Everton dominate West Ham

Leave a comment

Everton dominated West Ham United and beat them 2-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday, as the pressure eased on Marco Silva.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Bernard gave them an early lead and although the Toffees missed several glorious chances after that, Gylfi Sigurdsson sealed the win in stoppage time with a magnificent strike.

With the win Everton move on to 10 points for the season, while West Ham remain on 12 points.


3 things we learned

1. Everton dig deep and fight for Silva: The Toffees were told by Silva ahead of this match that it was a ‘must win’ in their season. My goodness, did they take those words to heart. Silva’s side fought hard from the start, tracking back and pressing West Ham out of the game. They should have won by three or four but a victory after four-straight PL defeats is exactly what Silva wanted. Great reaction after a tough few weeks as they set the tone and there was a renewed sense of urgency. With games against Brighton, Norwich, Saints, Tottenham and Leicester coming up, Everton need three wins from their next five, at least, to get themselves fully back on track. This was a good start.

2. Hammers attack lackluster: Sebastien Haller had an off-day and the way West Ham’s attack is set up around him, that was bad news for the Hammers. Felipe Anderson and Pablo Fornals were woeful and the introduction of Andriy Yarmolenko only improved things slightly. Back-to-back defeats to Crystal Palace and Everton has seen most of West Ham’s early-season optimism evaporate. Now it is Manuel Pellegrini who will be under pressure.

3. Neither team ready for top seven: Everton were wasteful and West Ham were shaky at the back, as neither team looks ready to push for a top seven finish this season. Leicester, Wolves and even Crystal Palace look better set, right now, to push for European qualification but there’s no doubt Everton and West Ham have the quality to be in the top 10. Taking that next step will be the toughest part.

Man of the Match: Theo Walcott – His energy on the flank epitomized this Everton display as he hit the bar and came close to scoring. Walcott was fired up and along with Bernard and Richarlison, Everton’s attack was dynamic and didn’t allow West Ham to settle.


The Hammers started slowly as Manuel Lanzini curled a free kick wide and Everton flew out of the traps.

Angelo Ogbonna deflected Theo Walcott’s curling shot wide as the Toffees attack looked lively, and Tom Davies was then denied in superb fashion. A corner to the back post found the Englishman but Roberto somehow clawed away his effort.

Moments later Roberto was beaten, as Bernard wriggled free in the box, looked to be going nowhere but somehow snuck home an audacious effort at the near post to put Everton 1-0 up.

Richarlison then struck the foot of the post after Alex Iwobi‘s perfect through ball as the Toffees were rampant in the first half. West Ham were reduced to long balls over the top as Pablo Fornals almost got on the end of one of those.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Andriy Yarmolenko came on at half time to try and give the Hammers some momentum in attack.

Yerry Mina‘s tame header was saved by Roberto, while at the other end Fornals volleyed wide after a poor clearance from Jordan Pickford.

Lucas Digne sent a free kick wide then Roberto denied another Mina header as Everton pushed for a second. Walcott smashed an effort from distance off the crossbar and Yarmolenko’s free kick was saved by Pickford as the Hammers barely threatened.

Iwobi then missed a glorious chance to seal the victory as Djibril Sidibe played him in but the Nigerian forward hit his shot right at Roberto as the home fans couldn’t believe it. Moments later Mina headed home a corner but the referee blew his whistle for a foul in the box, and then Walcott’s cross was somehow deflected over by a combination of Issa Diop and Roberto.

Pickford came up big for Everton with a fine save late on as Ogbonna’s shot deflected off Mina and the England goalkeeper somehow pushed the ball away.

Then substitute Sigurdsson fired home a fine strike from distance to cap off a fine performance from Everton.

Cruzeiro relegated from Brazilian top flight for first time

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Brazilian side Cruzeiro was relegated from the top flight for the first time in the club’s 98-year history following a 2-0 defeat to Palmeiras on the final day of the season.

Cruzeiro required victory and a loss by Ceara at Botafogo to stay safely in the Brazilian Serie A, but neither came to pass.

Palmeiras midfielder Ze Rafael scored in the 58th minute to send the visitors on their way, with fellow midfielder Dudu finished things off in the 84th minute. Referees ushered the players off the field immediately after the conclusion of the match as Cruzeiro fans rioted in the Mineirao stadium, ripping out seats, setting off smoke bombs, and clashing with police.

Cruzeiro finished 17th in the 20-team table, three points back of Ceara in 16th. In the Brazilian top flight, the bottom four teams are relegated. CSA, Chapecoense, and Avai were also relegated. Cruzeiro had won the Brazilian Serie A as recently as 2013 and 2014, winning four titles in its history. They also have six Copa do Brasil titles, most recently winning the league cup in 2017 and 2018.

Flamengo ran away with the championship, finishing on 90 points, 16 points clear of second-placed Santos and third-placed Palmeiras who both finished level on 74 points. Palmeiras had challenged for the title, but fell off at the end of the season with a five-match winless run through November.

Premier League Preview: West Ham United v. Arsenal

Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Two struggling London sides meet Monday when West Ham United hosts Arsenal (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The sides might’ve expected they’d be within close proximity at this point on the fixture list, but two wildly disappointing seasons means the three points between the Gunners and Irons comes with the former in 11th and the latter 16th.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

It’s been nine matches since Arsenal beat someone, 11 since it happened in the Premier League. West Ham hasn’t been much better, winning once in its last 10.

Freddie Ljungberg has yet to win as Arsenal interim boss, while West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini could see his current stint in London end without more results like the Nov. 30 win at Chelsea.

Monday versus Arsenal would qualify.


Injuries/suspensions

West Ham United: OUT —  Jack Wilshere, Lukasz Fabianski, Manuel Lanzini, Winston Reid. QUESTIONABLE — Michail Antonio.

Arsenal: OUT — Dani Ceballos. QUESTIONABLE — Rob Holding.


Probable lineups

West Ham United: Martin; Cresswell, Ogbonna, Balbuena, Fredericks; Rice, Noble, Yarmolenko, Anderson, Snodgrass, Haller.

Arsenal: Leno; Kolasinac, Sokratis, Luiz, Bellerin, Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil, Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette.


What they’re saying

West Ham’s Antonio sees an opportunity: “The only three teams that are really performing are Liverpool, Leicester and Man City. Everyone else is getting beaten, and it means we’ve had a missed opportunity so far this season. We started the season off brightly, the best start we’ve had for four years, but then we’ve had a slump. Everyone’s having a slump and this is our slump. Now it’s time for us to start turning up. We’ve been in this situation before and we know how to dig in and pull ourselves up again.”

Arsenal’s Ljungberg on setting targets: “I don’t think we should stop talking about the top four, but for us it’s about concentrating on what we’re doing here now and not look up, down, sideways. We just need to work on our own game and our own confidence.”


Prediction

Really, you wouldn’t want to predict anything from these sides right now besides goals. We’ll give an edge in desperation to the hosts and a 2-2 draw.

La Liga: Sevilla held at Osasuna, Getafe maintains UCL fight

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sevilla was held to a 1-1 draw at 10-man Osasuna on Sunday, giving both Real Madrid and Barcelona space at the top of the La Liga table.

Munir El Haddadi put the visitors 1-0 up just 11 minutes in, but Ezequiel Avila struck just before halftime to share the points. Sevilla was held to just two total shots through the opening 45 minutes, and despite Osasuna defender Oier Olazabal being shown a second yellow card with 29 minutes to go, Sevilla still managed just 11 total efforts through the 90 minutes, with four on target.

Getafe continued its battle for a top four spot as they won 1-0 on the road at Eibar. Angel Rodriguez bagged his eighth goal of the season to secure the win, cropping up in the 67th minute to finally put Getafe through. They had been turning the screw for some time, forcing Marko Dmitrovic into a pair of big saves just before the opener which came from an absurdly tight angle after Angel had rounded the goalkeeper. The win leaves them fourth, level with Real Sociedad on 27 points.

They were allowed to close the gap after Real Sociedad was held scoreless in a 0-0 draw at 14th placed Real Valladolid. The visitors put just two of their 14 shots on net, and dropped to fifth thanks to Getafe holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Athletic Club also fell back in the race for a top four spot, dropping a 3-2 decision on the road at Real Betis. Joaquin scored a first-half hat-trick, with all three goals coming in the opening 20 minutes to give him five in his last three games. Inaki Williams brought Athletic Bilbao one back before halftime from the spot, and Yuri Berchiche made things interesting with a minute to go, but that was all they could muster as the visitors fell to sixth on 26 points, above Atletico Madrid on goal differential with the two yet to play head-to-head.

Celta Vigo made it interesting as Iago Aspas scored a man-down goal, but Leganes held on for a 3-2 win over the 10-man visitors. Oscar Rodriguez had a first-half brace to help the hosts to a 3-0 lead, but Nestor Araujo and Aspas helped Celta Vigo make things interesting. Still, a 71st minute second yellow card for halftime substitute Gabriel Fernandez hampered the visitors in their efforts for a comeback, leaving Celta Vigo in the relegation zone, a point back of safety, with Leganes is four points behind them in 19th.

Gerrard reacts to Rangers’ Old Firm heartbreak in final

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Steven Gerrard lined his Rangers side up for success, but fate was cruel to the Liverpool legend.

Rangers lost the League Cup Final to their Old Firm rivals on Sunday despite out-shooting the Bhoys by a 16-5 margin, winning a penalty, and playing almost a half-hour up a man.

[ RECAP: Rangers 0-1 Celtic ]

“To a man we were very good … by much the better side,” Gerrard said. “But unfortunately that’s not what gets you a trophy.”

But Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster stopped Alfredo Morelos’ penalty, three minutes after goal scorer Christopher Jullien was offside on the lone goal of the game.

Scotland doesn’t yet use VAR, and Gerrard doesn’t love VAR but he likes it more than he likes Scottish officials.

“There were three Celtic players standing in offside positions but unfortunately we play in a country where there is no VAR,” he said, via the BBC. “I’d be a liar if I said I was 100% in favour of it, but the one thing I do know is that officials up here need support.”

Now he has the task of getting his men to rebound ahead of its biggest non-derby in ages, as Rangers need at least a draw against Young Boys at home on Thursday to advance to the Europa League knockout rounds

“It’s a bit raw right now… It’s up to me to pick the players up. One thing I will say is I’ll stay with these players on the evidence of today because they gave me absolutely everything. We might have to suffer a bit short-term. I need to pick them up a bit physically and mentally for Thursday which is huge but our day will come on the evidence of today.”

Gerrard has done a very good job with Rangers, who are two points back of Celtic in a two-horse race for the Scottish top flight title. Celtic has won eight-straight titles to improve their total to 50, four less than the Rangers.