Everton reinforced their European credentials with a hard-earned win away to Champions League hopefuls West Ham.
After being fourth in the Premier League at the turn of the year, the Toffees slipped to eighth having won just six of their first 18 league games in 2021.
But Ben Godfrey’s slide-rule pass allowed Dominic Calvert-Lewin to score his 16th league goal of the season in the first half at London Stadium.
And manager Carlo Ancelotti’s decision to play with three centre-backs was justified as his side defended resolutely to secure a second straight away win having also won 1-0 at Arsenal last month.
Everton remain eighth but are now one point behind seventh-placed Tottenham and three behind fifth-placed West Ham – with a game in hand on both.
For the Hammers, this is a big blow to manager David Moyes’ hopes of again leading an unfancied team into the Champions League having done so as Everton boss in 2005.
Newcastle won at fourth-placed Leicester on Friday but this defeat keeps West Ham five points off the top four with just three games left.
A Europa League spot would be some consolation for Moyes and his former club aim to join West Ham after claiming their 11th away win in the league this season – and their fifth in London.
Hammers’ Champions League hopes hanging by a thread
After 34 games last season, West Ham were fifth from the bottom, three points above the relegation zone. At the same stage this term, they were five points off the top four.
Such has been the turnaround in Moyes’ first full season in charge, which saw a 1-0 at Everton on New Year’s Day, sparking a run of 11 wins from 18 league games coming into this game.
That run was buoyed by the arrival of Jesse Lingard on loan, but despite dominating possession, Lingard and his team-mates struggled to play through Everton’s organised defence.
Their best chance of the first half saw Said Benrahma’s wait for his first Premier League goal continue as he headed over from a Pablo Fornals cross.
The Algeria winger has now had 32 attempts without scoring in the Premier League – more than any other player.
After the interval, Fornals had a shot blocked before spreading the play to Vladimir Coufal, whose low shot came back off the inside of the far post and substitute Jarrod Bowen was unable to steer the rebound goalwards.
Lingard was then booked for dissent as the visitors continued to frustrate the Hammers, who failed to register a shot on target.
More to follow.
West Ham United
- 3CresswellSubstituted forFredericksat 59′minutes
- 28SoucekBooked at 72mins
- 10LanziniSubstituted forBowenat 43′minutes
- 11LingardBooked at 75mins
- 9BenrahmaSubstituted forYarmolenkoat 73′minutes
- 13MinaSubstituted forHolgateat 62′minutes
- 6AllanBooked at 77mins
- 10G SigurdssonSubstituted forDelphat 85′minutes
- 7RicharlisonSubstituted forKingat 84′minutes
- 21André Gomes
- Stuart Attwell
Match ends, West Ham United 0, Everton 1.
Second Half ends, West Ham United 0, Everton 1.
Attempt missed. Vladimir Coufal (West Ham United) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.
Ryan Fredericks (West Ham United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Joshua King (Everton).
Substitution, Everton. Fabian Delph replaces Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Joshua King (Everton) hits the right post with a header from very close range. Assisted by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Substitution, Everton. Joshua King replaces Richarlison.
Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Michael Keane.
Craig Dawson (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton).
Attempt missed. Tomas Soucek (West Ham United) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Vladimir Coufal with a cross.
Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Lucas Digne.
Allan (Everton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Allan (Everton).
Attempt blocked. Séamus Coleman (Everton) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Jesse Lingard (West Ham United) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Jesse Lingard (West Ham United).
Tom Davies (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.