New defensive system successful in clean sheet

There is no doubt that throughout the season our defence has been at the forefront of criticism in most of our poor performances, but yesterday was far from the case. With the key return of yesterday’s skipper Winston Reid, Slaven Bilic decided to opt with a three at the back system to try to contain the pace and power of the Everton attack and in particular Romelu Lukaku. The formation was a bold move, using a 3 centre back system and Edimilson Fernandes with Arthur Masuaku at right and left wing back. The system worked like a well-oiled machine by keeping to his word of starving the Everton striker of his service and also every time the big Belgian did receive the ball he was quickly dispossessed before he had the chance to trouble Adrian our goal. Bilic flirted with the tactic earlier on in the season beginning with the victory at Selhurst Park, but later dropped it until reverting back to the formation yesterday. So with such a positive defensive performance, it will be hard for Bilic to change the formation for the trip to the Britannia Stadium next week.

Adrian returns with a clean sheet

It seems like minutes ago when in October Adrian himself was dropped for Darren Randolph, following a critical mistake at home to Stoke City. The shoe is now very much on the other foot, as after weeks of pressure on Slaven Bilic to make a change in goal, the prayers of many Hammers fans were finally answered. Darren Randolph made two howlers to let in two relatively cheap goals at the Stadium of Light last week which caused outraged fans to call for the Irishman to be dropped, despite Slaven Bilic discouraging the idea of a goalkeeping change in midweek, Adrian started and kept only our third clean sheet of the year. Clean sheets have been very hard to come by for our defence this season as this can be seen by our dreadful minus 15 goal difference, so despite not having much to do yesterday and overcoming an early mistake, the clean sheet was a considerable achievement for Adrian on his return. So with matters between the sticks resuming normal service, Adrian will be set to keep his place in goal for the remaining Premier League games.

Hammers lack cutting edge in final third

There is almost no doubting that we got the better of our Merseyside opponents for most of the game yesterday, but we still didn’t manage to come away with the three points. It was another frustrating afternoon in front of goal for our attack as we managed to waste the ball every time we got into threatening areas of the Toffees half. We were without Andy Carroll who missed yesterday’s encounter with a reoccurrence of a thigh problem and we are still without top goal scorer Michail Antonio, which really didn’t help our attacking cause against Ronald Koeman’s men. Slaven Bilic was also criticised for his offensive tactics yesterday and mainly, starting Jonathan Calleri over Diafra Sakho and Ashley Fletcher. Sakho came on for the last 30 minutes as a substitute for Calleri and seemingly managed to contribute twice as more to the game than the Argentine did, in half the time. One thing is for sure, we are going to need to improve in front of goal to gain the points we need to ensure Premier League safety in the tough remaining fixtures that we have.

Lukaku fails to keep West Ham run going

One huge relief for Hammers fans at full-time yesterday was the fact that we managed to stop Romelu Lukaku from scoring in his 10th consecutive game against us in the 0-0 draw yesterday. Many Hammers fans had joked earlier on in the week about not even being able to get odds on Lukaku to score against us on Saturday, but with the historic run now over will the Belgian international stop being such a foe to our defence?


Masuaku: “It was my best ever West Ham game”

Our French left back Arthur Masuaku has commented on how much he enjoyed his impressive performance at left wing back against the Toffees yesterday. The former France U21 international has enjoyed a superb run of first team games recently keeping usual left back Aaron Cresswell out of the starting line-up and had this to say in his post match interview yesterday ”For me it was my best West Ham game. I feel I am a lot better when I can play a bit further out on the wing, this is my best position I think”. The 23-year-old clearly enjoyed the three at the back system employed by Bilic yesterday afternoon as he managed to halt many Everton attacks while creating attacking chances down the left side himself. The former Olympiacos man was linked with a move away from the London Stadium when he was dropped from the first team earlier on in the season, but Masuaku has now instigated himself into Slaven Bilic’s immediate plans and the Frenchman is surely set for a bright future with the club.

Player ratings

Here is how each player rated out of ten from our 0-0 draw with Ronald Koeman’s men yesterday at the London Stadium.

Adrian:8, Fernandes:7, Reid:8, Fonte:7, Collins:8, Masuaku:8, Kouyate:7, Nordtveit:7, Lanzini:7, Ayew:7, Cresswell: 7, Calleri:5, Sakho:7