In a weekend of unrivalled sporting spectacle and drama in the capital, West Ham decided to forgo the adrenalin and flair in favour of a workmanlike goalless draw at the London Stadium.
The defence were the heroes of an uneventful game in which the threat of top scorer Romelu Lukaku was neutralised by Winston Reid. The Irons peppered the Everton goal but the supporters have learnt to accept there will be little in the way of sharpness at the tip of the spear.
The single point inched West Ham closer to safety in a painfully long run-in and the sight of former Hammers boss Sam Allardyce leapfrog the east Londoners with his rejuvenated Crystal Palace side will be noted with some wryness.
Adrian was back in goal but he didn’t have much to do as a team trying to break into the elite but who found themselves against a team dedicated to doggedness.
Reid said: “We wanted to try and keep [Lukaku] away from the goal. I know it’s pretty boring but it’s pretty simple I guess. We just had to be on him in the box and make sure he couldn’t turn.
“We still need a few more points to be 100% safe. But building towards next year the players will learn a lot from this.”
Five points from the last three Premier League games is also the minimum return that Slaven Bilic will hope to get from the last four as the team limp into the summer and hope to start again afresh next time. Next up is Stoke, a team that usually sits beside West Ham as they share 9th and 10th place but Mark Hughes’s side has also seen a dip on the usual form.
Bilic told the club's website : “Maybe 38 points will be enough, but maybe not. For every team, every game is going to be extremely hard to win because almost every team is fighting for something.
“We want to be comfortable, we need a few more points. We want it, not only to avoid [that situation] but also to climb up the table. Still we can finish really high if we win a few games.
“[Everton manager] Ronald [Koeman] said after the game that only one team played today and only one team deserved to win. That was us.
“We were better than them on Saturday, they are not happy with their performance. If they played like that [regularly] they wouldn’t be where they are.
“Part of the reason why they played like that was us. You can’t say that they were a team without motivation to play for something. They are not middle of the table and waiting for the season to finish, but we were on top of them and aggressive.”
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