West Ham grab another point after Everton stalemate
PUBLISHED: 17:04 22 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:04 22 April 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
The Hammers stop Lukaku at last but draw a blank themselves
West Ham United 0 Everton 0
It finished blankety-blank at the London Stadium, where the dominant hard-working Hammers just could not find the net against a goal-shy Everton side.
And on an afternoon, when West Ham United finally silenced their nemesis Romelu Lukaku, this stalemate signalled the first-ever goalless draw in West Ham United’s new home.
Following last Saturday’s careless 2-2 draw at sinking Sunderland, Slaven Bilić had made a quartet of changes as fit-again Winston Reid, Jonathan Calleri and Harvard Nordtveit came in for the banned Sam Byram and injured duo of Andy Carroll (groin) and Robert Snodgrass, while Adrián tellingly earned a recall at the expense of Darren Randolph, who took his place on a youthful looking substitutes bench containing former Everton starlet, Nathan Holland.
That meant there was not an Englishman in sight as West Ham posed the first serious threat of the afternoon, with Swiss right wing-back Edimilson Fernandes crossing into Argentinian, Calleri, whose 10-yard header was deflected behind.
And when fellow Argentinian Lanzini swung over the consequent corner, Senegalese powerhouse, Cheikhou Kouyaté, just could not bundle in at the far post.
With just one win in their last 17 Premier League encounters against the Toffees, Bilić’s boys were already on 999 alert against a Blues’ side kicking-off in seventh-spot, six places and 20 points ahead of the Hammers.
Arriving at the London Stadium having already won nine games in 2017, Ronald Koeman’s team were also were able to unleash lethal Lukaku, who had not only scored in each of his last nine matches against West Ham, but had also netted in his last nine outings at Goodison Park, too.
Indeed, the in-form, 25-goal, Belgian international, who had predictably converted in the Toffees 3-1 win over Burnley last weekend, took his place in an Everton team making just one change as Ronald Koeman also switched keepers with the call-up of Maarten Stekenlenburg in place of substitute, Joel Robles.
But it was his orange-shirted counterpart, Adrian, who was almost embarrassingly tangoed on the quarter-hour mark, when an ambitious keepy-uppy routine unravelled inside his own area and, although the lurking Lukaku charged the ball down, the red-faced Spaniard managed to dive on the loose ball much to the relief of everyone claret and blue.
As the half-hour mark approached, Idrissa Gueye was booked for chopping the escaping Calleri and, when Lanzini sent forward the resulting free-kick Phil Jagielka rose highest to nod behind for a corner that was half-cleared to Nordtveit, whose stinging 20-yarder flew into the forehead of Tom Davies before being returned, with interest, by the Norwegian into the gloves of Stekelenburg.
Kouyaté also sent a 20-yard grass-cutter past the base of the ‘keeper’s left-hand post, before Fernandes was then yellow-carded for lunging at Leighton Baines and, after fellow wing-back Arthur Masuaku whipped over a tantalising left-wing cross, Lanzini centred from the other flank but James Collins powered his header just inches past the far post to keep it goalless at the break.
Everton replaced Gueye and Davies with Ademola Lookman and Gareth Barry for the restart but still West Ham pressed with Fernandes twice letting fly without reward and then Lanzini saw his 15-yarder bravely headed clear by Jagielka.
Finding space in the channels, Fernandes also drilled another angled effort over the top before Lukaku awoke from his slumber to skip past Collins but, fortunately, José Fonte was on hand to block, before Lanzini drew the loudest cheer of the afternoon with a terrific twist and turn combined with and audacious Rabona cross into the danger-zone that was worth the ticket price, alone.
On the hour, Diafra Sakho replaced the industrious Calleri, while Ashley Williams was cautioned for wrestling Kouyaté to the deck, before Barry followed him into the book for tripping André Ayew.
Midway through the second period, Everton finally mustered their first shot of the game, when Lookman sent a low 20-yarder beyond the base of Adrián’s left-hand post, before Koeman made his final substitution of a subdued Saturday afternoon with Kevin Mirallas retiring in place of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who soon found himself scythed by the consequently-cautioned, Fonte.
The dangerous Lanzini also curled a low 20-yarder at the alert Stekelenburg, while at the other end, Lookman looked more lethal than Lukaku with another dipping 20-yarder that just cleared Adrián’s bar and, as the Toffees finally started to find some traction, Jagielka also headed behind.
Another late break saw Sakho burst forward before linking with Ayew but when the ball fell to the supporting Lanzini his ambitious overhead kick drifted wide to define an afternoon in which Everton barely threatened a battling West Ham side that sadly just did not have the fire-power to find the net.
HAMMERS: Adrián, Reid, Collins, Fonte, Fernandes, Masuaku, Kouyaté (Cresswell 790 Nordtveit, Lanzini, Ayew, Calleri (Sakho 62). Unused subs: Randolph, Cresswell, Fletcher, Holland, Rice, Makasi.
TOFFEES: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Baines, Jagielka, Williams, Gueye (Lookman h/t), Schneiderlin, Davies (Barry h/t), Mirallas (Calvert-Lewin 72), Barkley, Lukaku. Unused subs: Robles, Koné, Pennington, Kenny.
Bookings: Gueye (27), Fernandes (33), Williams (62), Barry (67), Fonte (76).
Referee: Roger East