Monday 18 Oct
Updated Monday 18 Oct 11:00
Opinion

Four things we loved about West Ham United's Premier League win at Everton

Angelo Ogbonna celebrates with Kurt Zouma

 

1. A welcome clean sheet

While West Ham United have kept clean sheets in all three cup ties they have contested this season - two in UEFA Europa League Group H and one in the Carabao Cup third round - shutouts have proved harder to come by in the Premier League.

Sunday's was just the second time in eight top-flight matches that the Hammers have stopped their opponents from scoring.

That was down to a resolute defensive display spearheaded by the back four of full-backs Ben Johnson and Aaron Cresswell and centre-backs Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna.

Between them, the quartet made eleven of the Hammers' 14 clearances, made three important interceptions and blocked two goal-bound shots, strongly protecting Lukasz Fabianski and his goal.

Zouma and Ogbonna, whose partnership is developing quickly following the France international's arrival at the end of August, were also outstanding in possession, completing 116 of their 122 pass for a ridiculous 95% success rate.

The result was a second clean sheet of the Premier League season to add to the one the Hammers achieved at Southampton a month ago, and manager David Moyes will hope it is a habit his players can get into on a more regular basis going forward.

 

2. Consistent Cresswell

Few Premier League players are as underrated as Aaron Cresswell.

For more than seven seasons, the Liverpool-born defender has produced the goods for West Ham United on a consistent basis, whether playing in his usual position at left-back or on the left-hand side of a back three.

Now 31, the one-time Hammer of the Year and England international knows his game as well as anyone in the West Ham squad. 

 

Aaron Cresswell

 

Defensively and offensively, Cresswell's contributions have been hugely important during the Irons' climb from a relegation battle in the summer of 2020 to European football and another challenge for a top-six Premier League finish in the autumn of 2021.

Back in his home city, the No3 was to the fore yet again, making more touches (121), passes (86) and clearances (five) and, perhaps surprisingly, winning more aerial battles (six) than any other West Ham player.

 

3. Ogbonna on target

As he prepares to celebrate his 200th appearance for West Ham United when he next takes to the pitch, Angelo Ogbonna warmed up with yet another vital goal for the Club.

Of the Italian's 13 goals in Claret and Blue, ten have come in victories, while seven have been matchwinners, including his second-half header at Goodison Park on Sunday.

 

Angelo Ogbonna scores

 

The goal was trademark Ogbonna as he made a perfectly-timed run to the near post and a perfectly-timed leap to outjump Ben Godfrey and make perfectly-judged contact with his head to glance Jarrod Bowen's inswinging corner beyond Jordan Pickford.

With his aerial ability and determination to win the ball inside the opposition penalty area, who would bet against the 33-year-old marking his 200th game for the Club he joined in the summer of 2015 with yet another important goal?

 

4. David Moyes' midweek ambitions

Speaking to West Ham TV following Sunday's success, David Moyes outlined his ambition to 'play on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, rather than Sundays and Thursdays'.

What the manager meant, of course, is that he wants his team to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, rather than have to settle for a place in the UEFA Europa League or UEFA Conference League.

The way his team has played over the past 16 months, the Scot has plenty of good reasons to be ambitious and optimistic about the future.

 

David Moyes

 

West Ham finished sixth last season, just two points behind Chelsea in fourth, have collected more Premier League points in 2021 than Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City and Everton have beaten the Foxes, Spurs and Blues this year.

While a top-four finish would be a major achievement, you get the sense that the manager and his players truly believe they can challenge for one.

With games coming up against Spurs and Liverpool at London Stadium in the next three weeks, West Ham will have opportunities to show how realistic their manager's ambitions are in the near future.

 

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