West Ham were eventually rewarded after a tight schedule and a grueling display. Since leaving Everton eight years ago, Tomas Soucek’s late winner gave David Moyes his first points at Goodison Park, and the manager replied with four days off for his tired players.
With their fifth consecutive Premier League victory, Everton could have risen to second position, but created a laboured and unimaginative performance.
Carlo Ancelotti said a point was deserved by his squad. He’s been really kind. Since West Ham skillfully defended, as the game went on, it got stronger and showed the only innovation in the game.
“It’s always special when you return to your old club,” Moyes said. “I had a wonderful time here.
It was very important to come here and win. Everton is at a fantastic moment and you can’t underestimate what it would mean to finish second, and in six days we had the third game behind us.
I can’t thank the players sufficiently. A huge credit is their level of fitness and professionalism.
Ryan Fredericks, who isolated himself after testing positive, and West Ham, who were planning once again to clean up their training ground, dominated the game.
“Moyes said, “We were not asked to do so, and it’s not because of the one player we have with Covid.
It’s because we’re trying to do what we can do.
After three games enriched by the supporters’ noise, after Liverpool were promoted to the third division on Wednesday, Goodison Stadium was eerily quiet again.
For the 2,000 who hoped to begin the new year by seeing their team in the flesh for the first time since March, it was as depressing as it was for those expecting to attend the postponed game against Manchester City on Monday. Although the crowds were thin, in Everton’s rise up the table, they played a major role and their absence was reflected in a subdued performance. The players at Everton could not find inspiration from inside.
After the Brazilian concussion in the Carabao Cup against Manchester United, Ancelotti remembered Richarlison and must have wondered why he was bothered.
Richarlison was malevolent. After missing the last five games with calf problems, James Rodríguez also returned as a replacement, but he could not do much about the flat offensive results either.
After City’s postponement, so much for the gain of extra rest.
It was their third game since Christmas Day for West Ham, but they never looked at a disadvantage and were ahead of the late Soucek winner. Whenever Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson or Bernard got possession, they limited Everton to playing neat, sharp triangles in harmless places, cut off any effort from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who looked stricken, and closed down quickly. When Lukasz Fabianski sustained another thigh injury in the warm-up, the visitors were forced into a late goalkeeper move. There was no need for his substitute, Darren Randolph, to interfere until the 45th minute.
A Bernard volley that was cleared into the box after a Sigurdsson corner was Everton’s first shot on target, but Randolph was able to parry the shot. The first save for Jordan Pickford came even later when, after a Ben Godfrey foul on Vladimir Coufal, Aaron Cresswell circled a free kick into the far corner. After that, Pablo Fornals missed an excellent opportunity to break the boring deadlock. When Jarrod Bowen served him with a cross into the box, the midfielder was open, but his header from eight yards out went so high that the scream of a teammate echoed across the stadium.
With the replacements of Rodríguez, André Gomes, Andriy Yarmolenko, Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio, both coaches tried to inject some much-needed innovation and consistency into the game, but only Moyes’ changes were successful. Yarmolenko released Soucek with an intelligent chip with four minutes remaining. Pickford parried the first shot of the midfielder from a turn, but the rebound landed with Cresswell, whose low shot was deflected into the direction of Soucek by Yerry Mina, who made no mistake and scored the season’s fifth goal.