Goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Arnautovic made for a humiliating home defeat for Everton.
A Gylfi Sigurdsson header just before half-time wasn’t enough to get the Toffees back into the match after they found themselves 2-0 down within 31 minutes, as they slip to tenth in the table. West Ham, for their part, bounce up out of the relegation zone and into 16th.
Here are five things to take away from the match:
Three is the magic number for West Ham
Sticking an extra man in central midfield might seem like an unsophisticated way of solving a porous system, but it worked.
The trio of Declan Rice, Mark Noble, and Pedro Obiang looked far more stable than when Noble has been partnered with Jack Wilshere and it would be no surprise at all to see this formation stick around for the long-term.
Everton’s left-side problem
Playing Dominic Calvert-Lewin as a left-sided attacking midfielder for most of the first half meant that the only width Everton had on that side was through Lucas Digne.
This’d be fine if Everton had anyone else in the team who was filling in for him defensively, but they didn’t. And, as Digne’s recovery run on West Ham’s first goal showed, he isn’t quick enough to cover the entire flank himself.
In fact, Everton had a similar problem on the opposite side as well, except it made even less tactical sense. With Theo Walcott playing wide on the right, Jonjoe Kenny didn’t need to be as high and wide as he often was, and it left Everton vulnerable.
Bernard boost, but holes remained
Bringing on summer signing Bernard just before half-time (an embarrassing moment for Morgan Schneiderlin) pushed Everton into something closer to a 4-4-2 than the 4-2-3-1 they started the match in.
He helped solve the left-sided problem, but it didn’t solve the holes in the middle of the park. Quite often Everton looked like they were playing a 4-1-5, not a good look against a team who decided to play with a three-man central midfield for the first time that season.
Criticism of West Ham’s transfers came too soon
There was a lot of talk in the past week about West Ham’s summer transfer dealings. While Yarmolenko’s goals will have shut that talk up alone, two other signings have gone completely under the radar.
It says something (very good) about West Ham’s apparently new transfer regime that they picked up a 27-year-old from South America and a 21-year-old from France to play at the heart of their defence and they’ve settled in straight away.
Striker talk: Ace Arnautovic and is Tosun ok?
Why did Arnautovic ever play as a winger? Fast, tall, strong: three qualities that central defenders don’t like playing against. Moving him to a striker role might have been the best thing David Moyes did after leaving Everton.
Away from the Austrian, a lot of focus was made in Sky Sports’ commentary about Cenk Tosun’s barren run, and it seemed unfair to mention it with every chance that the striker missed.
Before today’s game, Tosun had already picked up two assists, but there is something worrying in his stats.
When you take into account his shot placement, his expected goals across the first four games of the season drops from 0.87 to 0.36. Sometimes a drop like this can come because a player’s going through an odd streak of shots just missing the target, but Tosun’s shot accuracy of 37.5 percent is a fairly normal level.
Let’s not write him off – his general play is good and Everton generally look a better side with him in the attack – but something about his goalscoring play isn’t quite right.