After beating Everton 2-1 in a massive Premier League tie on Saturday, David Moyes’ West Ham continue to find themselves pushing for a spot in Europe next season.
Everton, on the other hand, is in real trouble. The Toffees, led by manager Frank Lampard, are just three points from safety and although they have two games in hand, their form, as well as their upcoming fixtures, will pose major concerns.
Set to face Manchester United, Leicester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and fierce rivals Liverpool all before the end of the season, there is no denying that the Merseyside Blues find themselves starring at possible relegation.
Although the Toffees are also scheduled to play fellow strugglers Burnley and Brentford, last weekend’s match against West Ham was a massive opportunity for Lampard’s men to pick up at least a point.
It wasn’t to be though after a stunning first-half free-kick from Hammers’ full-back Aaron Cresswell set the tone for the match with winger Jarrod Bowen adding a second just shy of the hour mark.
Although stand-in midfielder Mason Holgate was able to level proceedings just after half-time, the Englishman’s efforts were not enough.
Lampard will feel hard done by, in more ways than one, but particularly due to one incident that appeared to get overlooked and ex-Premier League referee Mark Halsey agrees.
Defender and goalscorer Cresswell was spotted kicking out at a downed Richarlison deep into injury time.
Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside about the shocking incident, Halsey said: “I think Aaron Cresswell can count himself lucky not to have been sent off for his petulant kick out on Richarlison.
“You can argue that is an act of violent conduct, there was no need to do that.
“He is lucky both the referee and VAR didn’t see it as a red card. I thought he was extremely lucky – had the referee of sent Cresswell off, there wouldn’t have been a review.”
Although the time on the clock suggested that even if Michael Oliver did show Cresswell a red card Everton wouldn’t have had enough time to equalise, it’s not the point.
Officiating in England’s top-flight comes under constant scrutiny and although many argue often unfairly, it is perhaps no surprise when scenarios like Saturday’s go, not only unpunished but also unnoticed.