Benitez bounce over as Everton slip to 1-0 defeat at Goodison

Everton (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images) /

Everton fell to their first home defeat of the Premier League season as they lost 1-0 to West Ham on Sunday as the early fine home form came to an end.

The Hammers won to repeat their one-goal success over Everton last season. So was that result yesterday just a blip or something more worrying?

Last season’s loss to West Ham was the first in a run of terrible results at Goodison Park that ultimately cost the Blues any chance of European football. Let’s not repeat that this campaign!

In truth the Toffees probably didn’t do enough overall to deserve a win on Sunday, although had Alex Iwobi not missed a sitter they would have got at least a point.

Salomon Rondon also missed out on a good chance and the South American centre-forward is still looking for his first goal in a royal blue shirt. There were a few other half-chances but not much really from the home side.

Yesterday, the Blues lack of a cutting edge finally came back to haunt them as neither Andros Townsend or the again lively Demarai Gray were able to find a goal. The team can’t rely on both of the new signings scoring all the time.

The absence of the still missing Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison due to this team’s remakable injury curse, is proving a massive problem, but then it would be to nearly any team losing both their first-choice international strikers.

Still, the Blues could perhaps have got something from the game but too many players were off the boil and West Ham were strong and solid defensively.

Benitez picked the team most would have expected with the returning Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne starting at full-back. Yerry Mina wasn’t deemed able to play from the start after just getting back from South America and so Ben Godfrey played centre-back alongside a solid Michael Keane.

The only other selection decision was whether Iwobi or Anthony Gordon would start on the left wing. Benitez choose the ex-Arsenal man bringing Gordon on for him late in the game.

The visitors dominated the opening forty-five minutes but didn’t really create much and it was a pretty sterile first half of football.

In the second half, the match continued along similar lines and neither side really looked like scoring before following a controversial corner after what looked a foul on Jordan Pickford, Angelo Ogbonna headed what proved to be the only goal.

Everton couldn’t respond and created very little with the Hammers defence holding firm to secure all three points for David Moyes to take back to east London.

Sometimes these sorts of games happen particularly to teams that lack enough strength in depth and it’s obviously too early to make any longer-term conclusions, but too many key players were below par yesterday and there was a lack of creativity, pace and penetration.

It reminded me a lot of the sort of home performances that we saw far too often last season.

I don’t think the side this season will start performing that badly at the Grand Old Lady but the reminders of how much surgery this squad still needs were once more there to see. Surely some January moves have to be made to strengthen this threadbare squad?

So, again it’s important the team find a way to respond as they did against Norwich City after the Villa defeat. And they have the perfect chance to do so as they host another struggling side Watford on Saturday. Hopefully both Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison will be back.