Everton and West Ham started the day close to the bottom of the Premier League on points, but the mood has changed dramatically around both clubs with the Toffees winning 1-0.
Neal Maupay scored the only goal to give Everton their first win of the season and keep the Hammers in the bottom three.
Frank Lampard replaced Rafael Benitez as Everton’s manager last season as they battled relegation and eventually kept them.
There was a feeling that this season would be better, but it took them until September 18 to win a league game, although they are now five games unbeaten with four consecutive draws.
They seem to be solid at the back, having conceded just six goals in seven games. Brighton, with five, are the only team in the Premier League to have received less.
Six of Everton’s starting line-up against West Ham are summer signings, including captain Conor Coady and centre-back James Tarkowski.
“It’s a little bit of a win. We probably deserved it somewhere this season, but it didn’t come,” said Lampard.
“It’s been difficult for us to win lately, but we haven’t had that clinical edge in front of goal. We had that today.
“The new players are adapting well. We are playing a different form of who we were.
“It was great to stay like last year, but we knew we had to be more stable in defence. We’re far from the finished article, but not conceding too many goals is something we should be proud of.”
Former England defender Jonathan Woodgate told BBC Radio 5 Live: “They see a different side to Idrissa Gueye in the team.”
The Senegalese midfielder joined Everton from Paris St-Germain ahead of the transfer deadline in August.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Lampard’s Chelsea team-mate, told Sky Sports: “Everton look a lot stronger this season, more of a unit, harder to break down. You need that to get the points first and build from there. .
“Frank is building something step by step. They’re still a long way from where they want to be, but we can see what he’s doing.”
“Maybe we’ll draw if Neal isn’t there”
Another key was Maupay’s place in the team and his first goal since his £15m summer move from Brighton.
Everton started the season without a striker after selling Richarlison to Tottenham for £60m and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s knee injury.
Wingers Demarai Gray and Anthony Gordon were the only players to score in the league this season until Maupay latched on to Alex Iwobi’s pass and scored with a half-volley against West Ham.
“It’s a fantastic goal, a goalscorer’s goal,” said Lampard. “The first touch is clinical and it’s not easy to keep it tight and clear the shot. You rely on that feeling from a striker and maybe we’ll tie that game if Neal isn’t there.
“There were games with that clinical finish, we would have scored more points.”
Maupay told Sky Sports: “I know my job, I have to score. That’s why they brought me in. I needed that goal because I haven’t played much.”
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher said: “Everton’s big problem is scoring goals, and that’s why Maupay came in. His first touch was absolutely fantastic and he took it very early. He surprised everyone with it. The back of the net.”
West Ham ‘need to get momentum back quickly’
West Ham’s start to the season is worrying. They have finished sixth and seventh in the past two seasons – and have made a big summer signing – worth around £150m – as they look to push to the next level.
But most of the players to start league games are not new faces. Nine of the XI that lost to Everton were regulars from last season.
“I don’t think we’re that far off,” said boss David Moyes. “But we’ve lost that momentum we had for a couple of years. We need to get it back quickly.”
Moyes admits that juggling European and domestic football – as they did last year – can have an impact.
Four of West Ham’s five wins this season have come in the European Conference League, including three against Danish sides.
“We want the Thursday, Sunday games,” said Moyes. “I wish it was Wednesday, Saturday, because we would be in the Champions League.
“But if you look at [previous seasons]Thursday-Sunday results can be very difficult.”