Everton 1 West Ham United 3
The early season woes that surrounded Manuel Pellegrini and West Ham United felt like a trick of the mind as a first Premier League win of the season arrived with an assured, composed and confident triumph at Everton. It was pretty bubbles indeed for the West Ham manager and his travelling support as their losing streak was brought to a shuddering halt.
Andriy Yarmolenko struck twice for his new club and the tireless Marko Arnautovic added a third as the visitors inflicted the first defeat of Marco Silva's Everton tenure. The hosts were weak throughout but, even accounting for several notable absentees in the Everton ranks, West Ham brushed them aside in a manner that showed four consecutive losses from the start of the season had left no lasting damage on team morale.
Pellegrini was presented with an overdue display of incisiveness and commitment from West Ham on his 65th birthday. An aimless and error-strewn Everton performance was an extra birthday treat. Silva’s team started crisply but, in the absence of the suspended Richarlison, they struggled to cut through the visiting defence and were soon gripped by anxiety. Yarmolenko was in the mood to punish the catalogue of mistakes that followed.
The Ukraine international was one of six changes made by the West Ham manager in the wake of the alarming home defeat by Wolves before the international break. His full debut was marked by two first-half goals that sent the vociferous travelling support into raptures, and no doubt disbelief given what they have witnessed previously this season.
Yarmolenko helped Dynamo Kyiv dismantle Everton in a Europa League tie during Roberto Martinez's tenure and was also a transfer target for the Goodison Park club before moving to Borussia Dortmund. The 28-year-old gave Everton further cause for regret when capitalising on a series of errors from the home team in the early stages. Cenk Tosun was easily brushed off the ball by Fabian Balbuena as they challenged for an Idrissa Gueye pass deep in the West Ham half. Pedro Obiang then released Arnautovic clear of a disorganised Everton defence – one missing Séamus Coleman, Yerry Mina, Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane through injury – and the Austria international selflessly squared with only Jordan Pickford to beat for Yarmolenko to convert from close range.
Everton were static, careless and posed minimal threat as they served a reminder that last season's failings will not be eradicated easily. They were two goals in arrears when Pickford added to the litany of unforced mistakes that undermined his team's afternoon. The England goalkeeper was under no pressure when he pinged a clearance straight to visiting captain Mark Noble with his own defence exposed. Noble released Yarmolenko on the right and the winger was invited to cut inside by Kurt Zouma, duly accepted, and curled an unstoppable finish beyond Pickford. Everton's keeper punched the pitch in frustration, as well he might.
It was only when Silva changed Everton’s shape to match West Ham’s three man midfield that the home side improved. Summer signing Bernard replaced Morgan Schneiderlin, playing the day after the death of his father, and improved the energy and distribution from the home midfield immediately.
Seconds before the break Gylfi Sigurdsson rose impressively to head Jonjoe Kenny’s inviting cross beyond Lukasz Fabianski and Everton were back in the game and spared the half-time jeers. Tosun should have done so earlier when Lucas Digne’s cross found him unmarked in the area but, at full stretch, he headed tamely at Fabianski. The West Ham keeper also saved from Theo Walcott’s volley in what was a rare moment of danger for the visitors.
The timing of Sigurdsson’s goal offered unexpected hope to Everton and a test of West Ham’s fragile confidence. Other than an optimistic penalty claim when Sigurdsson was shouldered aside by the influential Obiang, however, the prospect of a comeback was remote. It became non-existent when Arnautovic restored West Ham’s two-goal advantage just after the hour mark.
Once again, Everton applied minimal pressure on the ball as Obiang twice exchanged passes with the lone striker – despite having five royal blue shirts around him on the edge of the area. The midfielder’s second ball was perfectly weighted behind Everton’s central defence for Arnautovic to convert under the exposed Pickford.
Tosun missed another good chance from eight yards out following Dominic Calvert-Lewin's run into the area while the Turkish striker's replacement, Oumar Niasse, volleyed against the crossbar from Digne's superb delivery. There would be no denying West Ham a belated and well-deserved first Premier League win. Slowly, they are adapting to Pellegrini's methods.