West Ham's Champions League bid looks slim after Everton defeat

Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match at the L

Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. - Credit: PA

West Ham came unstuck against the Toffees at London Stadium, where Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s first-half strike thwarted David Moyes dreams of closing the gap on the top four.

Netting his 21st goal of the campaign midway through the first-half, the England striker secured an 11th away-day victory of the season for Everton, while West Ham United were left to reflect on what might have been on a far from sweet afternoon, which saw them both miss some golden chances and lose Manuel Lanzini and Aaron Cresswell with injuries.

In a congested chase for a coveted Champions League spot, the Hammers came into this contest in fifth-place in the midst of a topsy-turvy weekend that had already seen victories for Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United alongside defeats for Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City.

Everton's Allan (left) and West Ham United's Jesse Lingard battle for the ball during the Premier Le

Everton's Allan (left) and West Ham United's Jesse Lingard battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. Picture date: Sunday May 9, 2021. - Credit: PA

Kicking-off five points adrift of Brendan Rodgers’ fourth-placed Foxes– and following Monday’s wonderful win at Burnley - Moyes named an unchanged team against the club he had managed more than 500 times during his 11 seasons on Merseyside.

And it was the Scot’s former side who applied some early pressure, forcing three corners inside the opening five minutes but with Craig Dawson and Tomáš Souček holding firm in the danger zone, West Ham came through an edgy opening unscathed.


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Defeat on home soil to Aston Villa last weekend had left the Toffees in eighth-spot - six points behind the Hammers - and although that meant that Carlo Ancelotti’s side have lost eight games at Goodison Park, they arrived in the capital with just three defeats on their travels this season.

The Italian had made a trio of changes from the side that lost against Villa as Michael Keane, Yerry Mina and Tom Davies came in for substitutes Mason Holgate, André Gomes and Alex Iwobi and, as the 20-minute mark approached, the Hammers finally put those new faces under pressure for the first time.

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But Michail Antonio’s clever cut-back was intercepted by Lucas Digne as Jesse Lingard roared in for the kill and, midway through the opening period, West Ham then found themselves behind after Everton mounted a clinical counter-attack of their own.

With Keane squaring along the halfway line to fellow central defender Ben Godfrey, the £25 million capture from Norwich City played an incisive upfield ball to Calvert-Lewin, who comfortably outpaced Dawson before stroking an angled ten-yarder across the face of the helplessly exposed Łukasz Fabiański with 23 minutes on the clock.

West Ham United's Issa Diop (left) blocks a shot from Everton's Richarlison during the Premier Leagu

West Ham United's Issa Diop (left) blocks a shot from Everton's Richarlison during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. Picture date: Sunday May 9, 2021. - Credit: PA

Saïd Benrahma almost produced an instant reply but Seamus Coleman’s outstretched kneecap deflected the Algerian’s angled shot aside for a corner, while at the other end Gylfi Sigurdsson’s curling 20-yard free-kick was clawed out from underneath his right-hand angle by the flying Fabiański.

Now, with the game's slow-burning fuse starting to sizzle into an end-to-end encounter, Lingard almost stranded Jordan Pickford with an angled curler that just cleared the England ‘keeper’s far post, before Fabiański bravely dived into Richarlison’s studs to deny the Brazilian with a defiant double-save.

On 38 minutes, West Ham had a superb chance to level but when Pablo Fornals sent a well-flighted, right-wing ball to the far post, where Benrahma agonisingly sent his diving header back across goal and beyond the far upright and, shortly afterwards, Lanzini hobbled away clutching his knee as Jarrod Bowen stepped from the dug-out in a frustrating first-half for manager Moyes.

Then, just after the restart, Cresswell felt the full force of Godfrey’s challenge but despite  still clearly carrying the knock, the Merseysider bravely found Fornals, whose low 18-yarder was deflected aside by Davies for a corner before the Hammers defender was finally replaced by Ryan Fredericks.

On the hour, Vladimír Coufal – of all people – arrived in the area, where he fired a low 15-yarder onto the base of Pickford’s right-hand post but Bowen somehow scuffed the rebound straight into the gloves of the relieved goalkeeper from all of a yard.

Despite clearly having increased the intensity, while enjoying two-thirds of the possession, the Hammers were still struggling to get on terms and that was borne out in frustrating bookings for Souček – his seventh of the season  - for a challenge on Richarlison, while Lingard also saw yellow for dissent.

With Andriy Yarmolenko replacing the luckless Benrahma, West Ham still pressed while Allan was then cautioned for an over-zealous chop on the battered Bowen before one-time Hammers target Josh King stepped from the bench as Richarlison retired.

And the newly-arrived substitute almost made an instant impact when he nodded Calvert-Lewin’s clever chip onto Fabiański’s left-hand post with just seconds of his arrival.

Although the Hammers survived that one, with the clock frantically ticking down, they just could not muster anything at the other end to rescue a point.

Now with trips to Brighton & Hove Albion and West Bromwich Albion ahead of a final Sunday, Southampton showdown at London Stadium, where 10,000 fans are scheduled to be welcomed back, Moyes will know that – after an unlikely yet unforgettable campaign - there can be no further margin for error if he is to realise that dream of bringing European football to the East End next season.

West Ham United: Fabiański, Diop, Dawson, Cresswell (Fredericks 59), Coufal, Fornals, Souček, Lanzini (Bowen 43), Lingard, Benrahma (Yarmolenko 72), Antonio. Unused subs: Randolph, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Johnson, Odubeko, Coventry.

Everton: Pickford, Digne, Coleman, Godfrey, Keane, Mina (Holgate 62), Allan, Sigurdsson (Delph 85), Davies, Richarlison (King 83), Calvert-Lewin. Unused subs: Olsen, Doucouré, Iwobi, Nkounkou, Bernard, Gomes.

Bookings: Souček (72), Lingard (74), Allan (76).

Referee: Stuart Attwell 

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