David Moyes’s men were put to the sword 2-1 by Olympiacos in Thursday’s continental affair, while the Toffees – who are mourning the loss of chairman Bill Kenwright – most recently bowed to Liverpool’s superiority in the Merseyside derby.
A venomous volley from Lucas Paqueta would have been worthy of winning any match, but unfortunately for West Ham, the Brazilian’s fine strike against Olympiacos on Thursday only came after they had succumbed to a pair of first-half goals in Piraeus, as their 17-game unbeaten European run was finally broken.
Konstantinos Fortounis’s stellar solo drive broke the deadlock before Rodinei’s cross perplexed Angelo Ogbonna and Alphonse Areola, the former of whom stuck a leg out in an attempt to clear the danger but only succeeded in diverting the ball into his own net.
Paqueta’s 87th-minute effort came too late for West Ham to spark a last-gasp turnaround, condemning David Moyes’s troops to successive defeats after a 4-1 humbling at the hands of Aston Villa in their most recent Premier League game, where Moyes admitted that the Lions were on a different level to his beleaguered charges.
A 2-2 draw with Newcastle United has also contributed to the Irons’ three-game winless run, which has bumped them down to ninth place in the table at the time of writing, and they could be demoted into the bottom half depending on Crystal Palace and Chelsea’s derby results versus Tottenham Hotspur and Brentford respectively.
Despite the overriding disappointment from Thursday’s European beating, Paqueta’s consolation at least continued West Ham’s streak of scoring in all of their competitive games since the 2023-24 season commenced, and each of the Irons’ 14 Premier League home contests this term has seen Moyes’s side make the net bulge.
Having experienced their fair share of contentious officiating decisions going against them recently, Liverpool would have had little sympathy when bitter foes Everton fell victim to a questionable call during last Saturday’s derby, although there could have been few complaints about Ashley Young’s first-half dismissal.
However, Jurgen Klopp admitted that his side had lady luck on their side when a booked Ibrahima Konate avoided a second yellow for stopping Beto in his tracks, allowing the Reds boss to quickly substitute the Frenchman before Mohamed Salah’s brace settled an otherwise tame affair.
Both Jarrad Branthwaite and Sean Dyche pulled no punches as they lambasted Craig Pawson’s decision to keep Konate on the field, although a 10-man Everton could pat themselves on the back for their efforts on enemy territory, but pats on the back do not put points on the board.
Remaining dangerously close to the dotted line in 16th place, Everton are only separated from 18th-placed Burnley via a three-point gap, although the relegation zone awaits if reports of an imminent 12-point deduction for breaching profit and sustainability rules are to be believed.
Everton left the London Stadium with all three points as recently as May 2021, but West Ham have since come up trumps in three of the last four showdowns between the two clubs, and a brace from Jarrod Bowen in January’s 2-0 beating put the final nail in Frank Lampard’s Toffees coffin.
West Ham United Premier League form:
West Ham United form (all competitions):
Everton Premier League form:
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We say: West Ham United 2-1 Everton
A long journey home from a morale-depleting Europa League defeat will no doubt hamper West Ham’s preparations for Sunday’s match, although recalls for several fresh-legged players should negate the negative effects of Thursday’s affair.
If last weekend’s somewhat unjust defeat is anything to go by, Everton should still pose a threat against a permeable Irons backline despite their off-field distractions, but Moyes’s side are yet to draw a blank in a 2023 Premier League home match, and we have faith in the Europa Conference League winners to get back on track.