Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his second hat-trick of the season as Everton booked their place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, but the cost of victory against West Ham may turn out to be a heavy one.
Calvert-Lewin put the home side in front with a well-taken 11th-minute effort after Michael Keane had picked him out with an excellent chipped pass over the Hammers’ defence.
The England forward sealed victory with two goals in six minutes near the end, taking his tally in what is turning into a superb season to eight.
His second was a typical poacher’s effort, the 23-year-old tucking home the rebound after Alex Iwobi’s shot had bounced back off a post. Calvert-Lewin then got beyond the West Ham defence to finish off Gylfi Sigurdsson’s through ball to complete another fantastic treble.
Richarlison had earlier put Everton back in front with a deflected shot after Robert Snodgrass had briefly pulled the visitors level just after half-time.
However, the Brazilian quickly abandoned his attempt to continue after having treatment to his left leg. And within eight minutes, his compatriot Allan was joining him in the dressing room after indicating he had pulled his groin.
The manner both men headed down the tunnel did not indicate a swift return and as Jonjoe Kenny had to be replaced before the break, the injuries cast a shadow over an otherwise excellent night for Carlo Ancelotti’s men.
His side have now won six games in a row and if they were to beat Brighton on Saturday, it would represent the club’s best start to a season since 1894.
In a week in which England boss Gareth Southgate names his squad for a first international triple-header, Calvert-Lewin could not have done much more to press his claims for inclusion.
Scorer of that famous winning goal when England won the Under-20s World Cup in 2017, Calvert-Lewin is emerging as one of the stars of the early weeks of the season.
One of the most satisfying aspects of his game at present is the way he hunts down chances.
He showed strength in holding off Declan Rice as he controlled Keane’s lofted pass for Everton’s opener and then read the play superbly to ensure he was onside before latching onto Sigurdsson’s short pass for his second.
The third was the easiest technically, but the number of times leading strikers of the past say forwards should gamble, shows Calvert-Lewin is learning fast.
It meant he became the first player to score hat-tricks in successive home games under Ancelotti since Cristiano Ronaldo – not bad company to be in.
It was the second and final game Hammers manager David Moyes had to control from home, where he is isolating following his positive coronavirus test.
The situation is far from ideal, despite the 4-0 win over Wolves at the weekend.
At one stage, coach Stuart Pearce appeared to be covering his mouth as he spoke on the phone even though he was wearing a mask.
On paper, the Hammers had some top quality players. Yet, as has so often been the case, they failed to show their true abilities.
Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson were both guilty of conceding possession needlessly with their side in positions of promise.
Rice showed his versatility by playing in central defence and is evidently someone West Ham want to keep but Moyes’ continuing search for defenders underlines where the Scot views his side’s weakness to be.
As it turned out, this really was not the England man’s night. Although he was controlled in possession, it was his back that Richarlison’s shot struck, diverting it into the net past Darren Randolph.
West Ham had neither the guile nor the fight to respond and the only disappointment for Everton as they continue the quest for a first trophy since 1995 were the injuries.
‘He is on fire’ – what they said
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti: “I’m really pleased for the start of the season but it is not a surprise, this squad has a lot of quality. We have to wait and see what is going on in the future but the start has been good.”
On Calvert-Lewin: “He is doing a fantastic job – he is on fire. I don’t know if he is the best [English striker] and I don’t care – he is the best at Everton.”
On injuries: “Richarlison has a twisted ankle, not so bad. Allan and Jonjoe Kenny [came off with] abductor muscle [problems], we have to check on how they are tomorrow. Richarlison can recover for Saturday, Allan and Kenny will be more difficult.
West Ham assistant manager Alan Irvine: “It’s a very disappointing result. There were some good things about it in the first half but we conceded three really poor goals in the second-half, all preventable.
“The result is not a fair reflection. At 2-1 we felt we were in the game, the third made it a real struggle.”
On Moyes’ absence: “We have replacements for players but nobody has a replacement for the manager. We want him back as soon as possible.”
On transfer activity: “Nothing happening at this moment that I am aware of. David has been looking at players and has asked us to look at a few but I have no detail about where we are with that.”
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