The stress on Marco Silva’s job coming into the fixture against West Ham was not hidden, it was plain sight for everyone to see and left the doubts on the manager even stronger. So with 2 weeks to figure out how to save his job, Silva and the backroom got to work. And on Sunday, mixed up the team in a very ambitious way, benching Gylfi and both young strikers and starting Iwobi and Theo Walcott. For his efforts, Silva got a high intensity attacking performance that battered West Ham, in a performance that should’ve seen Everton score 5 or 6. While Silva is by no means out of danger and still has a mountain to climb, a dominant clean sheet victory is a great way to get the ball rolling.
The introduction of Theo Walcott was bemoaned, and maybe rightly so, when the team sheet was announced. He is a player that has offered very little in recent memory, and has left many with a sour taste in their mouths. However, he put in a shift including an assist to set up Bernard’s brilliant, weaving goal inside the Hammers’ box. He consistently ran at the defense, and had a half volley from outside the box thunder off the crossbar for what would have been a goal of the season contender in the Premier League. Walcott and Iwobi seemingly added a different dimension for the Blues, who have struggled this season in attack being one of the lowest scoring sides in the league. Playing Iwobi in the middle makes a huge difference, as his blinding speed helps Everton push through the gears a little bit quicker than with Gylfi in the middle of the park. The blinding pace brought by the attacking front was the difference in this game, breaking West Ham down time after time.
The attack was superb, but so was everyone else on Saturday. Gomes and Tom Davies put in an absolute shift, and bossed the midfield on a level that Everton simply cannot reach when Gomes is not in the team. His ability to win the ball back, calm the middle of the park, and control alongside Davies was critical. In addition to a magnificent midfield, the Everton backline was superb. Yerry Mina especially I believe deserves MOM shouts, and put in an absolute shift. Big Yerald Mina has shown why Marcel Brands put faith in him, and is paying him back for that faith big time.
A win on Saturday moves Everton away from the murky waters of the relegation zone and into 13th, showing the massive amount of work Silva still has to do. A club that had top 6 ambitions coming into the season shouldn’t shy away from success, and Silva showed that by mixing it up and trying something new this team can achieve. Going to the Amex to play Brighton will be a test of this team’s resolve, especially knowing Everton’s away woes. Another win sets Everton up to get right back on track.