West Ham United 3 Everton 1: Manuel Lanzini double sees Hammers end campaign by beating Toffees
PUBLISHED: 17:10 13 May 2018 | UPDATED: 20:15 13 May 2018
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Premier League: West Ham United 3 (Lanzini 39, 82, Arnautovic 63) Everton 1 (Niasse 74)
The Hammers signed-off the season with a stylish victory at London Stadium, where Manuel Lanzini’s two-goal salvo and a Marco Arnautović thunderbolt meant that it was a far from sweet afternoon for the Toffees.
Lanzini gave the Hammers an interval lead before Hammer-of-the-Year Arnuatović doubled the lead on the hour.
And although Oumar Niasse scrambled one back for Sam Allardyce’s side Lanzini secured a well-deserved win with another classy strike with eight minutes remaining.
Ironically, Everton’s late, late leveller against Southampton last Saturday had secured Premier League safety for the Hammers but - despite seeing the futures of both their teams assured - neither manager was enjoying any such certainty in the job security stakes.
Having each taken over their new clubs during the season, former Hammers boss Allardyce and ex-Toffees manager David Moyes came into this final game of their underwhelming campaigns not knowing whether they would still be in the dug-out, come the big kick-off on 11 August.
A grim, glum, goalless draw against Manchester United on Thursday evening meant that the Hammers started in 15th spot - seven places and eight points behind the visitors - and following that sorry stalemate, Moyes named an unchanged line-up.
And with the pressure off and the beach beckoning, West Ham certainly started in lively mood as Everton struggled to get the ball out of their own half in the early exchanges.
On ten minutes, Arnautović’s scorching, goal-bound, 12-yard volley was charged down on the goal-line by Michael Keane and, with the hosts retaining possession from the centre-half’s brave block, Mark Noble’s angled follow-up was diverted aside by Jordan Pickford.
With the seemingly injured Wayne Rooney (knee) reportedly on the brink of a trans-Atlantic transfer to DC United, there was to be no fond farewell for the 32-year-old, USA-bound striker, who had originally made his Everton debut, aged 16 in 2002.
But Big Sam made two changes from the side that had rescued that late point against the Saints as Ramiro Funes Mori and Niasse came in for Nikola Vlasic and substitute Yannick Bolasie.
And having earlier sent an ambitious long-ranger high into the Stratford sky, Funes Mori then found himself booked for a petulant trip on Arthur Masuaku, who was forced to retire shortly afterwards as a result of the Argentinian’s assault that consequently saw Edimilson Fernandes step from the bench with only 20 minutes on the clock.
João Mario then sent a low 20-yarder just a few inches wide of the base of Pickford’s left-hand post, while at the other end, the unpunished Niasse pole-axed Adrián as the Spaniard attempted a huge upfield punt.
On the half-hour mark, those two found themselves in close combat once more, when Angelo Ogbonna got himself in a terrible tangle but with only the Spaniard to beat, Niasse was somehow thwarted by Adrián’s outstretched left ankle.
Ten minutes before the break, Adrián got down to field another low 18-yarder from the Senegalese striker but just as Everton started to awake from their end of season slumber, the Hammers struck.
Advancing from halfway, Cheikhou Kouyaté tried to release Arnautović but while the wrong-footed Austrian was unable to make contact, Lanzini gratefully strode onto the wayward pass and fired West Ham ahead on 39 minutes with a low 18-yarder that squirmed across the face of both Funes Mori and Pickford’s outstretched left glove, before creeping inside the base of the right-hand upright.
Trailing at the break, Big Sam replaced Funes Mori with Davy Klaassen for the restart and, after Aaron Cresswell sent a 25-yard free-kick sailing over, Theo Walcott came on for the disgruntled Cenk Tosun amidst a crescendo of jeers from the Everton fans, clearly disappointed to see the Turk trudging away.
“You’ve got Sam Allardyce,” taunted the Hammers supporters towards their Merseyside counterparts and, with Walcott still finding his feet, those travelling fans saw their afternoon deteriorate yet further, when West Ham spectacularly doubled their lead on 63 minutes.
This time, Fernandes rolled the ball along the 18-yard line towards Arnautović, who brilliantly turned Keane before unleashing a vicious, swerving, sizzler that simply fizzed through Pickford’s guard before almost ripping the net from the goal-frame.
Having just scored his 11th goal of the season, the Hammer-of-the-Year then thought he had made it a round dozen, when he headed home Cresswell’s left-wing free-kick but the Austrian’s joy was quickly cut short by the sight of an offside flag.
At the other end, Niasse smashed an angled shot onto the face of the near post and, shortly afterwards, the Senegalese striker did, indeed, find the net.
With a quarter-hour remaining, Morgan Schneiderlin’s header across goal skimmed off Cresswell’s scalp and with Fernandes failing to clear, Niasse lashed the loose ball over the line.
But Everton’s joy at halving the deficit did not last long for, on 82 minutes, the Hammers signed off with a goal that was stamped Made in Argentina.
Spotting Lanzini’s run towards the left-hand edge of the area, compatriot Pablo Zabaleta chipped the ball over from the opposite flank and, after holding off Seamus Coleman, the Argentinian ace curled an unstoppable 18-yarder beyond the groping gloves of the well-beaten Pickford and under the ‘keeper’s left-hand angle.
With victory assured, there was still time for out-of-contract James Collins to step from the bench for an emotional cameo outing on what could be his last-ever appearance in the Claret & Blue and, after a roller-coaster campaign, going into the summer the Hammers fans finally left London Stadium with smiles on their faces.
HAMMERS: Adrián, Cresswell (Collins 87), Rice, Ogbonna, Zabaleta, Masuaku (Fernandes 20), Noble, Kouyaté, Mário, Lanzini (Obiang 86), Arnautović. Unused subs: Hart, Hernández, Evra.
TOFFEES: Pickford, Funes Mori (Klaassen h/t), Jagielka, Keane, Coleman, Baines, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Davies (Bolasie 83), Niasse, Tosun (Walcott 60). Unused subs: Robles, Martina, Holgate, Kenny.
Booked: Funes Mori (16),
Referee: Graham Scott