It was a long trip home for West Ham fans. They, and former boss Sam Allardyce, witnessed their team crash to a 4-0 defeat thanks to Wayne Rooney hat-trick at Goodison Park. The result has sparked renewed fears of relegation. Look away now Hammers, here are five things we learned from Wednesdays match.
West Ham’s performance last night leaves them two points adrift of West Brom, and mired in the relegation zone. Last night was an excellent chance to pick up vital points ahead of a difficult run of fixtures. Everton had been in poor form, but were made to look like title contenders by the Hammers. If West Ham cannot beat teams like Everton, or at least make a game of it, then relegation surely threatens.
Everton themselves will be bolstered by the result. They now sit five points clear of the bottom three. Moreover, their goal difference took a healthy boost last night ahead of Sam Allardyce’s (eventual) appointment as the new manager. Hopefully yesterday will galvanise the team to match the optimism present at the beginning of the season.
More worrying for West Ham fans is their side’s apparent lack of luck. Manuel Lanzini had a chance to get West Ham back into the game from the penalty spot, but saw his effort saved by Jordan Pickford. Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney’s penalty rebounded favourably, whilst he also benefited from a poor clearance from Hart for his spectacular third. Looking back to the weekend, Andre Ayew narrowly missed an opportunity to win the game in the dying moments. Obviously, there is truth in saying that teams make their own luck, but West Ham’s misfortune will leave them short of confidence.
Wayne Rooney’s performance, meanwhile, will have delighted Everton fans. Rooney’s hattrick, capped by a goal from the halfway line, brought back memories of him as an emerging young striker. Now back at Everton, Rooney showed his new manager that he can be relied upon. Allardyce has always relied upon a strong leader in midfield, usually Kevin Nolan, and Rooney made an excellent case to be given that role in the new set up. That player-manager combination will be one to watch for the season.
On another note, Rooney has now scored 14 league goals against West Ham. That is more than any other player.
David Moyes’ side failed to register a shot for 52 minutes of the game. An improved second half performance was ultimately masked by the final score. Coupled with the last game against Leicester, and before that Watford, this is a worrying trend. A team short on confidence need to try and seize games from the beginning to build momentum. West Ham appear incapable of doing that. Moreover, there will be few such chances against coming opposition, with the Hammers facing Manchester City at the weekend.
Sam Allardyce watched from the stands before taking over Everton, whilst David Moyes oversaw his third game in charge. Allardyce may or may not have had an immediate effect. Caretaker David Unsworth picked the team, but the players may have been incentivised to prove something to their new boss. Allardyce’s presence could be enough to change things for Everton.
Moyes, however, still awaits his first win as West Ham manager. With the negativity around the club still growing, wins need to come before West Ham awake in a crisis. With a difficult December though, there is little chance of an improvement. There is a real problem for West Ham now, who simply cannot afford to drop into the Championship.