ham in Gameweek 36, then, with the Seagulls potentially without two of their own key defenders.
West Ham United XI: Fabiański, Coufal, Diop, Dawson, Cresswell (Fredericks 59), Souček, Lanzini (Bowen 43), Fornals, Lingard, Benrahma (Yarmolenko 73), Antonio.
Everton XI: Pickford, Keane, Mina (Holgate 62), Godfrey, Coleman, Allan, Davies, Digne, Sigurdsson (Delph 85), Richarlison (King 84), Calvert-Lewin