Sod’s law says that when a team is on a poor run of results, they want to play Everton… and the case was proven emphatically as West Ham came to Goodison without a point and left with all three.
Sunday afternoon footie up the Grand Old Lady pitted the unbeaten but injury-riddled Blues against the free-spending but winless Hammers under Manuel Pellegrini.
With Seamus Coleman joining the likes of Keane, Jagielka, Gomes, McCarthy and Richarlison on the unavailable for selection list, manager Marco Silva was again forced to shuffle the pack before naming his starting line-up: Pickford, Digne, Zouma, Holgate, Kenny, Gana Gueye, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson (c), Walcott, Tosun and Calvert-Lewin.
Four straight defeats for the Londoners after spending heavily in the close season has rooted West Ham to the bottom of the Premiership table and heaped early pressure on Pellegrini, who like Silva had injury problems to deal with. Desperate for something from the game, the Chilean selected his starting eleven: Fabianski, Zabaletta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku, Noble (c), Rice, Obiang, Yarmolenko, Arnautovic and Anderson.
Our referee on a pleasant, sunny afternoon was the ever-unpopular Martin Atkinson.
A good, confident start by the Blues saw them dominate the opening ten minutes with some crisp passing and movement, particularly between Kenny and Walcott.
But with their first attack in the eleventh minute, the visitors opened the scoring as a lofted ball forward saw Arnautovic get goal side of Holgate and he unselfishly fed Yarmolenko for an easy finish.
The goal unsettled the Blues and their passing became ragged and all to often safety first sideways or backwards as they tried to recover the momentum.
DCL was booked for a pull back on Noble in the 17th minute as the second ten minutes saw an almost complete reversal of the first ten as West Ham grew in confidence.
Digne with a great cross from the left found Tosun in the area, but his header was saved at the second attempt by Fabianski when a downward header to the corner would have drawn the Blues level.
A mistake by Schneiderlin in midfield saw Obiang play a long ball for Arnautovic to run onto but Pickford was quick off his line to clear.
The 31st minute saw the Hammers double their advantage as a poor ball out by Pickford saw a mis-control by Digne and when the ball found Yarmolenko he jinked inside Zouma to fire a sweet shot across Pickford and inside the far post for 0-2.
Gana Gueye found Walcott in space but his first time cross/shot effort was tipped over. Tosun dispossessed Yarmolenko to scurry forward but his low shot was pushed to safety by Fabianski.
Masuaku was booked for a high boot that caught Walcott on the back of the head and shortly before half time, Marco Silva decided two defensive midfielders was one too many and he withdrew Schneiderlin in favour of Bernard.
Introducing the Everton Mishmash!
Right on the interval, Everton thankfully reduced arrears as Gana Gueye found Kenny and his cross was met by Sigurdsson and his header gave Fabianski no chance.
Half Time: 1-2
Another bright start by the Blues saw early bookings for Yarmolenko and Zabaletta, both for fouls on Bernard.
Everton had penalty appeals for a foul on Sigurdsson totally ignored by the referee before a fine cross from Kenny was just too high for DCL to get on the end of.
There was better energy and intent from Everton, but it was West Ham who struck to regain a two goal advantage in the 61st minute. Noble found Arnautovic and he exchanged passes with Obiang before sliding the ball past Pickford.
Balbuena went into the back of Tuson hard with the Turk needing treatment while Arnautovic was replaced by Antonio.
On 69 minutes, Oumar Niasse replaced Tosun and a minute later West Ham swapped Sanchez for Noble.
Rice was booked for hauling down Walcott as he tried to burst through the middle and another free kick cannoned back off the wall. Ademola Lookman replace Walcott on 76 minutes.
Anderson with a weaving left wing dribble caused some concern before his cross was deflected behind by Digne.
Snood grass replaced two-goal Yarmolenko on 82 minutes ahead of Niasse getting on the end of another Digne cross only to see his volley from eight yards cannon back off the crossbar.
With five added minutes, those remaining inside Goodison prayed for a miracle, but gasped as Snodgrass clattered into Bernard and was rightly booked.
Bernard was booked for an ankle tap on Snodgrass as Everton failed to make anything of the added on time, going down to a disappointing home defeat against a side previously pointless.