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A game neither side proved capable of winning

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It’s odd that despite Everton’s abysmal start and all the worry and upheaval that followed, culminating in the sacking of Marco Silva, in the context of the top six and European qualification, Everton’s season is very much alive.

In that sense, this was one of the most frustrating games of a season that was full of them prior to Silva’s dismissal and it starkly exposed the void that exists in central midfield, one that, paradoxically, meant the point gained was a decent one from an away game.

Seemingly incapable of beating their hosts’ fairly innocuous pressing game, they resorted to this tedious possession game before Pickford shanked the ball out of play or one of the outfield players simply handed it straight to a claret jersey.

That’s down to a Premier League that remains inconsistent and erratic below the runaway leaders and in that environment there are opportunities — opportunities like this one where the Blues came up against a West Ham side that was there for the taking after Jordan Pickford had restricted them to one goal but Carlo Ancelotti’s men just couldn’t get their act together in attacking areas enough to grab a winner.

All of those factors combined for a performance that was more maddening the more the game wore on because it was clear that once they had seen some decent opportunities go begging, David Moyes’s Hammers didn’t have much more about them either.

Nevertheless, while the Brazilian’s distribution was largely off, most of Everton’s attacks went through him so Ancelotti’s decision to substitute him at half-time in favour of teenage Premier League debutant Anthony Gordon felt very premature and proved to be so when what cohesion and retention the Blues had in forward areas largely fell away in the opening quarter of an hour in the second half.

With Gylfi Sigurdsson out with a groin injury and Ancelotti deprived of any option he might have taken to play Mason Holgate in midfield when Michael Keane was forced to bow out on the day with a ricked neck, Everton had to fall back on the increasingly maligned Fabian Delph alongside Tom Davies in the middle.
For more news relating to West Ham, visit our sister site Hammers Live.
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