Lukaku and Barkley goals see off West Ham

Everton ended a sequence of five matches without a win with a scrappy victory against a West Ham side who remain close to the relegation zone.

Romelu Lukaku put Everton ahead, heading home from close range for his seventh Premier League goal against the Hammers.

Everton improved as the match progressed and Ross Barkley, under scrutiny this season for some inconsistent performances, capped a fine display with a half-volley that secured the points for the hosts.

West Ham, who had been unbeaten in October, had chances and were the better side in the first half but were left to rue Angelo Ogbonna’s miss, which could have given the visitors the lead.

Despite their recent revival – the Hammers were aiming for a third consecutive league victory – Slaven Bilic’s men remain just three points above the relegation places as they continue to pay the price for four straight losses at the start of the season.

Before the game, Everton manager Ronald Koeman said his offensive players had to improve and provide greater support to top scorer Lukaku.

The Dutchman knows his team’s weakness, but there were signs in this match that £25m summer signing Yannick Bolasie and Barkley especially can become the consistent threats he craves.

The Toffees’ attackers made little impression in the first half and the hosts had just one shot on target – a rasping, deflected Barkley effort which was fabulously saved by Adrian.

But Everton were more adventurous after the break, with Lukaku, Bolasie and Barkley the bright lights as they put West Ham on the back foot.

Winger Bolasie, criticised this season for not making an impact since his move from Crystal Palace, was key to the opener.

Adrian could only push Seamus Coleman’s low drive a few yards away from goal and it was the DR Congo international who reacted quickest to scoop the ball across for Lukaku, who headed home unchallenged from close range.

Barkley, who has been dropped this season and substituted, became a greater influence in the second half and it was the midfielder who started and finished Everton’s second, winning the ball in midfield before setting Lukaku free on the right. The striker then picked out the supporting Barkley, who made a difficult finish look easy.

Hammers lack ruthlessness

West Ham began with the confidence of a team who have collected seven points from their past three league games and progressed to the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup.

In the first half, Dimitri Payet was the game’s creative force and the France winger was supported by the lively Manuel Lanzini, with Michail Antonio adding muscle up front.

Payet was involved in the moves that led to six of West Ham’s seven shots in the opening 45 minutes and Ogbonna squandered a wonderful opportunity to put his team ahead after being put through by the 29-year-old.

In terms of statistics, there was not much to separate the teams – Everton had 49.1% of possession, West Ham made just 12 passes more than their rivals.

But Bilic’s men were lacklustre after the break and failed to make the most of the opportunities they did create.

Antonio failed to capitalise on a series of mistakes by Ashley Williams, while Joel Robles saved a Mark Noble effort that was heading into the top corner and a brilliant tackle by Bryan Oviedo was enough to put off Andre Ayew in front of goal.

What next?
Everton, sixth in the league, will play Chelsea in the league on 5 November, while West Ham host fellow strugglers Stoke on the same day.

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