Andriy Yarmolenko and Marko Arnautovic led the way as West Ham United beat Everton 3-1 at Goodison Park, securing Manuel Pellegrini a much-needed first win in charge on his 65th birthday.
A defeat for West Ham would have seen it lose its opening five league games of a season for the first time, but the side showed plenty of craft in attack to punish Everton's sloppy defending.
Although Marco Silva's men initially looked the brighter, they were completely caught out for Yarmolenko's opener in the 11th minute, before the Ukrainian – starting his first Premier League game – added a stunning second just after the half-hour mark.
Gylfi Sigurdsson pulled one back just before the interval, but West Ham ultimately killed off Everton’s chances in the 61st minute through Arnautovic's well-worked goal, ending its woeful run of form.
Pellegrini's decision to name a three-pronged attack showed West Ham's intent and two of them combined for the opener – Arnautovic racing in behind Everton's defence and squaring to Yarmolenko for an easy finish.
Yarmolenko then stunned Everton with a second 20 minutes later, running at Kurt Zouma before cutting on to his left foot to bend a sumptuous effort beyond Jordan Pickford from 18 yards out.
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But Everton was handed a lifeline just before the break, Sigurdsson powering a header past Lukasz Fabianski from Jonjoe Kenny's cross.
Everton was buoyed by that goal and piled the pressure on after the restart, only for West Ham to restore its two-goal cushion past the hour – Arnautovic prodding home following a neat interchange with Pedro Obiang.
The host poured men forward desperately towards the end, with substitute Oumar Niasse turning Lucas Digne's cross against the woodwork, but West Ham held firm to claim a deserved win.
What it means: West Ham gets a boost before a tough run
Failing to end its previously dire run could have deepened the concerns for West Ham and Pellegrini.
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The Hammers face Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham in three of their next four Premier League matches, and approaching such a run after five successive defeats would have been worrying, to say the least.
But the streak is over and the side showed suggestions of clicking under Pellegrini at Goodison Park, therefore it now heads into that run of games with a timely boost.
Pat on the back: Yarmolenko makes a statement
Having joined from Borussia Dortmund, Yarmolenko had struggled to get a place in the West Ham team, appearing four times from the bench. But he showed precisely what he can do on Merseyside, adding a touch of class to the Hammers in the final third.
Boot up the backside: Theo Walcott offers little
Everton looked devoid of craft in the final third for much of Sunday's contest, and Walcott has to accept a share of the blame. The experienced forward's final ball was generally poor and he failed to offer a great deal in any capacity. In contrast, Bernard - who came on as a substitute before halftime - was much brighter.
Key Opta stats:
1 - Manuel Pellegrini is the first manager to win on his birthday in the Premier League since Arsene Wenger on October 22nd last season - also against Everton. Celebrations. pic.twitter.com/NG8uzsEDE3— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 16, 2018
- Manuel Pellegrini has won five of his seven Premier League clashes against Everton (D2) - he has faced them more times in the competition without losing than any other side.
- Everton has won just one of its last 13 Premier League games played on a Sunday, with this its tenth defeat in those matches (D2).
- Andriy Yarmolenko is the fourth Ukrainian player to score in the Premier League and the first since Andriy Voronin for Liverpool against Tottenham in May 2008.
- Gylfi Sigurdsson's goal was just the third header he has scored in his Premier League career (47th goal overall), and his first since January 2016 for Swansea City against Manchester United.
- Since the start of 2018, only Mohamed Salah (23) has had a hand in more Premier League goals than Marko Arnautovic (16 - nine goals, seven assists).
Everton is on the road next time out and it proves to be a tricky ask, as it faces Arsenal at Emirates Stadium next Sunday. Meanwhile, West Ham has a London derby at home to Chelsea to look forward to on the same day.