We came into this hoping to extend our much needed unbeaten run to 3 games and possibly secure our premier league status with a win, if other results go the right way. Everton are chasing down Man U for a place in Europe, so we have a game both sides need to win.
West Ham had to make some enforced changes due to injury’s and suspensions. Nordveit came in for Noble, Edmilson Fernandez for Antonio, and Calleri for Andy Carroll. Masuaku was left in the team with Cresswell on the bench. One final change was one I have been proposing for a while, which was Adrian coming back in for Randolph. Randolph did well when he first (rightly so) was introduced to the starting line up. But he has been a bit sloppy for the last month, and seems to concede goals on his near post a few too many times for me. For Everton, Lukaku was playing, which usually against us is enough.
What was noticeable straight away, was that with Nordveit playing in the holding role, Kouyate went further forward and as a team we defended further up the pitch. This is interesting because this doesn’t happen when Noble is playing. Just saying. Also saying Nordveit has never remotely impressed me, but yesterday he just did his job, and was OK. His tackling has improved a lot, and maybe a little run in the team if he can keep it up will keep Noble fresh. Calleri and Ayew were both chasing down their defenders, which is tricky to do when Carroll is on his own. All this meant a limited service to Lukaku, which was useful. That said both Ginge and Reid were both immense and were quick to close things down. My gut feel is this was due to them getting more time between tackles as we defended everywhere.
This sounds like Everton were all over us. They weren’t. Koeman would of been very disappointed in his team yesterday. The were quick enough out of the blocks but had no creativity and we controlled the midfield to stop the supply, and they just kept at it to no avail. A bit like Swansea in our last home game.
We had a couple of free kicks and a couple of shots go wide, but all in all, it was what it says on the tin, a 0-0 draw. More entertaining than most, but for me the point was the important thing.
We do seem to be getting better as a team, and I have noticed there are some good relationships happening on the pitch. Masuaku and Lanzini, Kouyate and Ayew, it’s all very encouraging for next year. Talking of which, Slaven. He has to stay no question. we have moved ground, lost our alleged best player, and had a shit run of injuries all season. And throughout this, Slaven has been class personified and kept his head where others might have lost theirs. Yes he is stubborn, and plays people out of position, but maybe these last few games have stopped that.
One last point about team selection. If Sahko is fit, then he starts in front of Calleri. The lad is a trier but isn’t really cutting it at this level.
With Swansea and Hull winning, we need to lose 3 games and both of them need to win 3 for us to go down. So not impossible, but:
Saturday 29th April 2017
Friday 5th May 2017
Sunday 14th May 2017
Sunday 21st May 2017
This is not a great run in. OR a draw against Stoke next week , puts us clear of trouble if either the Swans or Hull lose and it doesn’t matter . Personally I think we are clear, as do the bookies, putting us at 80/1.
MOTM again was Ginge, who always seems to play well at this time of the season.