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Tactical Analysis: Everton 2-1 West Ham

It was a great Everton performance as The Toffees defeated a very in-form West Ham side. On his 400th appearance, Leon Osman slides home the winner in a 2-1 victory over The Hammers. Everton took the lead after half-an-hour, Romelu Lukaku scored from close range after Ross Barkley’s shot was deflected. West Ham equalised after making two substitutes, Mauro Zarate’s shot taking a huge deflection over the Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard. However, Leon Osman scored the winner to pick three points up for Everton in a very heated match. What did West Ham do tactically that was wrong? Who came on for Everton that changed the game? Lets break the game down.

Everton 2 West Ham 1


Everton lined-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, making 4 changes from the team that faced Sunderland a few weeks back. Leighton Baines, Gareth Barry, Aiden McGeady and Samuel Eto’o were all replaced, with players Tony Hibbert, Leon Osman, Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith coming in. The team started with Tim Howard in the Everton goal, with Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin in the centre-back spots. Tony Hibbert and Seamus Coleman were the two full-backs whilst Leon Osman and James McCarthy started in the defensive midfield slots. Steven Naismith played in attacking midfield, with Ross Barkley left and Kevin Mirallas right. Romelu Lukaku started up front.

West Ham were forced to make a lot of changes from their match against Aston Villa. The Hammers started in a 4-1-2-1-2 diamond formation, but West Ham started in a 5-3-2 formation against Everton this weekend. Alexandre Song, Cheikhou Kouyate, Stewart Downing, Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia were all removed from the squad, with James Tomkins, Kevin Nolan, Morgan Amalfitano, Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole coming into the starting eleven. West Ham started with Adrian in goal, James Tomkins, James Collins and Winston Reid in the centre-back spots, Carl Jenkinson and Aaron Cresswell as full-backs. West Ham then has Kevin Nolan in midfield with Morgan Amalfitano and Marl Noble with him. Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole in the striker positions.

West Ham ‘Parking the Bus’

It was clear that West Ham were going to have a tough test at Goodison, especially with a lot of main players not playing. West Ham were incredibly defensive, sometimes having 8 or even 9 outfield players in there final third. Here is the West Ham United bus in use.

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This left Everton having to have a lot of patience before getting a shot off. Everton have only got 4 players in the West Ham defensive half, which are Ross Barkley, Steven Naismith, Leon Osman and Romleu Lukaku. Everton still added a lot of pressure, but West Ham got back even more. Andy Carroll getting into the defensive third.

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This was just before Seamus Coleman received the ball from a fantastic Leon Osman pass and Steven Naismith firing just over. Already the West Ham back five is in the penalty area before a Everton player has got a touch on the ball. As you can see, Andy Carroll (listed as number 9) was back defending, leaving Carlton Cole all alone upfront and if West Ham clear the ball upfield (which they did) it was easy for a Everton defender to deal with it.

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Once again, West Ham incredibly defensive. This time, Morgan Amalfitano going back into the full-back position and Carl Jenkinson moving into a more central position. It was very difficult to break through the West Ham defence.

One defence error costly for West Ham

Although Everton got a few shots off, it was a very organised West Ham defence until the 26th minute which is were one mistake proved costly for the Hammers defence.

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Here is the build-up to the Everton goal. As you can see Ross Barkley is just about to fire at goal. He takes a touch but James Tomkins has pushed forward to try and close him down, which leaves Romelu Lukaku in a world of space. They could’ve defended this by letting James Collins closing him down and Tomkins marking Lukaku, or letting Carl Jenkinson(the man on the bottom left) move into the position to man-mark the Belgian striker. There was questions of him being offside, but offside or not, it is very poor defending from West Ham.

Toffees missing Gareth Barry?

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James McCarthy and Leon Osman’s heat map

Gareth Barry’s injury was a big blow for Everton, but replacing him was a big question. In the end, Leon Osman was the man to replace him in the defensive midfield role, which really surprised me considering Muhamed Besic was on the bench. I felt that Gareth Barry was a miss for Everton. The Toffees duo (McCarthy and Osman) won just 14% of their tackles and 20% of their aerial duels. They also made just 3 interceptions but still made 15 clearances and 4 blocks throughout the 90 minutes played.

Visitors trying to use aerial dominance – did it work?

With Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole upfront, West Ham tried to use their height advantage to try  and unlock the Everton defence and to win the game. The visitors won all but one (6 out of 7) of there aerial duels in the Everton penalty area. They also had 4 headed shots at goal, 1 being blocked, 2 off target and 1 on target. West Ham had crossed, crossed and crossed like it was the only thing they knew. At the end of the match, West Ham had made 45 crosses towards the penalty area, not one leading into a goal. Also, at the end of the game, Everton had made an impressive 71 clearances, most of them being headed clearances.

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Did Samuel Eto’o change the game?

He came on on the 66th minute mark, replacing Kevin Mirallas and his impact was almost instant. The Cameroonian assisted Leon Osman’s goal in terrific fashion, sprinting down the right side before a magnificent cross into the area, his only chance he created when coming on.

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Here is the Everton counter-attack, Romelu Lukaku on the ball before being destroyed by James Collins but Samuel Eto’o’s run is superb with Leon Osman on the left. Aaron Cresswell is completely out of position and chasing, which he gets no where near to.

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Samuel Eto’o then has to make a cross across goal to find Leon Osman, but he is still in a yard or two of space and nobody has picked up Leon Osman. The ball is fantastic and Leon Osman slides the ball home.

Man of the Match: Leon Osman

There was only one player, in my opinion, Leon Osman. There has been a lot of criticism from Everton supporters but Saturday afternoon he proved himself that he deserves to be in Roberto Martinez’s plans for the future. He ended the game with a 93% passing accuracy and had created 3 chances throughout the match. He was also helping in the defensive half, making one tackle, 1 interception and 6 clearances.


Best league performance this season for Everton – although their has been games which have shown Everton that they’re still up there, this was the game where they proved the can get something out of nothing. The Toffees were dominant but West Ham done well defensively. I don’t think Valencia or Sakho would’ve changed the game, but main players were missed for them. Everton have a tough test in midweek going to VfL Wolfsburg but going to Tottenham next Sunday will be a difficult for them. West Ham will now face Newcastle United at home next weekend, which will be an interesting encounter between fifth and sixth.

Joel Parker
Joel Parker
Big Evertonian and love writing about Football!!
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