Lukaku proves to be thorn in Hammers' flesh

Nov 05, 2016, 05:56

Everton are unbeaten at home in the league this term, winning two and sharing the spoils twice but Koeman has got a long way to go to turning Goodison into a fortress.

Slaven Bilic rued West Ham's inability to capitalise on a bright start as they were beaten 2-0 by Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday.

West Ham lie 16th in the table after 10 matches, one point above fourth-bottom Stoke City, who entertain relegation zone incumbents Swansea City on Monday. Everton, still flattering themselves they are hanging on to a European position, are nearly mirror opposites. It was always hard to come back against them.

West Ham were still in the game though and Everton defender Ashley Williams was brushed aside too easily by Michail Antonio before Robles spared his blushes with a decent stop. The blue revolution appears to have stalled.

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Lukaku was unlucky not to double his tally late on with a fine volley from another Coleman raid on the right that was beaten away by Adrian while Everton also felt they should have had a stoppage-time penalty when Idrissa Gueye was halted in the box. Barry was unquestionably a good acquisition by the otherwise under-appreciated Roberto Martínez and is still worth his place in the side, though his continued prominence points to the fact that so far Koeman has not achieved much of a shake-up.

Everton are a bit like a sprint hurdler who made an unbelievable start, but then crashed into the first hurdle.

The goal was Lukaku's ninth in as many games against West Ham and it shook the Hammers as Barkley nearly made it two soon after with an effort that flew just wide.

Yannick Bolasie's determination to reach the deflection and flick it across to the waiting Belgium striker was all Everton needed to take the lead. "I don't know, we can hope", Koeman said.

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"We need to turn it around".

But the Hammers midfielder's shot failed to trouble stand-in stopper Joel Robles in the Everton goal.

There was a standing ovation when Barkley was substituted near the end, and Koeman praised the 22-year-old's performance, saying: "It was one of his best of this season". The tactical withdrawal at Sunderland was an early shot across Barkley's bows and, when Everton went on to a handsome victory without him, Koeman appeared to have exercised flawless judgment. West Ham are on a high and will be confident in their ability to score, especially with a rejuvenated Dimitri Payet in their ranks.

Eden Hazard has already equalled his goal tally from last season (four in 31 games) from just nine appearances this season. They were unlucky in defeat to Burnley, but that run of results has undone a lot of their earlier good work.

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West Ham haven't won back-to-back league games against Everton since March 1973. But there is only one statistic that matters and it did not fall in Everton's favour.

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