Sunday 16th September 2018
So, with international football out of the way, it’s back to club commitments. In their first Sunday fixture of the season, the Toffees will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways as quickly as possible after frustratingly drawing their last two. What better opportunity to get back on track than at home against a side still without a point? To say West Ham have had a nightmare opening would not be an overstatement. The Hammers will be arriving on Merseyside desperately looking to change their fortunes and lift themselves from the foot of the early table.
Last time out saw the Blues drop points at home to a Huddersfield side that really highlighted a weakness in Marco Silva’s men. In a game Everton were heavily expected to come out victorious, they found themselves frustrated and ultimately disappointed to drop points for the second time in as many weeks.
In a forgettable contest, it was the away side that struck first after Philip Billing handed the Terriers the lead following the Blues failure to yet again deal with a corner. With the Goodison faithful stunned, the Toffees were quick to respond as just 87 seconds later Calvert Lewin headed in a fantastic cross from new signing Lucas Digne to quickly level for the hosts. The second half failed to improve, Huddersfield sat deep and frustrated Everton and looked to hit the Blues on the counter. The Toffees massively struggled to break the stubborn visitors down and the best chance of the half was created by substitute Ademola Lookman when the winger whipped a searching ball across the box which was unable to find its target.
Although still unbeaten and a steady start, Everton’s inability to deal with set pieces remains one of huge concern. The Blues are yet to achieve a clean sheet this campaign and this is something that quickly needs rectifying if Silva’s men are going to enjoy a decent season. After a summer of big change there was always going to be early complications and unsurprisingly them complications have so far occurred at the back. With Silva still figuring his best side out, the defence has already seen various changes in these early weeks. Hopefully these early struggles can begin to be improved upon in the coming weeks as players return and a regular settled back-line can emerge.
Aswell as defensively against Huddersfield, a problem going forward was also highlighted, after going ahead, the Terriers were quite happy to sit back, invite pressure and make life difficult through simply becoming compact. Although the majority of possession was Everton’s, the failure to make anything from it against a side that had already shipped nine goals this campaign was poor. The creativity and intent just seemed to stagnate, there was no freedom or flow to any of the Blues play going forward, only worsened after Theo Walcott was withdrawn through injury. The ease in which Huddersfield were able to execute their plan comfortably reflected a lack of edge to Silva’s men and something i’m sure he’ll be desperate to show is not going to become a consistent feature.
Heading into Sunday, Everton’s injury list couldn’t be much worse. Dominic Calvert Lewin and Seamus Coleman both suffered knocks on international duty and are expected to miss the game. Idrissa Gueye, Phil Jagielka, Yerry Mina, Micheal Keane, Andre Gomes, Bernard and James Mccarthy will all remain out. Theo Walcott is reportedly touch and go and will continue to be assessed up until kick off.
Winger Richarlison completes his suspension.
West Ham come into Sundays clash in dire form. The wind has quickly been taken from the Hammers wings after a pre-season of optimism has turned to an early disaster. Last time out saw the Londoners misery compounded as they lost 1-0 at home to Wolves. The outcome was harsh on the Hammers as they missed three golden chances which on another day would have given them an unassailable lead. However the failure to convert ultimately cost them as Wolves struck late on to seal the deal.
Even if it has been a terrible start you have to expect with the quality they possess, West Ham to settle sooner rather than later. Although Arnautovic failed to register last time out he was a threat to the Wolves back-line all afternoon. He’ll definitely be confident coming up against a fragile Everton defence yet to keep a clean sheet.
Heading into the weekend, West Ham are again without trio Andy Carroll, Winston Reid and Argentine Manuel Lanzini as they continue their recoveries. Manuel Pellegrini has stated that Arthur Masuaku could possibly feature although it will be touch and go.
The timing of West Hams trip to Goodison could provide the perfect opportunity for the Hammers to finally get some points on the board. As the Londoners make their way to Merseyside they are sure to be feeling optimistic due to the fitness (or rather, lack of) of the hosts. The Toffees will be looking to get back to winning ways and maintaining their unbeaten start. West Hams record at Goodison is poor to say the least, can Everton keep that record going and compound West Hams agony?
Everton: Pickford; Kenny, Holgate, Zouma, Digne; Davies, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson; Lookman, Tosun, Walcott.
West Ham: Fabianski; Fredericks, Balbuena, Diop, Cresswell; Sanchez, Wilshere; Snodgrass, Anderson, Antonio; Arnautovic.
Score Prediction: Everton 2-1 West Ham.