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Everton 0-1 West Ham United
It might not always be pretty and it might go against the grain of those who still believe West Ham United is the Academy of football. But make no mistake, having twice brought the club back from the brink of relegation, David Moyes has ridden the Hammers of that soft underbelly that they have for so long been renowned for.
Admittedly, Moyes is still some way from replicating what he achieved during ten years on Merseyside. Nevertheless, I’m sure those of an Everton persuasion casting an eye over the Hammers sinking their charges thanks to a late Tomas Soucek strike will admit they might well have seen this before.
The win – West Ham’s seventh of the campaign – didn’t come without its issues. Popular Polish goalkeeper, Lukasz Fabianski, was injured in the warm-up, handing Darren Randolph his first Premier League start of the campaign.
But the Irish stopper had very little to do as the East Londoners, expertly marshalled by Angelo Ogbonna and Craig Dawson, produced a resolute performance, laying teh foundations for an impressive success.
“We know we’re not ready to compete with the top teams, but we’re getting closer and I’d say all the games we’ve played against them, we’ve given them all a game,” Moyes enthused.
“We gave another top team who had a chance to go second in the league tonight a game and in the end, we got three points, thankfully.”
This was West Ham’s third game in six days – a sequence which has seen them glean five points and keep two clean sheets: “We definitely made a point of not mentioning to the players that we’d played three games in six days, but I had mentioned it because I felt it was unfair, and I’m sure other teams got similar schedules and felt the same – We came through it well, anyway,” Moyes added.
Despite remaining in tenth place, West Ham are now just three points off the top four. They return now turn their attention to the Emirates FA Cup where they face Vanarama National League outfit, Stockport County at Edgeley Park on Monday, January 11 (8pm).
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Holgate, Mina, Godfrey, Doucoure, Davies, Bernard (Rodriguez 64’), Sigurdsson (Gomes 64’), Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin (Tosun 79’) Subs not used: Olsen, Lossl, Nkounkou, Keane, Branthwaite, Gordon
West Ham United: Randolph, Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Souček, Bowen (Lanzini 73’), Benrahma, Fornals (Yarmolenko 73’), Haller (Antonio 59’) Subs not used: Martin, Johnson, Balbuena, Diop, Noble, Snodgrass
Referee: Kevin Friend
Assistants: Simon Beck and Eddie Smart
Fourth Official: Andy Madley
VAR: Simon Hooper
Assistant VAR: Nick Hopton