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Relief for Marco Silva as Everton beat West Ham for a much-needed win

Goals from Bernard and Sigurdsson secure victory at Goodison as coach admires performance of 'quality'

Bernard, right, celebrates after scoring Everton's first goal in the 2-0 win over West Ham United. AP Photo
Bernard, right, celebrates after scoring Everton's first goal in the 2-0 win over West Ham United. AP Photo

Marco Silva needed this. It was victory and vindication. “Pressure has to be a pleasure and a privilege for us,” said the Everton manager, but he is now under less of it.

His side ended a four-game losing run, extricated themselves from the relegation zone and, at times, eviscerated West Ham in a manner to make their recent wretched results appear a figment of the imagination.

This was a 2-0 thrashing, a performance so emphatic as to prove Silva’s charges are still playing for him and featuring the kind of entertaining, expansive football he likes.

“We embraced the game and the challenge,” Silva said. “It is important to talk about the way we played. It was a very good performance with quality football.”

West Ham were dismal, but that should not detract from Everton’s excellence or the success of Silva’s blueprint. The Portuguese made five changes and while three were enforced, he dropped Everton’s record signing. Gylfi Sigurdsson came off the bench to add a stylish second goal in injury time but Everton were more vibrant and dynamic without him. At a time when his decision-making was under particular scrutiny, Silva was rewarded for his boldness.

“I know what I’m doing,” he said. Silva picked a front four who are all wingers by trade. Two combined for the breakthrough. Theo Walcott found Bernard who, in a twisting, turning run, seemed to have taken the wrong option for evading Arthur Masuaku and slipping a shot under Bernard.

It was the first time since September 1 that anyone other than Dominic Calvert-Lewin had scored for Everton. The luckless striker was benched but Everton were more fluid without him. “The movement in our offensive organisation was very good,” Silva said. “They understood where the space was.”

Richarlison led the line in Calvert-Lewin’s stead and ran West Ham ragged. He was a catalyst as struck the woodwork three times and had two goals chalked off.

The elusive Brazilian clipped the outside of the post and volleyed in Lucas Digne’s cross, only to be ruled offside. The impressive Walcott rattled the bar from 20 yards and had a shot deflected on to the upright. Yerry Mina also had a goal ruled out. Alex Iwobi, sent scurrying clear on goal by Djibril Sidibe, was thwarted by Roberto.

The goalkeeper was alone in excelling for the visitors. He denied Tom Davies an early opener with a point-blank block, though the lifelong Evertonian added urgency on a belated first league start of the season. Alongside him, the fit-again Andre Gomes brought incisive distribution from the base of the midfield. “Andre is a key player for us,” Silva added. “It was a very good game from him and Tom as well. The game was always under control. We created so many chances.”

But profligacy could have been costly. West Ham threatened to depart Goodison Park with an undeserved point, with Jordan Pickford making a fine late save from Angelo Ogbonna.

Otherwise, however, they looked shabby and flimsy, making a string of mistakes in defence, being overpowered in midfield and proving ineffective in attack. The only outfield player to emerge in credit was Andriy Yarmolenko, strangely benched and a half-time introduction. “In that moment, if I can make 11 changes, maybe I do,” admitted manager Manuel Pellegrini. “In the first half we didn’t shoot once at goal. Everton dominated the game.”

Their last four matches have brought a 4-0 humiliation at Oxford’s hands, a solitary draw and successive league defeats. “I don’t think it was just one problem,” Pellegrini added. “As a team they played better, they run better and they deserve to win the game.”

Man of the Match: Theo Walcott (Everton)

Updated: October 19, 2019 06:40 PM

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