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Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
Premier League
 Saturday 21 January 2017; 8:00pm
Everton 
4 0
 West Ham
 Rooney 18', 28', 66'
Williams 78'
Half Time: 2 - 0
 
Attendance: 38,242
Fixture 14
Referee: Michael Oliver

Match Report

If David Unsworth has sported the look of a harrowed man over the past few days, he will have left Goodison Park with a rueful smile this evening having left the post of caretaker manager with a thumping 4-0 win to savour.

Having lost 4-1 at Southampton on Sunday and seen his team fall apart in similar fashion against Atalanta the previous Thursday, the former defender knew that it was only a matter of time before a permanent successor to Ronald Koeman was appointed. He looked as hurt as he said he felt about those results in his pre-match press conference yesterday and for stepping into the breach in hugely difficult circumstances he fully deserved to leave his temporary post with a victory.

And how! One look at the Blues’ recent form and a patched-up back four featuring the much-maligned duo of Cuco Martina and Ashley Willlams and Mason Holgate who only proved his fitness last night suggested that confidence-sapped Everton might be in for a difficult evening. Instead, with controversial new hire Sam Allardyce watching on from the Directors’ box, Wayne Rooney claimed a first hat-trick for his boyhood club in the most spectacular fashion and the home side kept its first clean sheet in the Premier League since the opening day of the season.

Despite the emphatic nature of the scoreline, it wasn’t an entirely comfortable evening for a home crowd that was quiet and circumspect during an opening quarter of an hour that offered no hint of what was to come. That the supporters were able to go home happy was also down to a vital penalty save from Jordan Pickford 13 minutes into the second half and what was, apart from Jason Cresswell’s shot that crashed off the face of the crossbar, a woeful attacking performance from West Ham on David Moyes’s latest chastening return to Goodison. Rooney’s world-class intervention eight minutes later, followed by atonement for Williams, merely confirmed that it was going to be the Toffees’ night.

When viewed as a whole, this was not a great performance but in the context of the panic that had gripped the club after Sunday’s defensive debacle at St Mary’s Stadium it was certainly good enough and there were some very encouraging individual performances.

With his years advancing, many observers have suggested that Wayne Rooney’s best position could be in a deeper role than he occupied under Ronald Koeman and, finally, Unsworth took the much-called-for step of dispensing with two holding midfielders at home to accommodate the veteran in that more influential role.

Rooney responded by largely running the game from midfield, offering the kind of industry and vision that has been sorely lacking from Morgan Schneiderlin while still chipping in in his customary striker’s position for Everton’s second goal after 28 minutes. His deployment as a roving “No.8” probably also left him perfectly positioned to score the third from inside his own half.

Still, it took Everton a while to get going but once Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson started to find their rhythm, the home side were able to gather some momentum. It was the Icelandic international, enjoying his most productive display yet in a Royal Blue jersey, whose persistence and footwork enabled him to prod the ball forward into the box for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to chase.

He was upended by Joe Hart, Rooney stepped up to take the penalty and though his England team-mate made a good save with a strong hand, the rebound sat up invitingly for the Everton man to head home.

The second goal involved one of the better moves of the game from Unsworth’s side. Jonjoe Kenny, another player putting on his best performance of the season, rampaged forward Seamus Coleman-style, fed the ball wide the Tom Davies on the right and continued his run into the box. The young fullback missed his kick as he met Davies’s low centre under pressure from his marker but the ball carried through nicely to Rooney and he swept a simple shot into the empty side of the goal.

That left the Blues 2-0 up at the break following what had been, the goals aside, a largely uneventful half during which the awful Hammers had failed to muster a shot on goal. Much of that was down to a much more disciplined defensive performance from Everton underpinned by a better shape and more attentive marking than was the case in the previous two outings.

Moyes’s half-time team talk was no doubt designed to gee his charges up and they emerged from the dressing room on the front foot to begin the second half. Indeed, they succeeded in pinning their hosts back in their own half for a good six to seven minutes after the restart and Cresswell came within inches of halving the deficit but was denied by the woodwork.

Nevertheless, as the Blues continued to squander possession with infuriating regularity, the Hammers were handed a route back into the contest when Williams needlessly hauled Diafra Sakho in the area and referee Michael Oliver again pointed to the spot.

Manuel Lanzini took responsibility for the penalty but Jordan Pickford guessed the right way, parrying his shot away superbly to safety. It was a vital save as you sensed that at 2-1, with West Ham’s tails up and Everton buckling, it could well have got worse.

Instead, the game was sealed by a slice of opportunistic magic from Rooney. Kenny’s long ball forward was flicked into space ahead of him by Calvert-Lewin which drew Hart well out of his area to clear it upfield. It went straight to Rooney five yards inside his own half and with one expertly clipped first-time shot he arced it over the despairing ‘keeper and Angelo Ogbonna and into the West Ham goal. The boyhood Blue’s first Everton hat-trick sealed in sublime fashion.

Rooney would get a deserved ovation when he was replaced by Beni Baningime with five minutes left on the clock but in between Williams scored Everton’s fourth, a looping header from a corner after he had lost his marker.

And so to the impending transfer of managerial duties from the truest of Blues to the far less felicitous Allardyce with the stabbing irony that this result confirmed what many had felt — that even hampered by injury to three more first-teamers this Everton side was far better than performances and results have suggested this season and that a number of players had let Unsworth down badly since he assumed the helm six weeks ago.

Unsworth may always regret that he wasn’t able to draw better out of the team and either give the Board of Directors more time to avoid the kind of panicked decision that has led them down the road to appointing the man who was sacked by England in disgrace not that long ago.

It was just Sod’s Law that the ink was probably still drying on Allardyce’s contract as the Blues rattled in four goals, alleviated at a stroke the fear that had taken hold after Sunday and removed much of the need for a relegation specialist at all. It leaves the Everton support having to back a manager that the vast majority didn’t want and the Board having to balance Allardyce’s transfer needs in January with the longer-term needs of the Farhad Moshiri/Steve Walsh project which has been put on hold by the new man’s hiring.

That’s an issue to wrestle with in the coming days. Rooney may have grabbed the headlines but this was “Rhino’s” night — may he treasure it along with the appreciative chants he received from a grateful Goodison as he steps back down to the Under-23s to resume his impressive work building the club’s future on the pitch.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

David Unsworth signed off as caretaker manager with a handsome victory thanks to a treble from Wayne Rooney and a fine penalty save from Jordan Pickford.

With imminent managerial appointment San Allardyce watching from the Directors' box next to Farhad Moshiri, Everton were leading 2-0 when Pickford pushed away Manuel Lanzini's spot-kick and the Blues took the cue to double their advantage with another two goals.

Rooney sealed his treble with a sublime finish from inside his own half and Ashley Williams atoned for conceding the penalty by heading in the fourth.

Unsworth took charge of his eighth and possibly final game knowing that a victory over the Hammers was of paramount importance.

Injury to two key defenders, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka, forced him into making changes at the back where Cuco Martina was recalled and Mason Holgate came into the back four.

Tom Davies returned following suspension and Rooney was back in the starting XI after sitting out the defeat at Southampton on Sunday.

The first quarter of an hour featured no chances, as two nervy sides felt each other out.

Pickford made a confident take at one end and then Everton won a penalty at the other end as Calvert-Lewin was taken down by Joe Hart.

Rooney had his spot kick saved but the rebound fell invitingly for him to head home.

The goal didn't initially spark greater adventure from Everton but Sigurdsson won a free kick with 25 minutes gone that came to nothing.

A couple of minutes later, a quick move ended with Davies free on the right and his cross fell to Rooney who slotted home.

The Hammers started the second half on the front foot and had the Blues penned in their own half for the first seven minutes or so but the defence held despite some cheap giveaways in the midfield and Cresswell smacking an effort off the crossbar.

Everton continued to sit back, however and when Williams brought Sakho down in his own box, referee Oliver pointed to the spot.

Pickford guesses right and parried Lanzini's penalty away to safety, though, preserving the home side's two-goal lead.

Shortly afterwards it was 3-0 when Hart slid the ball out to the halfway line but was caught way off his line and Rooney executed a brilliantly deft shot from behind the halfway line that sailed over the keeper and into the empty goal.

3-0 became 4-0 a few minutes later when Williams lost his marker at a corner and glanced a header into the far side of the goal.

Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Holgate, Martina, Williams, Gueye, Davies, Lennon (89' Lookman), Sigurdsson, Rooney {c} (85' Baningime), Calvert-Lewin (90+1' Vlasic).
Subs not Used:

Robles, Besic, Schneiderlin, Ramirez.

Lyndon Lloyd

Playing Devil's Advocate

Gaz kindly picked me up from work, and on we went towards Goodison Park, picking up Dan and then Ste on route. My wife warned me that the Birkenhead Tunnel had been busy on her way back from work, busy it was, but thankfully we didn’t panic and divert to the Wallasey Tunnel from there. With that we were in the pub in plenty of time for kick off, or at least I was, the other three had no cash and so had to go the cash machine. Such was the queue, I was there nursing a few pints on my own until the fellas returned.

Frankly, we were all rather aghast at Big Sam taking over as Everton manager and we discussed a lot of possible permutations in the pub. Should Ronald Koeman have been given more time? Why on earth was Koeman sacked with no replacement lined up? Why throw David Unsworth into the firing line with such an imbalance of away games to home games? It seems both the decision to initially Ronald Koeman, and now to give the job to Sam Allardyce were both rather knee-jerk.

That said, why the sudden upturn in performance? Has David Unsworth finally found his best team, albeit too late? Has the penny finally dropped what is required for the players? Or, is this simply the reaction to a new manager coming in? If the former, then you worry we now have a manager we don’t need. If the latter, then shame on the players. Until tonight they haven’t done enough at any point this season.

We marched on to Goodison Park, somewhat nervously, though excited…there’s nothing better than Goodison under the lights.

With a patched up defence we were all relieved to see the Andy Carroll-less West Ham Utd team. We were also surprised to see Mason Holgate in defence, deputising for the injured Phil Jagielka, and with Leighton Baines and Michael Keane succumbing to injury, in came Ashley Williams and Cuco Martina. Wayne Rooney played midfield alongside Idrissa Gueye, while Tom Davies was also recalled replacing the seemingly disinterested Kevin Mirallas.

Though nervy, we began OK, and as we settled, Wayne Rooney grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and dictated play. This continued throughout, especially in the first half. On 18 minutes we won a penalty when Dominic Calvert-Lewin was brought down by Joe Hart. Wayne Rooney stepped up, Joe Hart saved, but Wayne was able to head in the rebound to put us ahead.

10 minutws later it was 2-0. Kenny and Davies combined and the ball back into the box by Davies was mis-hit by Kenny, but fell invitingly into the path of Rooney who tucked home smartly. Everton 2-0 ahead, the players visibly gaining in confidence and putting in a shift for the new manager…whether that be departing or incoming. You decide.

The moment of the game of course came when Wayne Rooney completed his hat-trick. All his career, be that at Everton or Manchester United, his goals tend to come at the Park End, so I’m glad he was saving something special for the Gwladys Street. Joe Hart’s clearance only found Wayne on half way, and he struck instinctively first time from about 50 yards out to seal the game for Everton. A phenomenal goal by Wayne.

The goal was needed too. We’d began the second half poorly, nervously, and had West Ham United have scored during that period, who knows how the game would have ended up. Amidst nervy defending and indecision, Aaron Creswell came close to scoring when he rattled the crossbar with a venomous strike. The real turning point however came when Ashley Williams gave away a penalty with a brainless challenge. Manuel Lanzini stepped up, but Jordan Pickford guessed right, and made a solid save to keep us 2-0 ahead. A really big moment in the game.

Later in the game at 3-0 and with their defensive mainstay WInston Reid off the pitch with injury, West Ham United’s discipline was long gone and though a good header it was, Ashley WIlliams was able to rise, practically unchallenged to add some gloss to the scoresheet.

It will have been a nice moment for David Unsworth to soak up the applause from the Gwladys Street, and well deserved too. He’s handled himself commendably these last five weeks or so, and whether that be from the board, or the players, or both, he deserved better. Thank you David.

On we move then to another new chapter in the clubs history with Sam Allardyce. Like it or not, he’s here, let’s get behind him and hope for the best.

That’s about as positive as I can be.

Player ratings

Pickford: They say top keepers can gain you an extra 10 points per season. Jordan is certainly doing that. You actually wonder where we would be without him. 8

Martina: He’s not comfortable at left back, and you couldn’t say he had a good game, but credit to him for standing up and being counted and getting rid of what he had to. A good effort. 6

Williams: More solid and committed than he has been probably for the whole season. He had a calamitous moment with the penalty, and he can thank Pickford for bailing him out of that one, but he did score a good headed goal and his general performance level was good. 6

Holgate: Looked very relaxed and composed, it was as if he’s never been out of the team and has been bang in form. A very impressive display indeed. 7

Kenny: His work rate and defensive solidity continues to impress me. After two tough games away at Leicester City and Lyon, he seems to be getting better each game. Good on him. 8

Gueye: Not quite as sharp as he was at times last season, but he got about the pitch well. 6

Rooney: Though ultimately frustrated by the team’s failings, I thought he had a good game in midfield against Atalanta, and was surprised to see him completely dropped at the weekend. Well he certainly exorcised some demons in tonight’s display. From the first whistle he was outstanding. Not only did he score an outrageous hat-trick, but he controlled the game, especially in the first half. It looks like we’ve found his best position. Outstanding Wayne, well done. Unsurprisingly, my man of the match. 10

Davies: Seemed to be given license to drift between midfield and attack, and had an effective game doing so. Whatever you say about Tom Davies, he certainly stands up to be counted and never shirks his responsibilities. Had a good, effective game. All five midfielders have made it very tough for Sam to leave them out on Saturday. 7

Lennon: A shift full of desire. It was a good call by David Unsworth to switch he and Gylfi Sigurdsson around in the second half, as they both ultimately had more success when this was done. A great effort from Aaron Lennon as always. 7

Sigurdsson: Probably his best game yet for us. He was involved throughout, and did well making interceptions, winning back possession and creating opportunities in attack. Is perfect foil in midfield for Wayne Rooney. 7

Calvert-Lewin: Perhaps lacking in a bit of quality, but certainly full of heart. A real effort. 6

Substitutes:

Baningime (for Rooney): Will have enjoyed more minutes on the field. 6

Lookman (for Lennon): One shot on the run in the last action of the game very nearly brought us a goal. 6

Vlasic (for Calvert-Lewin): Got involved in the short time he had on the field. 6

Paul Traill

Match Preview

Everton go into successive fixtures this week that could have enormous ramifications for their season as the search for a permanent successor to Ronald Koeman rumbles on in the background.

Fellow strugglers West Ham United come to Goodison Park in a match-up that is fascinating neutral observers before Huddersfield visit this coming weekend, two vital home games that could provide the Toffees with a path away from the immediate panic that has gripped the club over the past week.

As the Board of Directors look to finalise the appointment of Sam Allardyce on as-yet unknown terms, David Unsworth is expected to take charge of his eighth and possibly final game knowing that a victory over the Hammers is of paramount importance.

His stint as caretaker boss hasn't gone as he would have hoped and as mounting injuries have compounded crippled confidence, he faces a difficult assignment against a West Ham side who have already made their managerial change by appointing former Toffees' boss, David Moyes.

Four and a half years ago, as the Scot oversaw his last match as Everton manager, Blues fans responded to jibes from the Hammers fans about the impending loss of their supposed “Moyessiah” by ridiculing the fact that Allardyce was seated in the opposition dugout. Who could have foreseen then that the two men would end up trading places with both clubs in chaos?

The disgraced former England manager who said he was retiring after his stint at Crystal Palace last season may or may not be confirmed by the time the game kicks off but Unsworth and John Ebbrell will be focused on the task of rallying a dispirited group of players and selecting a team from those available capable of winning the game.

The expected absentees mean that the interim management team could be down to the bare bones at the back. Leighton Baines is a serious doubt after limping out of the action against Southampton on Sunday while Michael Keane is unlikely to figure either after taking a knock to the head in the 4-1 defeat at St Mary's Stadium.

Ordinarily, that would provide an opportunity for Mason Holgate to stake his claim in his preferred position at centre-half but he has been battling an injury of his own. He was scheduled to take part in an evening training session at Finch Farm today where his fitness is to be assessed and if he is deemed ready, he would likely be deployed as one of a central-defensive three or a right full-back, with Jonjoe Kenny filling in on the opposite side of a back four.

There are decisions to be made in all outfield areas of the line-up, with midfield an area of concern against Southampton and the attack being almost a non-entity. Tom Davies is eligible again after suspension and could be restored to the starting XI to provide a bit more forward thrust while it remains to be seen whether the manager has the question marks over Morgan Schneiderlin's application against the Saints as the watching fans did.

Up front, where Oumar Niasse serves the second match of his two-game ban, Dominic Calvert-Lewin struggled to have any impact on Sunday's game, and it's likely that Wayne Rooney will play, perhaps with Sandro Ramirez given another chance following his consolation goal against Atalanta.

Unsworth preached a need to get back to basics in terms of getting rid of the ball prior to the last match but it's an approach that needs to be applied across the board if the Blues are to stanch the bleeding that has increased in the last two games. A more disciplined shape, more possession, better work-rate, protection of the ball and passing will all be required if they are to get a much-needed win.

While the Atalanta game was a disaster suffered by a much-changed side, the home win over Watford could provide a better template for what is possible when the crowd are with the team and there is some self-belief in the ranks. Avoiding the early goal against and grabbing one at the other end would work wonders for the players' confidence. The alternative isn't worth considering.

Kick-off: 8pm, Wednesday 29 November, 2017
Referee:
Last Time: Everton 2 - 0 West Ham United

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Holgate, Jagielka, Williams, Kenny, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Rooney, Calvert-Lewin

Lyndon Lloyd

* Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.

Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
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Match Reports
2017-18 Reports Index
« So'hampton (A) Hudd'field (H) »
 Match reports
 Lyndon Lloyd Report
Ken Buckley Report
 Paul Traill Report
EVERTON
  Pickford
  Kenny
  Holgate
  Williams
  Martina
  Gueye
  Davies
  Lennon (Lookman 89')
  Sigurdsson
  Rooney (Baningime 85')
  Calvert-Lewin (Vlasic 90'+1)
  Subs not used
  Robles
  Besic
  Schneiderlin
  Ramirez
  Unavailable
  Baines (injured)
  Barkley (injured)
  Bolasie (injured)
  Coleman (injured)
  Funes Mori (injured)
  Jagielka (injured)
  McCarthy (injured)
  Tarashaj (injured)
  Niasse (suspended)
  Browning (loan)
  Dowell (loan)
  Galloway (loan)
  Onyekuru (loan)
  Pennington (loan)
  J. Williams (loan)
WEST HAM
  Hart
  Zabaleta
  Reid (Rice 77')
  Ogbonna
  Cresswell
  Obiang (Sakho 46')
  Kouyate
  Masuaku
  Arnautovic (Antonio 62')
  Lanzini
  Ayew
  Subs not used
  Adrian
  Noble
  Martinez
  Fernandes

Match Stats

Possession
44%
56%
Shots
8
7
Shots on target
5
3
Corners
2
6

Premier League Scores
Tuesday
Brighton 0-0 C Palace
Leciester 2-1 Tottenham
Watford 2-4 Man United
West Brom 2-2 Newcastle
Wednesday
Arsenal 5-0 Huddersfield
Bournemouth 1-2 Burnley
Chelsea 1-0 Swansea
Everton 4-0 West Ham
Man City 2-1 Southampton
Stoke City 0-3 Liverpool


Team Pts
1 Manchester City 43
2 Manchester United 35
3 Chelsea 32
4 Liverpool 29
5 Arsenal 28
6 Tottenham Hotspur 25
7 Burnley 25
8 Watford 22
9 Leicester City 20
10 Everton 18
11 Southampton 17
12 Brighton & Hove Albion 17
13 Stoke City 16
14 Bournemouth 15
15 Newcastle United 15
16 Huddersfield Town 15
17 West Bromwich Albion 13
18 Crystal Palace 10
19 West Ham United 10
20 Swansea City 9

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