Written by Sam Roydell-Ryell
After a great last minute Winston Reid winner against Sunderland last weekend and a very impressive win against Chelsea in the EFL Cup, West Ham go to Everton with bags of confidence and hoping for a win that could’ve taken West Ham up 7 places into 9th in the league. Anthony Taylor was the referee appointed for this Super Sunday fixture. Taylor was also the referee who officiated this exact fixture last season, when Kevin Mirallas was sent off for two bookable offences and West Ham came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
In a first half with only a handful of chances for both teams, it was Anthony Taylor that was causing a lot of the issues for both teams. Taylor was poor in the first half and was very soft on a couple of decisions that he made. Gareth Barry has always been a very physical figure throughout his career and it was business as usual in the first half against West Ham. You can look at Barry’s challenges in one of two ways: It’s either old school tackling: hard, firm and strong or in the modern game it’s a foul. There is no middle ground and referees have different opinions on when a tackle is deemed as fair or dangerous. 9 times out of 10, strong challenges this season have been penalised. Barry made some questionable challenges which Taylor overlooked.
Romeu Lukaku was causing issues for the West Ham defence in the first half including catching one or two players with his eblow/forearm. The Belgium is a big presence and I feel that he does need to be careful when climbing to challenge for the ball. From a players prospective, the use of arms is for elevation and in my opinion Lukaku wasn’t actions weren’t deliberate to elbow Winston Reid. Idrissa Gueye was cautioned in the first half for clearly pulling Pedro Obiang’s shirt and fouling the West Ham midfielder in the process. Gueye was the last man between the ball and Everton’s goal but a yellow card was the correct decision as the foul was 30 yards from goal and wasn’t denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity. Gueye was also involved with an incident with Michail Antonio and the assistant referee initially flagged for the foul after Gueye caught Antonio with his hand. Taylor decided not take any action and I feel although there was contact by Gana on Antonio, it wasn’t deliberate. Mark Noble was in the thick of things in the first half, which included blocking a promising strike from Ross Barkley. Although the ball hit Noble’s arm, it wasn’t deliberate handball by the West Ham midfielder.
In a second half, where West Ham’s defensive mistakes led to two Everton goals, Anthony Taylors performance and decision making was very poor at times. Taylor missed some very obvious fouls but also gave fouls against both teams when the ball was fairly won. Taylor failed to give Payet a yellow card for clearly body checking Funes Mori early in the second half but issued Pedro Obiang a yellow card for the exact foul on Ross Barkley. It’s a lack of consistency from Taylor. Winston Reid was penalised for a hand ball and Taylor issued a yellow card which means that Reid will miss West Ham’s next game at Stoke for getting 5 yellow cards this season. Bryan Oviedo was the second Everton player to be cautioned after a late challenge on Michail Antonio. West Ham’s defence was awful at times and this wasn’t any different for Ross Barkley’s goal, when 5 West Ham players were rushing to defend and nobody picked up Barkley at the back post. There was a questionable decision by the assistant referee to determine whether Lukaku was offside in the build up to Everton’s second goal. This would have been an extremely tight decision and in this instance as it was too tight to call, the assistant gave Lukaku the benefit of the doubt. One decision that the majority of West Ham fans will not agree with me for is that Gueye was fouled by Obgonna inside the penalty area in stoppage time. The Italian tried to get himself between the ball and Gueye but Ogbonna was nowhere near the ball, making contact with the Everton midfielder and brought him down inside the box. In my opinion, I felt that Taylor should have given Everton a penalty 2 minutes inside stoppage time.
Overall, I felt that Taylor was very poor in this fixture. I felt that he was inconsistent with his decision making, allowed challenges to go unpunished and punished certain challenges unnecessarily when they were perfectly timed. The penalty appeals in the final minutes was the icing on the cake on Taylor’s performance and as a referee you need to ensure you’re switched on from the 1st minute to the 90th plus stoppage time. Regardless of the score and the time remaining in the game, a foul is still a foul. A note on West Ham; I felt that we started very well but then gave Everton too much time to settle especially with their recent poor form. It’s concerning that some of the West Ham players are failing to put a shift in this season and as I hate to admit this but Payet really needs to get into the game a lot more. He’s been very slow to track back and lost the ball a number of times in promising positions. We sit 3 points above the bottom 3 and our fixture is at home next Saturday against Stoke.