Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s second hat-trick of the season helped Everton to a place in the last eight of the Carabao Cup for a second successive year, though victory over West Ham was achieved at some cost to the home side.
No fewer than three players picked up strains or injuries and though Carlo Ancelotti said he thought Richarlison might be back for the weekend he admitted Allan and Jonjoe Kenny may need longer.
Naturally the Everton manager wanted to be talking about Calvert-Lewin, who must be in Gareth Southgate’s thoughts. “I don’t know if he’s the best in England but he’s the best for us right now,” Ancelotti said. “He’s doing a fantastic job, he’s on fire at the moment.”
Everton’s opener proved that, with both its creator and its finisher showing signs of improved confidence under Ancelotti. Calmly turning his way out of Manuel Lanzini’s challenge on the halfway line, Michael Keane chipped a pass forward for Calvert-Lewin to meet on the edge of the area.
Even though the centre-forward is in the form of his life it was still surprising to see the nonchalant ease with which he plucked the ball out of the air with one foot before clipping a half-volley past Darren Randolph with the other. Stylish football has hardly been a trademark here in recent seasons, and it was a shame Goodison was empty for a goal that would normally have brought the house down.
Watching James Rodríguez is a treat in itself and after Lanzini saw a penalty appeal turned down at one end the Colombian almost slipped in Richarlison at the other, only for the Brazilian to be denied by the tightest of offside decisions. Séamus Coleman had to come off the bench before the interval after the unlucky Kenny caught his studs in the turf, before Lanzini sent a header wide after getting into a promising position to meet Aaron Cresswell’s cross.
The visitors had only registered one attempt on target in the first half yet before the second period was a minute old they were back on terms. It was another impressive strike, this time from Robert Snodgrass, who called for the ball from Felipe Anderson and hit a curling left-foot shot beyond Jordan Pickford’s dive from the edge of the area.
That livened up the contest quite considerably, with Calvert-Lewin shooting too high and Gylfi Sigurdsson bringing a save from Randolph before Richarlison restored Everton’s lead just before the hour. Again it was a well-struck shot from just outside the box, though it took a slight but significant deflection off Declan Rice to leave the goalkeeper little chance. It was Richarlison’s last contribution before he too twisted an ankle in attempting a tackle and made way for Alex Iwobi.
West Ham might have equalised again when Snodgrass crossed for Andriy Yarmolenko, except that the header was so wide of the target it turned into a chance for Lanzini on the six-yard line, who only had Pickford to beat but put his shot the wrong side of a post.
Incredibly Everton then saw Allan suffer a groin strain as he attempted to deal with a Rice break down the left. With Rice marauding upfield West Ham put Everton under some pressure before the end and were unlucky not to score when Sebastian Haller’s acrobatic overhead kick drew an equally agile save from Pickford, before Iwobi struck a post to leave Calvert-Lewin a tap-in from the rebound, allowing the hat-trick to be completed with a left-footed shot from Sigurdsson’s prompt six minutes from time.