West Ham strengthened their top-six credentials on Sunday with goals from Aaron Cresswell and Jarrod Bowen giving them a 2-1 victory over struggling Everton.
Cresswell opened the scoring with a terrific free kick in the first half before Mason Holgate’s deflected effort levelled things up after the break. Bowen was then the hero for the Hammers, finishing on the rebound just before the hour mark in what would prove to be the winner.
Everton also finished the game with ten men for the second successive Premier League match, with Michael Keane being given his marching orders for two yellow cards 25 minutes from time.
Chances were at a premium in the opening exchanges, although Jordan Pickford did have to be alert to close down Pablo Fornals after neat build-up play from the hosts.
The game desperately needed some magic to spark it into life, and on the half-hour mark Cresswell duly delivered, bending an unstoppable free kick into the top corner.
Just before the break Everton had their first real chance of the game. Richarlison seized upon a mistake by Ryan Fredericks and raced through on goal, only to prod his effort over the bar from a tight angle.
There was time for one more highlight in the first half with Michail Antonio coming close to ending his goal drought. He took the ball past Pickford but blasted his shot into the side netting.
Minutes after the restart Dominic Calvert-Lewin was slipped through by Alex Iwobi. Again though, a finish was lacking with the England international’s shot clipping the woodwork as it went over.
The Toffees did draw level soon after through Holgate. After Lukasz Fabianski failed to deal with a corner Richarlison offloaded to the makeshift midfielder, whose deflected effort flew into the bottom corner.
As has often been the case this season, Everton’s good work was then undone by an error. Iwobi was the guilty party, giving the ball away in midfield which allowed Antonio a sight at goal. His effort was saved initially but Jarrod Bowen was waiting to convert the rebound cleverly.
Seven minutes later, Everton were again their own worst enemies with Keane being shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Antonio.
Down to ten men and short on attacking inspiration, the Toffees offered very little in the remainder of the second half with West Ham easing to victory without too many problems.
Here are your player ratings for both sides…
Lukasz Fabianski (GK) – 5/10 – Flapped at a corner which allowed Holgate to level things early in the second half.
Ryan Fredericks (RB) – 4/10 – Made a couple of mistakes in the first half that could have been costly. Never looked convincing at the back.
Craig Dawson (CB) – 6/10 – Lucky not to get booked for a foul in the second half. Other than that, he was typically composed.
Kurt Zouma (CB) – 7/10 – Did not afford Calvert-Lewin a sight at goal for most of the afternoon.
Aaron Cresswell (LB) – 7/10 – Lit up a first half low of quality with a sumptuous free kick. Lost his head at the end, kicking Richarlison while he was down. Lucky he was not sent off.
Tomas Soucek (CM) – 6/10 – A real presence in the air, winning the majority of his aerial duels. Not his most effective attacking display.
Declan Rice (CM) – 7/10 – A metronome in the middle of the park. He barely misplaced a pass all afternoon.
Said Benrahma (AM) – 5/10 – Worked hard out of possession but not that influential on the ball.
Jarrod Bowen (RW) – 7/10 – Had to lift the ball over Mykolenko to score, and did so brilliantly. The game winner.
Michail Antonio (ST) – 6/10 – Kept Everton’s defence busy with his hold-up play, drawing five fouls. Finishing is getting worrying now. He looked shot of confidence.
Pablo Fornals (LW) – 4/10 – Gave the ball away too much. Unlucky to have Holgate’s effort deflect off him and into the back of the net.
Mark Noble (CM) – 6/10
Andriy Yarmolenko (LW) – N.A
Jordan Pickford (GK) – 6/10 – Was alert to deny Fornals early on with a slide tackle. Not a lot he could do about the free kick.
Jonjoe Kenny (RB) – 6/10 – Swung in some decent crosses and went about his defensive work confidently.
Ben Godfrey (CB) – 5/10 – Dragged all over the place by West Ham’s fluid frontline at times. Did not fare horrendously though.
Michael Keane (CB) – 2/10 – Misjudged two challenges on Antonio horrendously was duly dismissed. He is supposed to be a leader in this team…
Vitaly Mykolenko (LB) – 4/10 – Played Antonio onside for the second goal. Shaky defensively and offered nothing in attack.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (CM) – 5/10 – Did some good work in both directions but misplaced too many important passes.
Mason Holgate (CM) – 6/10 – Drafted into the team after Donny van de Beek pulled out in the warm up. Gave away the free kick that led to the opener but made up for that with a goal. Moved into defence when Keane was sent off, which capped off a very eventful afternoon. He coped admirably.
Alex Iwobi (CM) – 4/10 – Was disciplined out of possession and had a few bright moments. However, that cannot distract from his error which cost his side a goal.
Demarai Gray (RW) – 4/10 – Started brightly with some direct dribbling but soon faded into the background.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (ST) – 5/10 – Made a couple of smart runs in the first half. Missed a good chance just after the break.
Richarlison (LW) – 6/10 – He was a handful but wasteful once again. However, he did use his body well to set up Holgate’s leveller.
Anthony Gordon (LW) – N/A
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