Tevez can't stop patched-up Toffees

December 3, 2006
By The Insider
(Archive)

Everton 2-0 West Ham United

He refused to wear a Brazil shirt but, despite predictions to the contrary, he still dons a claret-and-blue one. Carlos Tevez's next move is very much uncertain, but his commitment to the West Ham United cause was unquestioned at Goodison Park. Defeat notwithstanding, it brought a personally tumultuous fortnight for the Argentine to a satisfactory conclusion.

GettyImages / AlexLiveseyJoseph Yobo of Everton attempts to block the shot of an inspired Carlos Tevez.

His punishment, imposed by his team-mates for reacting to his substitution at Sheffield United by leaving Upton Park prematurely, to wear the Brazil shirt was, to Tevez, unacceptable. Nonetheless, he proved himself sufficiently contrite after the incident that prompted predictions it would end his brief West Ham career.

His future may be endangered, too, with West Ham under new ownership - as one of the British tabloids colourfully phrased it 'Dome-headed biscuit baron Eggert Magnusson is West Ham's new diamond geyser' - and the failure of Kia Joorabchian's takeover bid.

But in one sense, it is as well that the Icelander is a fan of manager Alan Pardew's policy of buying British. The Hammers' English contingent have scored all their goals this season.

After statistics showed a measly average of 2.16 goals per Premiership game - the lowest of any of Europe's major leagues - so far this season, there was a suggestion that the tactical advances implemented by foreign managers are responsible for the collective goal drought. Nonetheless, such inspiration and incision as West Ham had at Goodison Park came from one of the their foreign legion, Tevez.

Serenaded by the travelling support from the opening stages, he provided ample evidence that, in the third month of his loan spell from Corinthians, he is adjusting to English football. Never outpaced or muscled off the ball, he should a willingness to shoot that has served a former Hammer, Frank Lampard, well. Nor could his work rate be faulted; there were similarities to Wayne Rooney in the way he harried defenders.

He was capable of creating chances, too. Having skipped away from Nuno Valente, he picked out the unmarked Lee Bowyer, on the kind of well-timed run that was his trademark at Leeds, who was denied by an athletic stop from Tim Howard. Then, twice, North America proved the match of South, Howard keeping out Tevez shots after he had made good use of the inside-left channel. A shot whipped just wide was the most threatening of several second-half efforts, but a goal remained elusive.

It was a contribution that made a mockery of Tevez's failure to score in England or, indeed, the odd statistic that Hayden Mullins' winner against Sheffield United is West Ham's only goal when he has been on the pitch.

And this time, it was not Tevez that Pardew substituted but Bobby Zamora and Lee Bowyer. Marlon Harewood, one of those introduced, brought another fine block from the in-form Tim Howard while Tevez, switched to the right flank, continued to impress, not least his manager.

Pardew said: 'There's not a lot of positives but he was a positive. Defenders never know which way he will go because he can go both ways, though he needs a goal. But his performance today was a highlight.'

Everton, too, fielded an import whose impact has been questioned. In his waistline as well as his social habits, Andy van der Meyde is something of a throwback. Patently not match fit, he retains the ability to deliver a telling cross. 'I thought he was terrific with the crosses he put in and the way he took people on,' said David Moyes.

GettyImages / AlexLiveseyLeon Osman celebrates his opener.

It was the Dutchman's corner that found the unmarked Joleon Lescott at the back post only for the defender, seemingly losing his bearings, to direct a tame shot back at the relieved Robert Green.

Andrew Johnson, though without a goal since September, tends to be a more potent finisher. But rushed back because injuries had deprived Everton of Mikel Arteta and Phil Neville, he drew the best save from Green. Latching on to James Beattie's flick-on, his angled shot was headed for the bottom corner until the West Ham goalkeeper's intervention.

Their season has been a tale of two strikers: Johnson, who can do no wrong, and Beattie, who can do little right in the eyes of many at Goodison Park.

A disgruntled shout of 'come on Beattie, move yourself' came from the stands shortly after he had shanked a shot some way over the West Ham bar. The £6 million striker has not scored in open play for 24 matches and frustration with him is mounting.

Nonetheless, without his enthusiasm Everton would not have made the breakthrough. With Joseph Yobo's long pass seemingly over-hit, Beattie chased what appeared a lost cause, stretched to deliver an excellent cross and when Jonathan Spector's headed clearance only found Leon Osman 20 yards out the midfielder struck his half-volley wonderfully well.

'The goal he scored is typical of him,' added Moyes. 'He can do that.'

Victory was completed in stoppage time by the substitute James Vaughan, drilling a shot under Green as West Ham committed men forward in search of an equaliser. But for Everton's injuries, his manager admitted, the teenager might not have been on the bench.

Moyes added: 'For us that's an unbelievable result. We've ended up with - I don't know - five centre halves on the pitch and four centre forwards. There were people playing out of position, but that shows the spirit we've got here.'

West Ham, meanwhile, have not scored in more than 10 hours on the road. 'It's a concern,' admitted Pardew. At least Tevez no longer is.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Carlos Tevez - By some margin. Everton's clean sheet owed much to Joleon Lescott and Tim Howard, and both deserve a mention, too.

EVERTON VERDICT: A patched-up team ground out a victory but David Moyes, like many of his managerial counterparts, will be eagerly awaiting the January transfer window.

WEST HAM VERDICT: A lack of invention in midfield undermined their efforts, with Yossi Benayoun clearly missed. In attack, despite Tevez's display, Dean Ashton cannot return soon enough. Bobby Zamora, after his prolific start to the season, looks short of confidence.

INJURY UPDATE: Arteta and Neville were injured in training on Saturday. 'Those two happened within 30 seconds of each other,' said Moyes. 'It was like casualty ward.' Despite the late injuries, he insisted: 'Van der Meyde was going to start today no matter what.'

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: This game was 0.16 below average.

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