Deadly Duo Lanzini And Arnautovic Strike Again And Four Other Main Talking Points From Closing Toffees Victory
David Moyes’ West Ham United signed off the 2017/2018 Premier League season in style at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon, defeating Sam Allardyce’s Everton 3-1 thanks to goals from deadly duo Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic, Oumar Niasse providing a consolation for the visitors in the latter stages, here are Five Main Talking Points from the one-sided encounter.
Lanzini And Arnautovic Prove Deadly Duo Once More In Season Finale
Not for the first time this season, when attackers Lanzini and Arnautovic played together in East London yesterday, they delivered, and then some, combining excellently throughout the game and both getting on the scoresheet.
Unlike last Thursday’s goalless draw with Manchester United, the Hammers had much more joy in front of goal, the Argentine bagging a brace and the Austrian pitching in with one, much like in the January away thrashing of Huddersfield Town in the league, a similar performance and result.
The pair were both involved in the East Londoners opener Arnautovic dummying the ball for Lanzini to have a free run at defender Ramiro Funes Mori and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford on the edge of the area, finishing well with his weaker foot.
While they continued to create chances for each other all afternoon, the hosts’ second and third goals were more individual efforts, Arnautovic smashing home past Pickford from range in ferocious style, after an Edimilson Fernandes pass.
And, Lanzini curling into the far top corner from outside the box inside the final ten minutes in the wake of a long ball forward from Pablo Zabaleta. With Lanzini slotting in behind the lone forward Arnautovic, these players have formed a highly-exciting new partnership, a tantalising prospect for the future for members of the Claret & Blue Army.
Mixed Emotions For Two Gaffers Facing their Former Clubs
The season-ending clash was always going to be an emotionally-charged affair for the two managers, Moyes coming up against the team that he was in charge of for 11 years between 2002 and 2013 and Allardyce facing a side that he managed between 2011 and 2015.
The latter of those names got West Ham back into the promised land of the Premier League following their relegation to the Championship during the 2010/2011 campaign, and the former led the Toffees to consistent top-six finishes, an FA Cup final and even the UEFA Champions League.
Moyes and Allardyce have also met an abundance of times throughout their lengthy managerial career and going into this particular matchup, the Hammers gaffer had the better record of the two, something that would continue at London Stadium.
Despite the win and leading the team from a relegation battle to a mid-table finish after taking over from Allardyce’s successor Slaven Bilic, Moyes’ future is still not yet known as his short-term contract is now up, rumours are suggesting that he won’t be offered a new one.
While Allardyce, who was continually booed by both the home fans and the away supporters all afternoon, is in a similar boat, albeit he does have a little longer on his contract than Moyes does. This game and its outcome could well have gone a long way to deciding the fate of the two veterans of football management.
Niasse Consolation Strike Only Positive On Miserable Afternoon For Toffees
If there was one positive for Allardyce his Toffeemen to take back home to Merseyside on what was a day to forget for them, it surely came in the form of striker Niasse’s late goal to make the scoreline 2-1, a stroke of brilliance from the Senegalese.
A 74th-minute corner, which Niasse helped to win by forcing Adrian San-Miguel to save his shot against the post with his face, was pinballing around the penalty box with a series of looping headers and failed to be cleared by the home defence.
The ball fell to the prolific forward with his back to goal, turning and taking a touch to smash past Adrian from close-range, the shot-stopper given no chance by the wonderful piece of skill and execution.
Everton were hoping that it would spark some kind of comeback, but it did very little in that respect, although Niasse and his teammate Walcott both had opportunities to pull another goal back after Lanzini had restored West Ham’s two-goal lead.
However, this time, the outstanding Adrian had other ideas, producing a sensational double-save to keep the both of them out, Walcott also having a goal chalked off for offside moments earlier, it just wasn’t the visitors’ day, try as they might, being overpowered in every department by a dominant display from the hosts.
Irons Miss Out On Top Half Despite Climbing Two Places While Blue Cling Onto Eighth
Let’s take a look at what this result meant for the closing Premier League table and how both teams finished in the final standings, with extra prize money and prestige at stake for both the Irons and the Blues if they could produce the performance they wanted.
Ultimately, the home side claimed all three points in emphatic style and it was a nice bonus for them to end a rocky campaign on and the victory could have been enough to steal a place in the top half of the table, if the results went their way.
However, they didn’t with Newcastle United, AFC Bournemouth and Crystal Palace’s wins meaning that West Ham only climbed two places from 15th to 13th, ending the campaign on 42 points, winning two of their final three matches and remaining unbeaten in them.
Meanwhile, the Blue Boys of Merseyside knew that a defeat may see them fall a single position back down to ninth on the final day, although for that to happen, Leicester City would have to claim an unlikely triumph over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.
They so very nearly did, losing 5-4 in the end, Everton staying two points in front of the Foxes, as a result, and managing to hold on to eighth place, a mere five points off Burnley in a European spot, an excellent end result for two clubs that were embroiled in a relegation battle at some point or other during the term.
What Did The Managers Have To Say?
Let’s take a look at what both managers Moyes and Allardyce had to say in their respective post-match press conferences at London Stadium, which West Ham Matters had the privilege of being in and reporting from for one final time this season.
“I tell you what, it came very close (to our best performance) how good the performance was today. We played really well with the ball but, I thought there were signs at Leicester.
“I thought there were signs against Manchester United. I think the players are improving.
“When I go back to when I took over and how I was trying to get results by hook or by crook.
“I think today it certainly looks much more structured and we’ve got a way of playing, so they were very good today, the players.”
“Did they want it more? Who got the better chances? I thought we did, I thought Adrian saved them.
“I think because Adrian was so good today, with the clear-cut chances that we hadn’t have missed because of his outstanding piece of goalkeeping, we could have easily acquired a draw.
“But, I think the quality of West Ham’s goals, the two in the second half, was ultimately the difference and Adrian by the saves that he made, us trying to get back into the game, you know.
“We changed our system at half-time got control of the game better, got more opportunities to attack West Ham, but didn’t take advantage of it and then they punished us with two very, very good goals.”
So, now that everything there was to talk about from the Hammers saving one of their best team displays of the season to last has been well and truly covered, will there be yet more positive points to draw on come the start of the 2018/2019 PL season? You will have to join us once again in a few months to find out.
If you want to read more about David Moyes’ West Ham United’s Premier League season-ending victory over Sam Allardyce’s Everton, you can, check out the archives of our Live Blog, which we brought live to you from the London Stadium Press Box throughout Sunday afternoon, our Match Report and our Hammers Player Ratings, simply click on the links.