Lukaku’s hot streak continues, scoring in every game played against the Hammers for Everton
Belgian levels moments before half-time, cancelling out Lanzini’s opener
Deulofeu magic is enough to earn Blues point in last visit to the Boleyn Ground
Everton came from behind to earn a point in their last ever game at the Boleyn Ground, drawing 1-1 with West Ham United.
Romelu Lukaku was in form to continue his impressive scoring run against the Hammers, rounding goalkeeper Adrian after a pin-point Gerard Deulofeu through ball.
The Belgian cancelled out Manuel Lanzini’s opener; the Argentine putting the hosts ahead after half an hour with a sumptuous top corner finish.
Both sides went close in a tightly contested second half -Lukaku poking just wide in the closing stages from a cute Brendan Galloway cross- but Everton’s free-flowing attacking play from last weekend was tempered by an organised West Ham side who may feel disappointed themselves not to take all three points.
Rom’s record intact with textbook finish – but Blues will be sad to say bye to Boleyn
Every club has their favourite team to play against, not forgetting a certain stadium which brings more favourable results than others. So too do players have favourite opposition to face, so it would be no surprise to learn of an eager Lukaku circling Everton’s visit to the Boleyn Ground as soon as the fixture list comes out.
In all seven games he has lined up for Everton against West Ham, the Belgian striker has come up trumps, scoring in every game. It’s safe to say the number 10 enjoys playing against the east-London club more than any other and his goal on Saturday equalled the number of goals he has scored against both Newcastle and Liverpool in the Premier League.
And it’s not just Lukaku who revels in the meeting between these clubs. Before Saturday’s draw, Everton had won their last 6 Premier League clashes and they’ve now gone unbeaten in the last 16 against West Ham (W11, D5).
And the fact that seven of those wins came in the capital is proof enough that the Blues certainly don’t shy away at the ground that has been West Ham’s home since 1904.
So it’s a shame that from next season Everton (and their travelling fans) will be without what has become its most enjoyable and fruitful stomping ground in the top-flight. The club, fans and Lukaku will hope the new Olympic Stadium will bring them as much fortune as the Boleyn Ground has.
More solidity in 2nd half brings hope that youth and inexperience can flourish
After a rampant second half performance against Sunderland last week, fans and pundits alike were purring over Everton’s punishing counter-attacking play.
But post-game radio phone ins were still alive with the sound of moans and groans from fans voicing their concerns about a side that relinquished a two goal lead at home.
It’s hard to focus on the negatives of a game Everton won so convincingly, but the concerns were certainly not unwarranted. The two Sunderland goals were preventable from an Everton point of view and fingers have quite rightfully been pointed in the direction of Stones and Ramiro Funes Mori.
But against West Ham the entire back four looked more comfortable with each other and more at ease handling one of the league’s most aerially dominant in Andy Carroll. Stones in particular looked more like his pre-injured self, while Galloway coming back into the side after a two game absence, looked assured beyond his years.
Perhaps Lanzini could have been closed down a bit quicker, but the Argentine’s strike was perfectly placed. With Phil Jagielka out for the long-term, the Stones-Mori partnership needs to be fine-tuned sooner rather than later. Saturday was a good start.
Deulofeu, he’s magic – and you know he deserves to be first on the team sheet
Perhaps just as important as having a composed, natural finisher in front of goal is someone to feed the supply line.
Without the creativity of Leighton Baines -on whom Everton have relied so heavily over the last couple of years- the Blues have been without a regular contributor in the assists column; until now.
Deulofeu has forced his way into the Everton first XI after a flurry of early season cameo appearances. His goals and assists in the Capital One cup eventually earned him a Premier League starting berth and the Spaniard has rarely looked out of place since.
The ex-Barca winger has only started five league games yet his assists tally stands at 5: third in the Premier League charts only to Mesut Ozil (10) and David Silva (6). The winger’s habit of frustrating fans by taking too long to deliver his cross and getting tied up at the by line is begging to wane.
Instead, the twinkle-toed number 19 is learning the right times to commit a defender and when the right ball is the early cross. Goals against West Brom, Sunderland and now West Ham have come about when the Spaniard has delivered from behind his opponent. And with such outstanding vision and perfect execution at his beck and call (not forgetting an obliging goalscorer in Lukaku), Deulofeu must be one of the first names on Roberto Martinez’s team sheet.